News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

COVID-19 shuts down Sisters Rodeo

The Biggest Little Show in the World is standing down this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sisters Rodeo President Curt Kallberg told The Nugget on Wednesday, April 8, that the Rodeo Board of Directors made the difficult call to cancel the 2020 rodeo by a unanimous decision at a meeting Tuesday night, April 7.

“It was a terrible decision (to have to make) and none of us wanted to do it, but because of the timing of the rodeo and our volunteers coming out to do work parties — it just wasn’t going to happen,” Kallberg said. “It’s really hard. It would have been our 80th year.”

The board delayed pulling the trigger as long as they could, but it became clear that going forward or rescheduling just wouldn’t be viable.

Kallberg said that they looked at a couple of possible dates later in the summer, but neither was a good option. One would have gone up against the Deschutes County Fair & Rodeo and another would have competed with a rodeo in Joseph, Oregon.

It became clear that the health and safety of patrons, contestants and the 200 volunteers who make the rodeo happen required cancellation. Volunteers couldn’t do the prep work required to make the rodeo what it is, and the event itself doesn’t lend itself to the restrictions of the current crisis.

“We have so many events where the social spacing just doesn’t work,” Kallberg said.

Despite the painful decision, Kallberg is looking forward. He said the Sisters Rodeo will survive and move past the current troubles and come roaring back in 2021 — with an entire year to prepare for the 80th Biggest Little Show in the World.

Sisters Rodeo is in the process of refunding all tickets. If you have not received an expected refund by the first week of May you can call the Rodeo office at 541-549-0121.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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