SWEETWATER COUNTY– The Wyoming Rodeo Ministry (WRM) was denied a vendor booth application for the 2019 National High School Finals Rodeo by the Sweetwater Events Complex.
The Wyoming Rodeo Ministry is a group of volunteers who share the gospel with thousands of people during the week of the National High School Finals Rodeo here in Wyoming. The Ministry is based in Mills, Wyoming, and was founded by Pastor James Scott.
Mike Sain, President of WRM, wrote on his Facebook page that the Sweetwater Events Complex denied the Ministry’s application for a vendor booth.
“The Sweetwater Events Complex has denied our application and are enforcing what has been in their vendor contract. ‘Exhibitor agrees not to use the Exhibit Space for any political or religious purpose,'” Sain wrote.
Sain said the WRM will accept the Event Complex’s decision, even though the WRM has been involved in the NHSFR at the Sweetwater Events Complex for three years.
However, the WRM has sent a letter to the Sweetwater Event Complex board, expressing their disappointment. Part of the letter reads:
“I think I might understand the blanket, so-called, prohibition on religious activities among vendors. Surely, though, we can agree that the intent behind such a policy was to prevent every single local church or religious organization from hassling the public while “recruiting” at the rodeo. This is not what the Wyoming Rodeo Ministry does…at all. In fact, our charter specifically prohibits any effort to grow or build a particular church, or to prefer one Christian denomination over another. Instead we offer a message of spiritual peace to anyone interested in listening. Nobody is dragged into our booth against their will. Thousands of people each year voluntarily walk into our booth and listen to our volunteers politely and professionally tell a personal story about Jesus Christ.”
The Sweetwater Events Complex responded by explaining that the decision was not based on a decision about political or religious groups in the exhibit space. The decision was based on an incident with the group at the 2018 event.
They released the following statement:
“Contrary to current comments, all groups and beliefs are welcome at the Sweetwater Events Complex. There are guidelines that all groups are expected to follow. During the 2019 National High School Finals Rodeo, Golden Spur Ministries will lead a daily devotional and The Fellowship of Christian Cowboys will lead a short prayer at the start of each performance. They also offer prayers before runs behind the chutes. The Sweetwater Events Complex denied the Wyoming Rodeo Ministry Tradeshow application due to problems at the 2018 event. Vendors have a responsibility to stay within their assigned booth space and that is an expectation of all vendors,” Lena Warren, Marketing & Event Coordinator said.