ROCK SPRINGS — The 2019 National High School Finals Rodeo marked record highs in the amount of contestants, horses, recreational vehicles and entries.
The event saw 1,590 contestants in total, the highest number Sweetwater Events Complex has checked in since it began hosting the event in 2012.
Competing cowboys and cowgirls include 1,472 from the United States, 109 from Canada, 15, Mexico and 11 from Australia. The check-in process was 24/7 for four days and run by volunteers working in conjunction with staff. This record attendance brings a larger economic impact to Sweetwater County, according to an Events Complex press release.
“The National High School Finals Rodeo is a huge success for the city of Rock Springs, city of Green River, Sweetwater County and the state of Wyoming," Events Complex Executive Director Larry Lloyd said. "It is estimated to bring $8,487,383 into our economy. These families are staying in our hotels, eating at our local restaurants, fueling up at our gas stations, renting tubes to float the Green River and buying fishing poles to fish Lake Flaming Gorge and the Green River."
This year broke another record with an all-time high of 1,787 competitors, which is higher than the number of people who checked-in because many participated in multiple events such as barrel racing and poles to bareback and bull riding. Many were involved in more than one event. Along with the traditional rodeo events, there are 42 queens and 181 shooting sports contestants.
This year, almost 500 local volunteers filled 875 volunteer positions ranging from checking-in contestants and their horses to taking tickets. Volunteers parked 1,300 RVs and stalled and housed 1,940 horses on the grounds, the largest number of horses ever stalled at the facility.
"The Sweetwater Events Complex turns into a small town as families run around on 780 golf carts while running to the Trade Show, rodeo and back to their RVs," the release states.