Discover the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, WY
PHOTO CREDIT: Jenni Knezovich
Hosting the National High School Finals Rodeo brought 1,700 competitors and an estimated $10 million to Sweetwater County. The rodeo, considered the world's largest, is coming back here in 2013, 2014 and 2015. It's just one of the events that has settled into the Sweetwater Events Complex, which provides year-round entertainment to residents.
“The entire 2012 calendar year at the Complex was busy, with the High School Rodeo Finals in July being the largest activity,” says Sweetwater Events Complex Director Larry Lloyd. “It took us most of the winter to prepare for that seven-day extravaganza. Participants came from as far away as Hawaii, and some even flew in from Australia.”
Lloyd says that besides that particular rodeo, the Complex hosts numerous annual competitions and activities that benefit residents and visitors, with the massive venue welcoming 250,000 people each year.
“This place basically never closes,” he says. “It’s perfect for planning a vacation, with 1,200 new camp sites, new horse stalls, multiple arenas and more grandstands than ever before. We also have exhibit halls and banquet halls for hosting large or small dinners.”
The Big Show
The Complex also welcomes an annual three-day Red Desert Roundup Rodeo and a three-day Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, which are both sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. In addition, there is pari-mutuel horse racing for four days in August and September, plus motorsports events such as stock car racing and a demolition derby.
“We also serve as host site for an annual Wyoming’s Big Show, which is our county’s fair that occurs in late July and early August,” Lloyd says. “The Big Show features the usual carnival rides and baking competitions and 4-H competitions, plus we attract major concert acts. This fair serves as a fundraiser for many charitable organizations throughout the Sweetwater County region.”
Lloyd says even though the Complex is known for its tourism impact and its ability to draw large events, the facility is just as important to individual residents who want to access it at all hours of the day and night. For example, if a resident owns a horse, they can haul the horse to the Complex late at night, turn on the lights in the indoor arena, and ride for as long as they want – then turn off the lights when headed out the door.
“The Complex has welcomed everything from President Clinton speaking here to hosting refrigerated dessert contests,” says Joanne Zotti, a Rock Springs residents whose family visits the facility often. “I booked one of their rooms for my son's rodeo-themed fifth birthday party, while my daughter won two ribbons and $50 for a coconut pie she baked for the fair. Sweetwater Events Complex is important – it greatly adds to the quality of life and what we enjoy about this part of Wyoming.”
Read about more fun events in Rock Springs, WY.