Hesperia's summertime rodeo tradition came to a halt Wednesday morning.
The Hesperia Recreation and Park District, which has hosted the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo each June for the last 12 years, issued a release stating that the rodeo was cancelled as it was no longer "cost-effective."
"It's going to be skipped at least this year," district general manager Cal Camara said Wednesday afternoon. "Over the last several years, attendance has been going down. Costs have been going up."
The mix of permanent and temporary bleachers at the Val Shearer Equestrian Center at Lime Street Park can accommodate approximately 4,000 spectators during the rodeo, he said. During last year's show, those stands were close to half-empty.
"We don't want to subsidize [the rodeo] to a great extent; we don't want to lose a lot of money," said Camara. "This is certainly not an overnight decision. ... We love the rodeo. It's a tough decision."
The park district is going to try and turn the hole in their schedule into an opportunity, he said, and move the equestrian center over to Hesperia Lake Park.
"That's been part of the master plan for 10-15 years," Camara said.
And Hesperia will still host other rodeos, including the California Junior Rodeo in the spring and the California High School Rodeo during Hesperia Days in September.
"It'll be a down year for that particular rodeo, but we'll still have more equestrian events," Camara said. "And once it moves to the lake, that'll be an outstanding place for the equestrian center to take off."
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.