For many local merchants, Clovis Rodeo month is like Christmas.
Revenue spikes during April thanks to increased tourism and the rodeo’s total economic impact on the community is somewhere near $7 million, according to city officials.
About 40,000 people were expected to attend the rodeo over its four-day span, with an additional 10,000 local spectators at the Rodeo Parade on Saturday.
Using standard multipliers for the average amount of money spent by each out-of-town resident and local rodeo visitors, City of Clovis business development manager Shawn Miller calculated $2,204,889 would be spent in Clovis last week specifically because of the Clovis Rodeo.
Never miss a local story.
“These are direct numbers and do not reflect the tremendous ripple effect that takes place during or after large events,” he said. “Increased tourist expenditures create an increased number of sales transactions in the community.”
Business in the hospitality industry naturally get the most of the tourist dollar, Miller said.
“Hotels, motels, restaurants, retail stores, the actual event or attraction, gas stations and transportation companies are among the businesses where the tourist actually hands the money to the business operator. These transactions introduce ‘new money’ into the community,” he said.
Businesses in Old Town do especially well during April, when events bring thousands of people to the area each weekend, merchants said.
“There’s always events going on. It starts off with Big Hat Days and Sunday we had a car show, but there’s always events,” said Greg Sassano, owner of Sassano’s Men’s Wear in Old Town Clovis. “Old Town does a pretty good job of getting people down here.”
Sassano, who sells Western wear including boots, hats and jeans, said he has kept inventory high for the rodeo occasion.
“We see a lot of the kids, the Mutton Busters, come in here and get a pair of Wranglers and a hat,” he said. “Or there’s people who come in every year to get a new pair of dress boots. Or if your old hat is starting to get crusty and dirty, it’s a nice time to get a new Stetson hat.”
Boot Barn on Shaw Avenue in Clovis is one of the largest stores out of more than 300 Boot Barn locations across the country, said the store’s assistant manager David Hernandez.
He estimated that sales increased by 50 to 70 percent during rodeo week.
“We are a peaks and valley business here,” he said. “We only peak two times a year, and that’s Christmas and Rodeo.”
Boot Barn held a special tent sale during rodeo week with reduced prices on plenty of clothing items. Hernandez said a lot of people were shopping for outfits to wear to the Clovis Rodeo.
“We get customers who have never worn a boot, never worn a cowboy hat. They come in here and we introduce them and find them the best fit,” Hernandez said. “We are turning regular people into cowboys and cowgirls.”
That money spent in retail stores, restaurants, hotels, etc. circulates and will end up getting spent about three more times within Clovis before it leaves the city — and five times before it leaves the region, Miller said.
At a pre-rodeo behind-the-scenes tour for media and sponsors, members of the Clovis Rodeo Association said the rodeo does well here because of the support from the City of Clovis.
“Without that relationship, we wouldn’t be able to grow the way we do,” said Clovis Rodeo Association board member Ron Dunbar. “We’ve got that vision, but we’ve also got that help from the city.”
That support was evident to John Growney, a stock contractor for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
“It’s amazing what kind of relationship goes on between the community and the rodeo,” Growney said. “There’s a bucking horse on every road sign (in Clovis). That’s saying that we believe in the Clovis Rodeo.”