Devils Lake Rodeo Club ready to return rodeo events to local community

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Brandon Padilla remembers when the rodeo scene was a community staple. 

Padilla was six years old when he started seizing the reins within the rodeo realm. Then, at 18, Padilla transitioned to bullfighting. 

The Devils Lake Rodeo Club was formed in April by Brandon Padilla, who has a long history with rodeo and bullfighting.

At 29 years old, Padilla now wishes to bring the rodeo back to the local roots. And so, the Devils Lake Rodeo Club was formed in April of 2022. 

"That is what got this back going again," Padilla said. "I am in the rodeo industry, and so I know people to get a hold of and how to get stuff lined up a little better." 

Of course, the rodeo industry was never a one-off event in the community. After all, the Lake Region Rodeo Club helped put on events in the area for close to 30 years. However, burnout eventually resulted in the group's disbandment. 

"It was here for years, and now it has been gone for [seven-eight] years," Curt Teigen said. "I think it is something that is missed here, and it attracted a lot of people into the community for it. It was just a good community attraction, and we hated to see that go away." 

Teigen, 58, was another rodeo mainstay when the event was in its heyday. From doing sound to helping take the ropes off the livestock, Teigen has been around the rodeo lingo for more than 20 years. 

Teigen – an administrator for the Devils Lake Rodeo Club – understands the importance of forming a local club. After the dissolution of the former club, the Abrahamson Rodeo Company attempted to manage local events. However, as a company located more than 100 miles away, that proved strenuous in and of itself. 

The Devils Lake Rodeo Club will act as a local outlet for rodeo events.

"Then, the Abrahamson Rodeo Company tried to keep it going as their own production, and that was a little difficult to do from 100 miles away, so Brandon [Padilla] came into my office, and we agreed that the only way it was going to happen was if we had a local rodeo club to head our base on, and then the club will just hire the Abrahamson Rodeo Company to come in and produce the show," Teigen said. 

Since the formation of the new club, Padilla and Teigen have been hard at work in herding together local support. To do so, Padilla has made it a habit of going door-to-door from business to business. From constant in-person conversations to over-the-phone discussions, Padilla has reached out to over 100 businesses. So far, more than 20 have responded in full. 

Sharpening logistics behind gathering material and necessities to put on a rodeo has also been a need. With a tentative three-day rodeo scheduled for Sep. 9-11 at Burdick Arena, Padilla and Teigen will need to procure more support and additionally count on volunteers to aid in the two-day rink-to-rodeo conversion when the time comes. 

Volunteer work is also needed to run the event itself, and Padilla is no exception. Although he is the club president, he is also a volunteer. Padilla works full-time for the City of Devils Lake. 

"It is definitely not an easy task to put on an event of this size and nature," Padilla said. "It's around-the-clock work. I work 40 hours a week at my day job, and I probably put in 25-30 hours a week into this rodeo stuff." 

Padilla is excited to bring back rodeo events to local community.

Nevertheless, the newly-formed Devils Lake Rodeo Club has a goal in sight. Between now and the inaugural three-day event in September at Burdick Arena, Padilla and Teigen will continue to work toward reeling in more community support. 

To Teigen, the club's first goal revolves around getting on its feet and staying stable. 

While burnout might have been a plaguing issue in the past, Teigen believes that the club will find a way to push through with Padilla at the helm. 

"I had my doubts at first because I have seen people come and go," Teigen said. "But Brandon here has really, pardon the pun, taken the bull by the horns, and he has just run with it. At first, I had my doubts, but I have no doubt that now it is going to happen. There is a lot of good support in the community from sponsors and people stepping up, and we have hardly heard a single no from anybody. I think it's going to happen." 

Padilla, meanwhile, recognizes what a successful rodeo event can bring to the community. Padilla remembers when local rodeos brought in more than 350 contestants from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Montana and even Canada. 

From his gained experience in the rodeo industry, Padilla believes a similar mark can be reached during the event in September should more support continue to pour in. 

Even still, Padilla's goal with the club is simple. Padilla's goal with the club is not only to bring a former community venture back into the present but also to provide an influence that helped him find his love in the industry all those years ago. 

Padilla could not be more eager. 

"Really excited," Padilla said. "This rodeo is what got me to where I'm at in the rodeo industry today. I am just excited to give that opportunity to another six-year-old that might have the same dream as I did."

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.