MALTA — After over 40 years in business, the Double M Rodeo on Route 67 has become another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After not opening for the summers of 2020 and 2021, owners Wayne and Cindy Martin announced this week that the attraction has closed for good.
“We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of our rodeo family, contestants and patrons who have made Double M rodeo the success that it was,” the couple said in a statement on Facebook. “We have decided to close this chapter in our lives. Of course no change or decision is easy but as we all have experienced in the last 2 years, life is not forever. So better enjoy it now.”
It wasn’t a scenario where the rodeo business limped to its finish, Leo Martin said.
“The rodeo was doing OK their last few years. It was more of a timing issue with COVID. That’s all.”
The Double M Western Store on Route 67 will also remain open.
While Max Martin said he’s “sad” his uncle’s rodeo business closed, the teen said he sees it as an opportunity to grow the thriving haunted hayride business.
“Growing up, the rodeo was always here and it’s definitely different,” said Max, the hayride business’s 18-year-old general manager. “But that being said, it opens a bunch of doors for hayrides and helps the hayrides grow. So there’s that said of it, too.”
Leo Martin said the hayrides business continued to thrive during the pandemic. Last year, during the pandemic’s height, it shifted to a successful drive-thru scenario.
“It was one of the best years we’ve ever had,” he said, with 20,000 attendees compared to 15,000 to 18,000 during a typical year. The Martins attribute the draw to people wanting to be outdoors.
“We’re a staple there in the fall,” Leo Martin said. “We’ve been doing it so long. When people think of getting scared, they think of us.”
“The rodeo ran into Labor Day, which made it tough for the haunted hayrides to be ready for October,” Leo Martin said.
“Now we’ll be able to get that much bigger and add a lot to it,” he said. “We’re planning big things.”
He said he didn’t want to divulge too much of that plan, other than to note that a new walkthrough for hayrides is planned in the former rodeo arena.
Max, who remembers being involved in the hayride business as early as second grade, when he wore a ghillie suit to scare customers, said staying open “means everything for me because I was born and raised here. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today if this place wasn’t here.”
Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.
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