Rodeo officials eye horse virus threat

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The outbreak of Equine Herpesvirus is shutting down county fairs and horse shows across the state, but Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo officials say they don’t anticipate it will affect their annual event, scheduled for July 13-16 at the Norris-Penrose Event Center.

Colorado State Fair organizers cancelled three events.

Cancelling any Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo events could cause a severe economic impact for the many retailers that depend on rodeo-related business. It could also mean few dollars would go to military charities, which rodeo proceeds fund.

In 2010, the rodeo brought 599 contestant athletes and their families to Colorado Springs. With the average contestant staying in town for 2 days, that translates to roughly $10 million in economic impact for our 5 day event,  said rodeo spokeswoman Nikki Wall.

Rodeo Foundation President Rob Alexander said the committee is paying close attention to the outbreaks.

“We are proactively watching this,” said Alexander. “That said, we are proceeding with our plans full speed and anticipating a great Rodeo season.”

Wall said she anticipates that the outbreak will be contained during the next two to four weeks.