Thanks to those efforts, Dickerson and Higginbotham are confident that the rodeo will still be held as scheduled, with athletes and their horses checking in on Thursday and events beginning July 18.
“We’ve been excited to come to Lincoln since we signed the contract,” Higginbotham said.
About 40% of the stalls on the grounds were affected, Dickerson said, leaving the event center well under their commitment of 2,050 stalls. Higginbotham said the crews will salvage as many of the stalls as possible, but more are available to be shipped in from Guthrie, Oklahoma — a previous rodeo host city — by Monday night.
There also was significant damage to a few trailers and some electrical equipment, Dickerson said. While insurance will help, Dickerson said the storm is likely to cost the facility upwards of $50,000.
But the rodeo is more of a “break-even labor of love,” she said, and giving the athletes a fun and educational experience is what it’s all about.
The event also rakes in money for the Lincoln community, with estimates that local hotels, restaurants and other services will garner $16 million in revenue next week from rodeo business alone.
Dickerson said it gave her hope Saturday to see outpourings of support from across the state. University of Nebraska Regent Tim Clare, Lancaster County Commissioner Deb Schorr and Kendra Ronnau, president of the Lancaster County Agriculture Society, all came out to help with the cleanup and spoke to volunteers gathered during a break.