Midnight Rodeo closes due to lack of sales

Midnight Rodeo closes due to lack of sales
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: Midnight Rodeo Facebook Page
Source: Midnight Rodeo Facebook Page

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Cars used to line the streets around Midnight Rodeo on the weekends, but the parking lot will now be empty.

Midnight Rodeo Marketing Director Mark Easterling said the honky tonk and dance hall wasn't bringing in the crowd in Amarillo it used to.

"A lack of traffic led to a lack of sales, which leads to a lack of ability to pay bills," said Easterling. "You can only take that for so long."

Because they did not notify employees, the decision to shut down came as a surprise to some of them, including Jessica Smith.

"Without receiving a notice, it's gonna be harder for everyone to find a job last minute," said Smith.

Some found out through an announcement on the company's Facebook page, that said quote: "Life is a party, and parties aren't meant to last. Thanks for the support, Amarillo."

A former bartender, who goes by the name "Vegas," said the news was upsetting to many employees.

"I just didn't think it was going to happen this quick, and this unprofessional of just everybody hearing they're not working or have no job," said Vegas. "Most of the people there don't have another source of income. So to hear that over Facebook and not even be told, it was pretty upsetting to a lot of people."

Former bartender Tandy Heath said Midnight Rodeo had trouble adjusting to a changing music scene.

"Customers would constantly tell me they wanted newer music," said Heath. "Or they wanted different shot specials or different drink specials."

The venue also had a heavy schedule booked in advance for the fall, including performances by Eli Young Band, Sam Riggs and Curtis Grimes.

Easterling said other bars in town also made the market competitive.

"I think you look at places like Starlight Ranch, if I'm getting that name right over there by Big Texan, and it offers an outdoor venue that's very popular right now," said Easterling. "Or you look at Hoots, which offers live music in a more intimate setting, and they're happy with success too."

Owner of Hoots Pub Casey Berry said it can be competitive when it comes to bringing in artists.

"Us, and them and some of the others in town, we go after a lot of the same bands," said Berry.

While it may have been their competition, Berry says the closure is bittersweet for him as well.

"I started going in there when i was 18 years old," said Berry. "And then obviously when we were a band for a lot of years, that was a pinnacle. That's where you wanted to play."

All employees we spoke with say they are waiting for their last paycheck, and are confident they will receive it soon.

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