Downtown Casper businesses dealing with CWFR cancellation

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The decision to cancel the 2020 Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo (CWFR) impacts more than fair goers and rodeo participants. Downtown Casper businesses will also hurt from the lack of tourists venturing into the city.

Center Street in downtown Casper, Wyo. on Sunday, Feb 23, 2020.

“People like to shop small and downtown especially if they’re from out-of-town. The like to come downtown and see all the small unique businesses,” The Cadillac Cowgirl owner Cathey Hobza said

“It’s really sad. It’s going to impact the whole City of Casper, downtown especially without a parade, without the fair. Businesses are already hurting and that takes away any more people coming in for those events,” Rialto Soda Fountain owner Rob Piotter said.

The parade, which usually symbolically kicks off the fair, is also canceled. It’s route generally takes it through downtown Casper.

“That is a huge income for Casper, for Wyoming just in general,” Hobza said of the fair.

As a clothing store owner, the decision to cancel the fair has also caused her to rethink her summer strategy.

“I tend to bring in a lot during the rode season. I bring in clothes for those women, for everyone who’s going to the rodeo. I am now having to decide what I’m going to do. Instead of rodeo clothes, what should I bring,” Hobza said.

With businesses already struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Piotter said he hopes more locals will shop downtown.

“We’re ‘Casper Strong,’ we’re going to bounce back. But in order to bounce back we need people to really shop local,” he said.

Wednesday, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced the cancellation of CWFR and five other major rodeos in the state, including Cheynne Frontier Days, due to the coronavirus pandemic.