Same dirt has been used for a dozen years for Rodeo Rapid City

RAPID CITY, S.D. (DRG News) – When you think of the things you regularly see at the annual Rodeo Rapid City event, human and animal athletes, spectators, judges, vendors and more likely come to mind.

However, there’s one thing that’s consistently been there for over a decade that you may not think about– the dirt in the rodeo arena.

Operations manager Rory Hammerbeck says the same dirt has been used for the past 12 years, with adjustments made to the blend from year to year on an as needed basis. He says the dirt is piled about a foot high across the arena floor and varies in height by a few inches in certain spots to accommodate specific rodeo events.

Sutton Rodeo of Onida puts on Rodeo Rapid City and Hammerbeck says he works closely with the Suttons to make sure the arena surface is safe for both the human and animal athletes to perform at the top of their game. He says they work hard to be sure the surface stays consistent throughout the entire event.

Hammerbeck says it takes about 66 dump truck loads to bring in the 1000 cubic yards of dirt to cover the floor of the Barnett Arena. Dump trucks, loaders, skid steers and tractors are all used to move the dirt which is a special blend that includes a clay base mixed with a top soil and a healthy dose of sand. It’s specially maintained year-round with final adjustments to the blend made before move-in begins each year prior to the start of the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo. Exposure to moisture, heat and wind throughout the year are all factors in determining what adjustments need to be made prior to the start of the rodeo each year. When the season is over, the dirt is stored at the Rapid City Reclamation Site, located near the airport.

The final loads of dirt were brought in Monday morning to prepare for what will be the last Rodeo Rapid City to take place on the floor of the Barnett Arena in Rapid City. This year’s events take place Jan. 29-Feb. 6.