Ross Ag Society to Discuss Future of Ross County's Easy Rider Rodeo, Weds

The future of the Easy Rider Rodeo, which sets up camp once per year at the fairgrounds in Ross County, remains uncertain ahead a special meeting taking place Wednesday, November 20th.

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The Ross County Agricultural Society will convene for a special meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the rodeo’s contract renewal, which Ross Ag Society VP, Steven Clever says could go either way.

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“I guess a lot of it is going off of what the Sheriff had to say at the meeting in September on his concerns with it, not being able to get enough deputies,” said Clever. “But we had another meeting with him and I think they’re willing to pay him what he wants. It could really go either way the way I see it.”

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iHeartMedia News spoke with Ross County Sheriff George Lavender on Tuesday and he explained his position.

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“The concerns of this office is that this is a significant strain on the resources of this office to protect the community during the time this [the rodeo] is here,” said Sheriff Lavender. “A part of that is that we have to go on 12-hour shifts to man those positions out there, and pay overtime. Actually the Ross County taxpayers are paying for the people that are out on patrol and in the corrections division during the up-tempo of all the work we have to do during that time. The taxpayers are footing the bill for the corrections officers that are on overtime. They footing the bill the deputies that are out at the time because we have to put them on 12-hour shifts too. And the rodeo itself was wanting to cut the money they gave to help maintain that event to the point that we no longer go out to the rodeo until Friday evenings or afternoons, staying through Monday. It’s a significant drain on the office and the taxpayers. The taxpayers should not be footing the bill for the rodeo to come to this community.”

TRUMBULL COUNTRY FAIR BIKE SHOW

Ross County Commissioner Doug Corcoran said the loss of the rodeo would have a significant financial impact on the community if the contract is not renewed.

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“I personally have heard from some business folks and folks from the local Rotary Club that they say it would have a pretty big impact on their bottom line as it’s one of the Rotary’s major fundraisers that fund their local projects,” said Corcoran. “I’ve also heard from some business people out on the Bridge Street area and they say it has a pretty big impact on their bottom lines too. From that aspect it sounds like it could certainly hurt the community. We haven’t weighed in either way. We’re not trying to put pressure on them to make a decision either way. We’re just waiting to see what happens with the rest of the folks.”

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Melody Young, Director of the Ross-Chillicothe Convention and Visitors Bureau shared Commissioner Corcoran's thoughts on the negative impact should the rodeo contract not be renewed.

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“The Ross-Chillicothe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau looks forward to the rumble of motorcycles every Labor Day weekend, like we have for the past 30 years,” said Young. “It has a huge impact on our community. Just this last year in 2019, we had 473 room-nights that were directly related to the rodeo. In various services that’s approximately $276 per day. Not only were those out-of-state visitors on bikes, but also the security staff which comes in a couple weeks prior to the event. It would be a significant loss."

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However, like Commissioner Corcoran, Young said she did not want to place too much pressure on the Board.

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"I understand the Fair Board, they have to look at both sides of the coin," said Young. "We’re looking at it strictly from guests staying overnight in the community and what those numbers mean to us.

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Wednesday's special Ross County Ag Society meeting will get underway at 6pm in the fair office at the Ross County Fairgrounds.

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