South Jersey’s Cowtown Rodeo Resists Online Warehouse Offers
After putting on a weekly rodeo almost every Saturday night since 1955, Cowtown Rodeo isn't ready to sell its valuable land in Salem County to any e-commerce warehouse developers.
Not that they haven't had some tempting offers.
Grant Harris, who ran the rodeo for decades before selling the business to his daughter in 2018, told the New York Times they have received some "astronomical" offers to sell their business from retailers such as Amazon.
If developers had their way, the 1,700-acre Cowtown Rodeo and flea market Harris still oversees would be replaced by warehouses used to store products for e-commerce businesses.
The rural land in Pilesgrove Township is close enough to the busy Philadelphia market, but, still, a relative bargain compared to other Philly suburbs.
"Some of the offers were tempting," Harris said. But his daughter Katy Harris Griscom – the Cowtown's first female boss – isn't looking to sell.
After all, Cowtown Rodeo's business has been booming lately. After having to take a 6-week pause at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cowtown came roaring back with ticket sales 50% higher than ever before.
Though Cowtown was already a long-standing summer tradition for many, the rodeo found a ready audience from a large number of families looking for pandemic-friendly outdoor activities a little further out in the country.
Even on TV, bull riding's viewership is said to have grown by 8% in 2020, while more mainstream pro sports have seen a rating slump.
“My family made a living — at least — doing what we do for 13, 14 generations,” Mr. Harris told the New York Times about hosting rodeos.
“Why would you want to mess with that?”