During the last week of July the town of 1,200 swells with visitors, but local officials say the impact of Nebraska's Big Rodeo lingers long after the arena empties.
"It really has a residual effect that impact the city all year, and the whole community all year long," says Burwell Economic Development Director David Sawyer.
Sawyer says they estimate a traveler spends $50 per day when they visit Burwell. During rodeo week, that's more than $750,000 being spent in the area.
Sawyer says the rodeo, now in its 91st year, brought more attendees and participants last year than it had in decades.
"If you're in the rodeo business, this is one of the places you want to be," he says. "Nebraska's Big Rodeo is unique in regard to tradition, history, and the events that take place there."
Some Burwell businesses say that rodeo weekend doesn't make much difference for them because between the nearby Calamus Reservoir and other area attractions they stay busy all summer, but others say that for them that last week in July is better than Christmas.
"We've been in business for 19 years now, and in the last 18 years rodeo has been the biggest week of the year for us," says Jodee Burnham of Dry Creek Western Wear.
Burnham says they see a major increase foot traffic during rodeo week, especially on Saturday after the downtown parade.
"It's wonderful to meet people from all over the United States - we've met people from Europe, we've had people from Japan in here," she says.
Burnham says this year when the rodeo returns to four performances over four nights, Dry Creek expects only good things.
"We're very excited about the four evenings because we think that will be able to bring more people to town so that they can stay over a longer time, make it a longer vacation," she says.
Other businesses like the Northside Bar and Cafe are closely tied into the rodeo too. The bar also serves as an unofficial museum of wall-to-wall rodeo memorabilia.
But owner Scott Krause says Burwell is thriving more now thanks to tourist traffic even when it's not rodeo time.
"We are gaining another identity because of the lake and all the things that you can do here, but it's still a rodeo town," he says.
The 2012 Nebraska's Big Rodeo starts on Wednesday, July 25. For a schedule and more info, click on the link below.