IRON COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Many events, and camps have been canceled, across Upper Michigan, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The 53rd U.P. Championship Rodeo, that was set to take place for the weekend of July 17-18, 2020, is not happening. Summer camp at Fortune Lake, beginning in June, will not be happening this summer either. Both take place in Iron County.
Fortune Lake sign (WLUC)
Cabins at Fortune Lake summer camp, and the stands for the U.P. championship rodeo, will stay quiet this summer.
"It's been really difficult because we exist as a camp here, for people to gather together, and we knew that there would be a lot of people that would be upset about not being able to be here this summer,” said the Fortune Lake camp director, Amanda Rasner.
All money for the camp will be refunded. Fortune Lake was also set to hold a celebration for their 90th year, at the Crystal theatre in August. Over 500 people were planning to attend.
"As you can imagine, that was just a risky situation,” said Rasner
The camp also rents out their venue in the fall, and but they say that looks to still be promising. Rasner says the camp will be able to open, implementing safety precautions as more information becomes available.
“We just felt like the risk was too high, for us to be able to mitigate in the time-frame that we have,” said Rasner.
Fortune Lake says that this cancelation is based off the health and safety for their campers, and will actually hurt the camp, as they will lose money. Now the U.P. rodeo stated, that their cancelation is because of financial issues.
For 52 years the Upper Peninsula Championship Rodeo has relied solely on sponsorships and spectators. They says without all of that support the event would not exist.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, many businesses have been shut down, or simply don't have the funds for a sponsorship.
"Unfortunately we know it's hard, so we can't expect them to give us anything, to help sponsor this year. It's just impossible,” said the U.P. Rodeo Committee President/ Treasurer, Bernadette Coates.
The committee also took the health and well-being of the staff, volunteers, spectators, and participants, into consideration when they made their decision. Any money that has been already received, will be refunded.
Coates says this decision did not come lightly.
"Sad, but I know that we will be back again. We have a couple extra months to hopefully bring in some new ideas,” she said.
The public can hopefully look forward to summer 2021 for events and camps to be in full swing.
For more information on the cancelations visit the 'Related Links' section.