FEMA Obligates $9 Million to Rebuild Nebraska Rodeo

(Burwell, NE) - Nebraska’s largest rodeo is getting its historic structures rebuilt after suffering major damage from May 2022 severe storms that resulted in a Presidential Disaster Declaration (https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4662).

Severe storms and straight-line winds affected multiple Nebraska counties on May 12, 2022. The Garfield County Frontier Fair Association, also known as the Burwell Rodeo, sustained major damages to its north grandstand and other structures. Almost immediately, the Burwell Rodeo began working with Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct a thorough damage assessment of the impacts. Once the disaster declaration was received, these partners expanded upon their work and the Rodeo submitted an application for FEMA public assistance to rebuild.

“It’s incredibly important for all of us to work together to make sure we rebuild responsibly and quickly after a disaster,” FEMA Region 7 Administrator Andrea Spillars said. “It’s wonderful to see this federal, state, and local partnership achieve real results that will benefit the community.”

FEMA obligated $9.08 million to rebuild the north grandstand, just in time to celebrate the opening of their 2023 season. Of the approximately $9 million awarded for the project, the federal share is $7.35 million, State of Nebraska share is $1.225 million, and local share is $1.225 million.

Burwell Rodeo held its opening night on July 27 with Governor Jim Pillen kicking off the celebration and announcing the obligation.

“There is cause to celebrate,” said Erv Portis, NEMA Deputy Director. “Thanks to FEMA and NEMA staff, and our local partners at Garfield County, the Burwell Rodeo’s historic structures will be reborn and ready for the next 100 years of Nebraska’s Big Rodeo.”

FEMA’s Public Assistance Program provides grants to state and local governments and certain non-profit entities to assist them with the response to and recovery from disasters. Specifically, the program provides assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent restoration of infrastructure.