In the market for a new building for some time, once the owners and operators of Club Rodeo found a potential site for relocation the wheels were set in motion quickly – though some outside factors had a hand in that.
After 13 years at its former location on East Kellogg in Wichita, Club Rodeo received an eviction notice from its landlord earlier this year and was given 30 days to vacate the property. That forced ownership to shift gears on relocation, putting in an offer and securing the former Sutherlands property near the intersection of K-15 and MacArthur Road.
“Trying to find something that fits our needs – the size – is a challenge in Wichita. We wanted a decent location that’s easy to get to, a high traffic area is a bonus,” said General Manager Kyle Kelley. “This area suits us very well.”
Now, Club Rodeo is slated to open at its new location (3426 E. MacArthur Rd.) in south Wichita by mid- to late fall. The bar and dance/nightclub will feature more space (36,000 vs. 22,000 sq. ft. in the main building) and also brings the club closer to its primary clientele – with Kelley noting a majority of customers come from Derby, Mulvane and other areas south and west of Wichita.
Since closing on the old Sutherlands property, Kelley noted staff have been working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission to rezone the land for a planned unit development – approved by the county commission at the start of July – meaning Club Rodeo will be permitted to host outdoor concerts at its new facility regularly.
Additionally, the new site has a secondary building that will allow Club Rodeo to have a dedicated, covered area where customers can wait for ride-sharing services.
Capacity will be down slightly from the old location (1,200 from 1,542), but Kelley said that was based on some initial zoning calculations that could potentially change.
Having six and half acres of land at the new site, Kelley said “the sky’s the limit” for what amenities Club Rodeo can add in the future. Outside of drinks and dancing, Club Rodeo lived up to its name by regularly hosting live bull riding.
All the rodeo equipment was saved from the previous location and while that may not be featured initially, management has been discussing what a potential return will look like with all the additional space at the new location.
“We’ve talked about when we bring the rodeo back at some point would it be completely inside or do we have an outdoor rodeo? There’s a lot of options on the table,” Kelley said.
Club Rodeo also had limited yard games on the patio at its old location, but with the new site Kelley noted the entire east side of the property is open to expand that. While washers and cornhole can be expected, Kelly said there have also been discussions about axe throwing and a driving range simulator as the business seeks to take full advantage of that extra space.
Fall is a target date for Club Rodeo’s reopening, Kelley stated, as it has been affected by COVID-19 like so many other businesses (which could continue once it opens, given current restrictions). Working closely with the MAPC – which shut down with other governmental agencies for a time – essentially put the club’s reopening on a six-month delay.
Reopening is something Kelley and management are looking forward to – mainly to bring back the 62 employees who were laid off due to the unexpected transition. Once Club Rodeo gets back in business, though, Kelley assured customers they can expect the same experience (“the most fun you can have with your boots on”), music, atmosphere and customer service it has always aimed to provide.
Seeing the number of customers reaching out on social media has been encouraging for Club Rodeo’s relaunch – though staff want to make sure they get things right before getting back in business.
“That’s exciting for us. It’s a big morale booster for us with all the delays,” Kelley said. “We’re just all excited to get back to work – being part of this community, being able to bring some value back to this neighborhood. I know a lot of our customers are excited to see us come back. We’re just ready to do it, but we want to do it right. We’re not in a rush to cut corners or try to cheat the experience by opening too soon.”