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The City of Tetonia has renegotiated its lease on the rodeo grounds with the Teton Valley Saddle Club, meaning the space will be available for other events such as the Off-Road Stampede.

After several months’ worth of discussions by Tetonia City Council, the Off-Road Stampede Series finally received the city’s approval to host an ATV/UTV gathering at the city-owned rodeo grounds on Aug. 21.

The Off-Road Stampede is a festival series that draws in ATV and UTV riders to explore local trails and play rodeo games like barrel racing. The theme of the Tetonia event is supposed to be “disco” and attendees are advised to decorate their rigs accordingly.

The event was originally scheduled for early July, but the organizers did not seek approval from the city to operate out of the rodeo grounds; rather, they went to Teton County for a temporary use permit. This raised the ire of both the city and the Teton Valley Saddle Club, which has long held a lease with the city for exclusive use of the grounds.

Gary and Annie Rammell of the Teton Valley Saddle Club came to a Tetonia City Council meeting in May to find out who approved the ATV event. They were concerned that off-roaders playing ATV games in the arena would irreparably damage the surface.

In 1964, former Tetonia Mayor Russell Rammell started the town’s annual rodeo with a parcel of land donated to the city by the church, a group of friends, and a 99-year lease. The Saddle Club erected the arena, raised funds for the crow’s nest and the cook shack, and found sponsors to keep the grounds in good shape.

“We appreciate the Saddle Club being there and we appreciate the history but there are other uses that we would like to see there,” Mayor Brent Schindler told the Rammells at the May meeting. “We don’t want to take away from what you’re doing, we just want to open it up to other uses.”

The city and the club were able to negotiate a new lease that allows the city to rent the facility to other groups. The city was still opposed to the Off-Road Stampede hosting its event on July 10, however; the council had voted to hold Tetonia Celebrates America on the same day, and didn’t want a competing event happening near town.

The organizers rescheduled the event for Saturday, Aug. 21, and received approval for a temporary use permit from the city council on July 12.