No Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo in 2023, organizers say
While the rodeo will not be taking place, a few of the traditional happenings related to the event remain as part of the plans.
MITCHELL — The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo will not take place in 2023, the organizing committee said on Monday, citing its ongoing legal battle with its landlord.
In a statement, Corn Palace Stampede said Horsemen's Sports, Inc., — the organization that owns the rodeo grounds and whom CPS sued for damages related to the grounds — intends to appeal the verdict issued last month by a Davison County jury that allowed CPS to take a number of key pieces of the property to a new rodeo grounds near the Mitchell Regional Airport.
"Because of the nature of the legal proceedings, the rodeo will not be held in 2023," a statement from the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Committee said. "The rodeo committee proposed to hold one final rodeo at the current site. However, HSI and CPS could not reach an agreement on terms for a one-year agreement."
While the rodeo will not be taking place, a few of the traditional happenings related to the event remain as part of the plans. A rodeo-themed parade will still take place on Saturday, July 15 and the Corn Palace Stampede will still hold its annual Family Fun Day and chili cook off at the new rodeo location located north of the Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex near the Mitchell Regional Airport. More details on those events is expected at a later date.
"On a positive note, the CPS committee is determined to bring people together to celebrate 50-plus years of the rodeo," the statement said.
On April 14, a Davison County jury ruled that the Corn Palace Stampede group has the right to remove property it purchased and move those structures to a new rodeo site. In addition, the jury awarded $100,000 in damages to the Corn Palace Stampede organization after a four-day trial.
Since 1971, Horseman’s Sports Arena, located along Highway 37 near Lake Mitchell, has been the site of Mitchell’s annual rodeos. A week ago, CPS Committee President Jim Miskimins told the Mitchell City Council that the future of the rodeo in the community was at risk because of the "selfish and thoughtless attitude of Horsemen's Sports Incorporated."
The lawsuit in the case originated in 2020, when CPS didn't have a rodeo due to COVID-19. The rodeo organizing committee held its events in 2021 and 2022 after a court order in the case allowed the annual event to take place despite the pending legal issue.
The legal moves continued this week. On Saturday, May 6, HSI attorney Timothy Whalen, of Lake Andes, filed a “renewed judgment as a matter of law” motion, which seeks to have the jury’s verdict altered regarding how the “material breach” definition was handled by the jury.
“No aspect of the rodeo was cancelled or postponed due to the actions of HSI regarding the fence, boardwalk or bucking chutes. The purpose of the lease was to allow (CPS) to hold its rodeo each year. (CPS) held its rodeos and the two rodeos (in 2021 and 2022) were a great success. If the rodeos were held, were a great success and no events were cancelled or otherwise postponed, then the very object of the lease was attained by (CPS) and the purpose of the lease was not defeated,” Whalen wrote. “Since HSI’s breach could not have been material under the law and the evidence, rescission of the lease was inappropriate under the law. And since the breach was not material, the jury could not have awarded (CPS) $100,000 in damages under the law.”
Sam Nelson, one of the attorneys for CPS, asked for a temporary injunction against HSI on Monday regarding the property that was awarded to the CPS by the jury for a period 150 days to allow CPS to remove it from the property and be granted “unfettered access to HSI’s premises during that period for the purpose of preparing to move and move items of property.”
In a supporting brief, Nelson wrote that HSI told CPS it has 30 days from the entry of judgment on May 2 to move its property, something CPS believes is a bad faith requirement from HSI.
“HSI also knows that CPS was planning to try to hold the rodeo this summer and it would be unfeasible to conduct preparations to hold the rodeo while trying to move items,” Nelson wrote.
The next proceedings in the case have not yet been scheduled.
The structures and items at the grounds were split between CPS and HSI by the jury in April. Among the items available to be moved with CPS include the three large sections of metal bleachers, a pair of rodeo office buildings, a pair of walk-in coolers, a VIP canopy, the deck structure near the VIP section, a restroom and shower building.
Via the jury, HSI keeps, among other things, both sections of the crows nest, the concession stand, the main entrance area, the concrete block restroom and the handicap entrance to the facility, plus the parking lot and arena lights.