Merrill, Wis. (WJFW) - Tourism and Northwoods summers go together like peanut butter and jelly. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism is helping 45 different initiatives to bring even more people to Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Pro Rodeo at the Lincoln County fairgrounds was selected for one of their grants.

Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo receives grant

"We’re a state know for events and over the years. Historically, events are one of the main reasons why people choose Wisconsin for their destination," said Jeff Anderson, a regional tourism specialist with Travel Wisconsin. 

The Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo has been a staple to tourism for more than 3 decades. They were awarded a $12,750 grant by the Wisconsin department of tourism.

“This grant is a part of our joint effort marketing, we call it our 'JEM' grant program, which distributes a little over a million dollars annually to nonprofit organization, throughout the state to help market and promote events that bring people into our communities throughout Wisconsin," said Anderson. 

“It helps us to use our other adverting money in other ways so that we can promote it," said Bryan Moodie, vice president of the rodeo. 

Usually, the event brings 10,000 people to Merrill each year

The extra funding lets them attract even more people

“One of the things that the rodeo did really well is show us how they understand whose coming to the rodeo currently, and who they can reach and attract to the rodeo to grow their audience in the future with these dollars," said Anderson.

The rodeo wants to market in a new way. 

“It’s going to enable us to advertise in a different direction.  So, it’s going to enable us to reach out to other people, bigger area, new ways of technology. digital billboard we’re using this year," said Theresa Grund, marketing director for the rodeo.

No matter how they get people into the bleachers, they're just excited to see people back at the rodeo. 

“Seeing people come back into the Merrill area, new faces, old faces," said Grund. 

The rodeo runs June 10-12th.

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