Town of Estes Park invests into improving footing at Granny May Arena
By Ted Harbin
ESTES PARK, Colo. – As the years and weather have worked their troubling magic over the dirt inside Granny May Arena, the ground inside the spectacular complex began to erode.
This spring, the Town of Estes Park invested $125,000 to improve the ground footing and make the arena an even better showcase for the community and events that utilize the facility.
“We have a completely new footing,” said Rob Hinkle, Community Services director for the Town of Estes Park. “It took about 10 days to complete, and we used roughly 70 dump trucks of footing.”
That’s good news for all who use the arena, including Rooftop Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5-Monday, July 10.
“This was an impressive decision by the Town of Estes Park, and we’re excited to be able to take advantage of the new footing,” said Ben Vigil, president of Estes Park Western Heritage Inc., a group of volunteers that works with the town of Estes Park to produce the annual rodeo.
“Footing is vital everything we do with Rooftop Rodeo. We take pride in treating the contestants with the greatest hospitality of any rodeo in the country, and this is just another way we can give them something special.”
In addition, he said, the rodeo committee’s chutes crew is also making improvements to the area behind the chutes.
Prior to the repairs done by Kiser Arena Specialists, there were problems with drainage. The former footing had eroded enough that users were close to the base.
“It compacts well, and I think everybody is going to be happy with it,” said Hinkle, pointing out that there are about a dozen shows a year in the arena, including the annual rodeo.
Rooftop Rodeo had nearly 800 entries last year, and virtually all of those contestants come in from all over North America. From top prize money to great hospitality, there are multiple reasons so many make their way to Estes Park every July.
“Not only will the footing be better for the competition, but this also is a safety issue,” said Mark Purdy, chairman of Estes Park Western Heritage Inc. “We want to take care of the athletes, both human and animal. Having better footing allows us to do that.
“I think having excellent footing is another incentive for these contestants to make Rooftop Rodeo part of their summer schedule.”
For Hinkle, the decision to invest in the footing came down to making the arena better for everybody.
“We were getting some comments from some shows that they didn’t particularly like the footing, so we really needed to put the effort in and spend the money to do it correctly,” he said. “We’ve got a depth of about 10 inches and have fixed the drainage.
“I think it will be good not only for the rodeo but also for the other shows we’re doing.”