Pony Express Days

Many of you have been asking about Pony Express Days (PED), specifically, what it will look like moving forward. I have not made any public statements yet about my position on PED because I did not want to front-run our City Council on this subject. I intended to have a discussion at the February 4 council meeting, but I canceled that meeting in light of the tragedy only days before. This discussion has been rescheduled for tomorrow’s City Council meeting, in the 4 p.m. work session.

In the August 20, 2013, City Council meeting, a PED analysis was released showing an adjusted net loss of $125,416.43.  A proposal was made in that same council meeting that the City no longer organize the PRCA Rodeo, Demolition Derby, or Concert in conjunction with PED.  It was also recommended the Rodeo Committee form a non-profit to organize and run the rodeo if they desired, though they would take the financial risk and would be responsible for any loss or gain derived from it.  Here is a link if you would like to take a look at the proposal:  PED Preliminary Analysis: Restructuring Events Department.  I fully support this action.

Since the election, I have personally told former Mayor Heather Jackson, as well as a member of the rodeo committee who contacted me via email, that I would be willing to consider any action to allow the rodeo to continue through an outside organization, though there would need to be written proposal from the committee as to what support they would be requesting from the City. I have not yet heard anything from the Rodeo Committee, however we have invited them to participate in the discussion at tomorrow’s council meeting.

I was elected by the people of Eagle Mountain to exercise fiscal restraint and positive stewardship of taxpayer money.  That is exactly what I intend to do.  This doesn’t mean that a city-sponsored celebration is inappropriate, only that we should exercise restraint in the pursuit of such a celebration.

Using the Pony Express Days survey to guide our decisions, City staff and I have determined which events we would like to keep and those we wish to either postpone or cut.  We have considered the timing of the celebration and plan to start it after children are out of school.  We will shorten PED from 11 days to a more manageable number of days, and we will take some of the popular events that don’t fit in to the schedule and spread them out over the summer and fall months so that we can provide events for the community for a longer period of time.

The goal is to keep a fun tradition that brings the community together while keeping the cost down.  I have more details which I plan to share with the council tomorrow. I hope to see those of you who can attend there, and will provide an update here on the blog following the meeting.

17 thoughts on “Pony Express Days

  1. I really like the idea of having it start after kids are out of school and I think it is a great idea to shorten it. I think of Brigham city’s “peach days” and Midway’s “Swiss Days” they are both only a few days and are very enjoyable. Looking forward to seeing what will be different this year. I have to be honest…my family has never really gotten into PE days….rodeos don’t appeal to us and the concerts felt pricey. The one thing we have always enjoyed is the paraded.
    I would love to see more homemade merchandise in booths. I am normally quiet on topics but I really like these two possible changes.

  2. I really like the idea of it starting after the kids get out of school, but what week is proposed to do for PED? I would suggest not doing a weekend so close to some of the local city festivals because it limits turnout and usually limits when City of Fun is available. Saratoga Splash is the weekend of June 14, Lehi Round-up is June 23-28, and American Fork Steel Days is July 12-19.

  3. Thank you for trying to reign in expenditures and a big thanks for keeping us informed through digital methods. I enjoy your informative and frequent posts at my fingertips!

  4. I agree with Misty & would love to have it a different week (I think having it Memorial Day weekend has been part of why turn-out hasn’t been what it could). I hope we continue to use Midway rather than City of Fun however due to the wristbands you can get with Midway are what makes the carnival affordable for a lot of us. I really hope we can get creative to keep a lot of our fun city events and make them cost less. I will be looking forward to the update (it’s the time of year where I have to work 50-60 hrs/week so I doubt I will make it to the council meeting!) Thanks Chris!

    • Oh yes, Midway or City of Fun. Either way, I think another time like in late July or August. I bet we would have a much better turn out. Two more close dates to add are Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days on June 18-21, Orem Summerfest is June 13-14. So it seems like everything is packed into June locally.

  5. I agree Misty! Regardless of who does the carnival it would be best to make sure we don’t plan it the same time as another city or it could really hurt our ticket sales. I just know City of Fun has thought about coming out here so I thought I would voice my opinion on that since you brought them up, I know they said they probably wouldn’t be able to do the wristbands so I hope we stay with Midway, I absolutely LOVE the wristband option!

  6. Keep up the good work mayor. I believe you are doing the right thing to reign in city spending on some things that really should be self-funded.

  7. I’m all for being fiscally responsible, but I also feel like it’s the role of government to help create a viable, active community. I feel that this can go a long way toward creating the kind of city that will, in the long run, be more attractive to businesses and residents. I see the subsidy as a long-term investment in our lives, one that’s not always represented by the immediate profit/loss statements on the budget lines. Personally, I’ve attended the rodeo almost every year. I don’t attend the concerts, primarily because I’m not a fan of country music, but I was always impressed at the level of entertainment the city has been able to draw in. I have volunteered at events, both at the rodeo and at the Dutch oven Cookoff. I love living in Eagle Mountain, for lots of reasons, and one of them is the PED.

    • Same here! We’ve always made it to the rodeo, but I’ve never been able to go to the demolition derby because I’m always too slow to buy tickets and they ALWAYS Sell Out! Wish we would have tried something creative like Dirt or Grass Hills to sit on, or some other idea that would get rid of the HUGE cost of the bleachers and allow us to maybe still do these events before we decided to just do away with them. I’m all for whatever the majority wants though, if everyone wants to do away with it, so be it I guess – I really will miss having some of these fun activities though (and so disappointed I never made it to the derby – I’ve heard it was tons of fun!)

  8. Many thanks, Mayor, for your leadership in reigning in PED. I, too, think it got out of hand, fiscally. Also, too many events and too many days. With a big successful rodeo in Lehi, what are we doing with one as well? And a money loser going in! I’ve been in show business my entire life (movies and TV) and that was an insane idea! The concert can be improved immensely — stage it where you can get more seating capacity and think beyond country music. There are a lot of A+ acts available for reasonable fees. As an example, I’m helping the Herriman Arts Council book their Herriman Days Concert on a budget of $10,000. They’re selecting between Elvis Presley, Jr. (Elvis’s only son), A Tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John (Face to Face), and Oh! What A Night! A Musical Tribute to Frankie Avalon and The Four Seasons (“Jersey Boys”). City of Herriman can justify free admission for its citizens. I could have booked The Osmond Brothers but Herriman is booking too late and the Brothers will be on a concert tour in England on the Herriman date.
    Your leadership is already evident in our neighborhood. A street light which was out for more than a year, and remained so after 4 calls, was replaced in one day after we made one last plea! Thank you!

    • Thanks for the feedback Phil! I was actively pursuing a revenue neutral arrangement (or close to it) with a record label looking for a venue, and a sister production company with the sound equipment. Because we were locked in to a contract with the rodeo production company for a rodeo that the city will not be hosting, I did not want to fragment my efforts and potentially spend more money when there was uncertainty. In any case, we will focus on the events we have for now. When those events are completed this year we will analyze our performance and consider scaling up as appropriate. I think the problem we had in the past was growing before we were ready. I would love to offer many more events if it were fiscally responsible. The only way to do that is to grow slowly as we are able to become more efficient at executing the events. As far as the street lights are concerned, I can’t take credit for that. We have a great staff in the energy department and one of our employees collected all the information on the street lights that were our and prepared a budget and a plan for replacement. They have made great progress on this problem and will continue working on it. I can’t take the credit though. They are doing a great job. Thanks for recognizing their efforts though. I’m glad we are serving you well!

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