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Rodeo upgrades upset neighbors

Local residents say grounds hurting the neighborhood

ALPINE — A so-far successful effort to improve the aging rodeo grounds in north Alpine has caused quite a dust-up.

Several complaints about the upgraded rodeo grounds have been sent to City Hall. A petition also has asked city officials to limit activities at the site.

"The rodeo is creeping to becoming something else from the original arena," said Alpine resident Fraser Bullock. "We now have an 8-foot fence all around it topped with barbed wire. It looks like a concentration camp."

Bullock, whose name is well-known in Utah as a result of his job as the chief executive officer of the 2002 Winter Olympics, said he, along with other neighbors who own expensive homes in the area, are concerned over the potential for increased traffic and disruption in what has traditionally been a quiet and remote part of the community.

"Why have that here to accommodate the needs of a few?" Bullock said. "Let's stop where we are."

Winn Madsen also is worried about the heavy equipment damaging the environment. He wants the council to prohibit commercialization of the grounds and pay more attention to preserving wildlife habitat.

He also wants to limit structures and facilities to those that currently exist.

Madsen presented city planning commissioners with a petition on Tuesday night.

Alpine Mayor Phil Barker said the city has approved all work done at the rodeo grounds. Work has been done on the bleachers, fences, animal chutes and the stalls, which now are better suited for large livestock.

Planning commissioners decided Tuesday to request the formation of a committee to determine what types of events can be held at the rodeo grounds.

City Administrator Ted Stillman said that if a committee is formed by the City Council, it will also be asked to determine if a grass or gravel parking area would be better than a paved lot.

"It (the rodeo arena) was deteriorating, so we went in and expanded and reoriented it and brought it up to standard," Stillman said.

The rodeo grounds have been located in Alpine's Lambert Park for many years. Dana Beck, of Beck & Beck Construction, has routinely over the years graded the arena and patched the fence for events like the Little Buckaroo Rodeo.

The deterioration made it increasingly difficult to get the arena ready for rodeo events, so three years ago Beck offered to provide the labor to expand and improve the grounds and find new equipment for a good price.

Alpine officials allocated $60,000 for new fences, chutes and stalls. The 1,000-seat bleachers were donated.

The first annual "Pure Bull" event held in August in conjunction with the annual Alpine Days celebration drew more than 1,000 spectators to watch 35 riders compete on 45 bulls.