The Estancia Valley Ranch Rodeo relocates to Santa Fe in 2024 due to its popular success.

After a growing and successful three-year run at the Moriarty Heritage Arena rodeo grounds, the popular Estancia Valley Ranch Rodeo will be moving to Santa Fe in 2024.

The rodeo is a victim of its own success as it has outgrown its original home, wrote Chris A. Morgan, board chairman of the East Mountain Rodeo Association.

“When the East Mountain Rodeo Association was founded, our main goal was bringing business back to the Estancia Valley that was recovering from the devastating effects of the worldwide pandemic in 2020,” he wrote in an open letter to Moriarty and Estancia Valley residents. “Men and women who had a vested interest came together to produce a weekend event so that businesses could see a return of travelers and more importantly, the families that make this valley home.”

The idea was to produce a fun, family event that in which area resident could take pride.

“We hoped this event would take their minds off the world for just one weekend,” Morgan wrote. “Over the course of three years, we brought the heritage of New Mexico’s ranching roots to the stage in Moriarty to be seen by over 5,000 visitors not only from the valley, but from across the state. Working with small businesses and various community groups, we succeeded in this goal for three years. Each year growing knowing that one day we might outgrow our facilities and infrastructure.”

And in reflecting on 2023’s event, the board realized some changes needed to be made.

“At the conclusion of the 2023 the board reflected on the number of spectators that had traveled more than two hours; and teams whose home ranches were in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, as well as our own state of New Mexico,” Morgan wrote. “Our board was astonished at how many came from such a distance to our event. Upon survey of the facilities, the cost of improvements and maintenance needed to bring the facility to its full potential became overwhelming.”

The money for those upgrades simply was not available, he wrote.

“As the cost of needed improvements would be solely upon the City of Moriarty — as the owners of the Heritage Arena — we felt asking for even half of the improvements needed at a facility that we were the only customers to use in three years is not only inappropriate, but absurd,” Morgan wrote. “With that in consideration, we faced a dilemma. Do we remain or seek other options?

“The board of directors studied options within the Estancia Valley,” he continued. “Each facility we weighed against the level of competition we have drawn to our event and the expected spectator growth. With each site located, the list of issues and drawbacks became detrimental to the success of the organization.”

It came down to the fact that the best and closest site was the Rodeo de Santa Fe, where the event will be held July 19-20, 2024.

“Although we are moving to the northernmost point of the Estancia Valley, the charities we support will remain within the Valley we still call home,” Morgan wrote. “By production of our western sporting event in Santa Fe, we can remind tourists and those within the metro area that beyond their city limits, men and women still work, live, and play in the same ways in which they have since before the ground was broken.”

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