Little Bighorn Days deemed a success, with one exception

Simply Biased
By: 
Jim Eshleman
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Overall, I felt that Little Bighorn Days was success, despite the rain. In fact, the weather patterns added an element to the PRCA Little Big Horn Stampede Rodeo that made it a mud-sliding, watersplashing good time – at least from the spectators’ point of view.

The Kids’ Day Parade was soggy, but you have to give those who participated credit; they put on a good show. Next year, I hope they can go all the way down main street and the 300 Block isn’t closed down.

On Saturday, the main parade also had a good showing. I think more people came out to watch this year than in the recent past – I may be wrong, but that’s the impression I got driving Big Horn County News’ Flivver vehicle down Center.

The car show, arm wrestling competition, Family Fun Night and street dance all followed suit.

The only drawback to the weekend was the concert Friday evening and I’m not talking about the music. Both Michelle Wright and “Ricochet” put on good shows.

So what was the problem?

From what I heard, only about 50 tickets were sold for the concert. This appears to be fairly accurate, because when “Ricochet” started to play at about 10:15 p.m., I tried to do a head count and I kept coming up with about 75. I probably included in the count individuals who were working the event, and/or people I know did not pay to attend the concert.

One of the questions I’m sure will arise in the following weeks is, “What went wrong?”

In my view, the three largest downfalls for the concert were the popularity of the PRCA Rodeo, the cost of the concert and that the main musical headliner “Ricochet” didn’t start playing until after 10 p.m.

The expectation that people will attend a concert after a rodeo is severely overrated. Rodeos are family events, and a lot of people cannot afford to do both or just want to get tired kids home.

This next issue may just be me, but if I’m going to pay to go to a concert, it would be nice to have at least heard of the group. I’ve never heard of Michelle Wright or “Ricochet.”

Third, the main act didn’t start until after 10 p.m. My eyelids gave up at 10:30, and I was home and in bed at 11.

Another problem, as I see it, is there was just too much crammed into one weekend. This got me looking at other communities around the state. Many small towns will have two or three events throughout the summer. They don’t put all their eggs into one basket.

Then, there’s advertising. Every week, we run ads in the Big Horn County News under the Montana Newspaper Association’s Statewide Advertising Program (SDAP). This program allows event organizers to reach the entire state of Montana. It’s not that expensive, and it places your ad in 64 newspapers across the state and reaches more than 400,000 readers.

A number of years back, I explained the program to the Hardin Chamber of Commerce president. Nothing came of it.

Here are a few examples from communities or event organizers that have used the program this year: The Bob Marshall Music Festival in Seeley-Swan, Montana; Fort Peck Summer Theater in Fort Peck, Montana; and The Music Ranch south of Livingston, Montana. There are also ads for mine tours and other assorted events from across the state.

This program is designed to help small communities and event organizers expand their reach and draw people from other communities to attend their local events.

If we as a community ever want events like Little Bighorn Days to reach their full potential, we need more cooperation, communication and participation.

Category:

Upcoming Events