A cowboy struggles to stay in the saddle during the Vale 4th of July Rodeo last year. Organizers cancelled the iconic event for 2020 because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. (The Enterprise/File)

VALE – There will be no Vale 4th of July Rodeo this year.

Rodeo President Kurt Haueter announced Wednesday morning that the iconic, 106-year-old local event was canceled.

The decision, he said, was made Monday night by the rodeo board.

“It is a decision we didn’t want to make. I kind of feel like it was a decision that was not ours to make and it was kind of made for us,” said Haueter.

What the cancellation will mean for Vale businesses remains unclear but the rodeo is seen by many as an important economic event that pumps needed dollars into the Vale economy.

“I wanted to hold off as long as possible and give us the opportunity to collect as much information as we could to see if we could find any way we could do it,” said Haueter.

Earlier this week the 75th annual Nyssa Nite Rodeo was also canceled. The Malheur County Fair also is off. The Four Rivers Cultural Center's popular Live After 5 concert series in the summer was also called off.

Gov. Kate Brown’s restrictions on larger gatherings played a key role in the decision to scrub both events. Brown announced earlier this month a broad outline to reopen the state in phases, but still prohibited gatherings of 25 or more people. The governor said that fairs and festivals should be cancelled through September.

The rodeo was scheduled to run from July 1 through July 4 this year.

“Having that Fourth of July on a Saturday, that could have been a big year for us,” said Haueter.

The Vale 4th of July Rodeo was established in 1914.

Rodeo board member Jim Mendiola said he did not believe the rodeo has ever been canceled.

“I am disappointed in the whole thing, but everyone else is too. We will pack it away for this year and hope for next year,” said Mendiola.

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