Sisters Rodeo was dubbed “The Biggest Little Show in the World” in 1940 and has been in operation ever since as an all-volunteer production. The Rodeo is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the highest level of professional rodeo, and attracts top competitors annually. After having their 2019, 2020 and 2021 events canceled due to COVID-19 the rodeo returned in 2022 and was televised nationally for the first time. Ensuring great visibility for the judges, attendees and viewers at home who were tuning in was a huge priority.
In 2020 the Sisters Rodeo began to explore the idea of upgrading their lighting. The site was utilizing high-pressure sodium arena lighting and was experiencing issues with their existing arena fixtures. The previous fixtures cast a yellow hue on the space, and judges had told the rodeo about dark spots at the arena that needed to be addressed. “You have to understand where the action happens during these events to make sure it’s lit appropriately; a lot of the action can be in places off to the side.” Says Marcus Peck, board member at the Sisters Rodeo. Installing new high output LEDs enabled the space to really “hit the mark” and ensure that the space was adequately lit for all parties.
The lighting upgrade has additional positive impacts outside the primary use of ensuring visibility during a rodeo. As an all-volunteer production an added benefit of installing LEDs was reducing their maintenance costs, saving the Rodeo an estimated $2,970 annually. The space is also a preselected location for the US Forest Service to stage firefighters when they’re fighting fires in the area, and the new lighting helps with their efforts in the region.
Mike Slater of Slatercom has extensive experience with arena lighting and was instrumental in moving the project forward utilizing available incentives from Central Electric Cooperative. The project qualified for almost $18,000 in incentives and is estimated to save the Rodeo $6,720 annually on their utility bills. According to Tom Crowder, board member of the Sisters Rodeo, “Incentives helped get this project within our budget and were a large factor in pulling the trigger.”
This sentiment is echoed by Kandis Bray, Trade Ally Network NW field specialist. “The available incentives through Central Electric Co-op made this project possible. As a resident of Sisters this lighting project is very near and dear to my heart. To see the Sisters Rodeo come back after the challenges of the pandemic is a testament to the Sisters Rodeo volunteers and City of Sisters who all understand that the rodeo is the lifeblood of the community.”