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Event leaders continue to make plans that will align with COVID gathering guidelines as one Central Oregon Rodeo decides to cancel

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - While crowd size is still up in the air, the Crooked River Roundup is scheduled to take place in 2021Yes, the Sisters Rodeo was recently canceled.

No, that doesn't mean the Crooked River Roundup is next.

Things might look different based on state COVID guidelines, but Roundup leaders remain determined to provide the event. The Roundup's social media posts have re-introduced Queen Emily McDaniel Lauman and Grand Marshals Mike and Donna Mohan, whose reigns were extended an extra year for the "Re-ride 75th Anniversary" of the iconic local event. Meanwhile, the Roundup's website includes details for the Stampede Street Party and the local cattle drive.

"We are still going," said Roundup Board President Jason Snider. "We are still rolling."

Snider was disappointed that the Sisters Rodeo was canceled for a second consecutive year, lamenting that it was a "sad" and "horrible" fate for the event to suffer. But its cancelation has only strengthened Roundup leaders' resolve to host a rodeo in Prineville.

"The reality is folks are starving. They're hungry to go somewhere," Snider said. "Our goal is to do it, do it the right way and still do it within the boundaries as much as we possibly can, and hope folks make good decisions."

The big question Roundup leaders face is how many people they can usher through the gates. And if that number is limited, are there other ways to give would-be spectators a show?

"How do you evolve? How do you adapt? How do you potentially put other viewing areas together that mimic what they would be seeing in the arena?" Snider said in February.

Roundup leaders will eventually reach a point where a decision must get made – and that will involve an ongoing collaboration with local health officials.

"You want to go to them with a plan," Snider said. "You want to have a clear picture on how you are going to give folks the safest means to participate. … We have to, at some point, be able to get to a target – by this date, we have got to have as close to a clear picture as we can."

What will be allowed by late June is difficult to predict and is affected by a variety of factors. Until recently, Crook County was in the lowest COVID risk category, enabling outdoor entertainment gatherings of up to 50% of venue capacity. However, a local surge has pushed the county back to the "high" category, which crowds to 15% capacity.

Case numbers are currently coming back down, and local health officials are continuing to provide the COVID vaccine to any adults 18 and older who make an appointment. The vaccine is also provided by the local pharmacies and doctor's offices.


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