How The Pandemic Is Hurting Illinois Rodeos


Photo courtesy of Lenora Cazavala

Big Hat Rodeo, a company based in the northern Illinois town of Harvard, would have been celebrating its 100-year-anniversary putting on rodeos in and around the midwest this year. Like so much else in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to all that, and the economic effects are far-reaching. According to a 2014 University of Illinois Extension study, country fairs drove more than $170 million dollars in spending that summer. But now the clowns, cowboys, and horses are out of work.

The 21st speaks to members of Big Hat Rodeo and experts on the rodeo life about the history of the rodeo in Illinois. 


Lenora Cazavala, the fourth generation rodeo owner of Big Hat Rodeo, based in Harvard

Brandt Clark, former professional bullfighter, and now a horse trainer and rodeo announcer who announces many of the Big Hat Rodeo Shows

John “Lefty” Kee, Illinois native and professional Rodeo Clown


Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

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