New Tom Stearns Pavilion under construction at Clovis Rodeo Grounds

New Tom Stearns Pavilion under construction (Photo Ben Genco)

March 10, 2024 – A new Tom Stearns Pavilion is under construction at the Clovis rodeo.

Arena Director Vince Genco says that the pavilion is set to complete before the 110th annual Clovis Rodeo, on the last weekend of April.

Just like the previous pavilion, the new set of VIP suites will cater to sponsors by providing them with a great view of the show, in addition to food, drinks, and VIP parking.

The new structure has two levels, spacious suites, and will cater to 20 sponsors with 15 guests for a $10,000 annual commitment on a five-year term.

Additionally, the new pavilion will connect to the open suites above the metal stands on the north side of the arena.

VIP suites are in high demand by some arena sponsors. “I had forty people on the waiting list when we started [construction], so we still have twenty people on the waiting list,” Genco said, “We have 26 suites here, and 10 in the Centennial, so that’s 36, but we have very little turnover.”

The money that comes from arena sponsorships and VIP seating is a big deal. “We’re trying to stay as one of the top 20 rodeos in the country, and that gives us some priority on the Cowboy Channel as far as tv is concerned,” Genco says ,”That’s been the idea since the beginning– to build these [pavilions] to generate more income to increase our prize money, because we can’t do it with ticket sales only.”

According to an article published last year on The Cowboy Channel’s website, the Clovis Rodeo is the highest paying rodeo in California, with a $400,000 prize pool.

This year, the prize pool is expected to increase to nearly $450,000, and Genco says that’s in thanks largely to the generous sponsors of the rodeo.

Ticket sales do contribute, but Genco pointed out that the Clovis Rodeo is relatively affordable for the average attendee. “On the weekend I think we’re only $20 or $25 a ticket, and with the concert it’s $35,” Genco says, “and we try to keep the prices down, so we keep the place full, so the sponsors want to come, and it all works together to be able to afford to pay the cowboys and cowgirls more.”

Each year the Clovis Rodeo averages about 45,000 tickets sold, with concert nights contributing up to 12,000 tickets.

The community surrounding the Clovis Rodeo is very supportive of the success and growth of the show.

“The cost [of construction] probably increased by about 50%,” Genco said, “after COVID, everything was so expensive.”

People who care about the rodeo did their part to help out. In addition to the new pavilion, the Clovis Rodeo is also getting new roping chutes and pens underneath.

Genco says that one member of the Rodeo Association donated the new Priefert chutes, and another member donated all the material for the new holding pens.

“We’ve had some of the sponsors give us checks above and beyond their sponsorship just because they appreciate what we’re doing for them,” Geno says, “It’s the community that has really supported us. We couldn’t have done it without them.”