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High School Finals Rodeo leaving Hastings, relocating to Burwell

Lincoln & Hastings-Krny KSNB logo Lincoln & Hastings-Krny KSNB 8/2/2022 Spencer Schubert
Nebraska Rodeo Finals is on the move © Provided by Lincoln & Hastings-Krny KSNB Nebraska Rodeo Finals is on the move

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - After 20 years in Hastings, the Nebraska High School Rodeo Finals are riding out of town and relocating to Burwell.

For rodeo fans, it will feel more familiar than you might think, as Burwell actually hosted the High School Finals just a few years ago due to COVID-19 regulations in Hastings. Jess Helgoth, the president of the Burwell Rodeo Committee and Nebraska’s Big Rodeo, said he first presented the town’s case back in November of 2021, and the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association accepted his bid in February.

Now, just days removed from ‘Nebraska’s Big Rodeo’ he says they’re already getting ready for the finals.

”You know, of course in Burwell we just got done with our 101st edition of Nebraska’s Big Rodeo, so we’re kind of Nebraska’s rodeo community, and we’re pretty excited to get the high school rodeo finals,” Helgoth said. “It’s just another boost in our rural economy, and it’s another event that’s going to help not only Burwell, but the surrounding areas. The community and the surrounding areas are really excited to have it in Burwell.”

While the town is excited, it won’t be anything out of the ordinary for those who will be charged with organizing the event.

”It’s not really going to be too new to us because all the events are of course the same, so it’s just going to be another rodeo in Burwell basically is how we look at it,” Helgoth said.

As for Hastings, it’s a tough economic blow to take after the finals called south-central Nebraska home for the past two decades. While the rodeo moving north to Burwell will certainly boost the rural economy in the area, Helgoth knows a gain for him and the Burwell area does mean a loss for Hastings.

”It’s going to be an impact on them,” he said. “It was a fair bid-off process, and I’m sure that area down there is going to feel the impact, but in all reality, talking to a lot of the contestants, Burwell actually makes more sense because of our location.”

Helgoth says it’s just a two-year contract for Burwell before the high school finals are put back up for a bidding process, and he expects Hastings will make another competitive bid when that time comes.

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