The Rodeo Theatre
Located on south 8th street
The Rodeo Theatre was opened in 1937 by Warren Hall, according to the Garfield County Roundup. Burwell also had an additional movie theatre, The Electric Theatre, which closed shortly after the opening of the Rodeo Theatre. The Electric Theatre was located in a building where Sandhill's Motor Parts now stands on the north side of the Square.
The Hall's owned and operated the Rodeo Theatre for many years. The Rodeo Theatre has remained in its original location on south 8th street since it's opening in 1937. Randy Gross worked for Dorothy Hall running the projector for several years when he first returned to Burwell.
Randy and Linda Gross began operating the Rodeo Theatre in 1992, leasing the business with an option to buy from Stanley Cox of Bolivar, Mo. The couple and their family operated the theatre for five years before buying the business, and have owned the theatre for three years.
The Gross family truly operate their theatre business as a "family affair". The couple's children, Lindsay, Kayla and Cameron all work at the theatre and pitch in to help make the business a success. Randy's sisters, Rhonda Maxson and Renee Bonsall also help out at the theatre when Linda or Randy have family or business commitments. Both Randy and Linda Gross are employed at other professions and as Randy Gross states, " The theatre is really more of a community service rather than a business for us, it's a hobby that pays for itself." All the revenue from the past years have gone back into the business as improvements, according to Randy. An upgraded sound system, a new platter system and new theatre seats have been added to the Rodeo Theatre. The ceiling tiles have been replaced and painted with the addition of glow in the dark stars and a moon, a feature popular with the children in the community and the outside marque has been repainted and upgraded from it's original condition. The bathrooms, located in the basement of the theatre, have also been improved.
The Rodeo Theatre also has another unique feature that is seldom found in other locations. The Theatre strives to only feature movies with a G, PG or PG 13 rating. No R rated movies are shown at the Rodeo Theatre. "The no R rated movie philosophy, explains Linda Gross, is based on our clientele. In a small community, the majority of our business comes from elementary and Junior high age children. We personally do not believe that children in this age group need to see R rated films, therefore we made a personal commitment when we purchased the theatre that we would not offer the movies with the R rating. The choice may limit what movies we show and the attendance, but we feel we can offer the community family entertainment, and that's what we really strive to do."
The Rodeo Theatre also offers many unique special events, like the New Year's Eve movie and party. The New Year's Eve movie begins at 10:00 pm and finishes at a little before midnight. The evening is complete with noisemakers, party hats, a New Year's Eve Countdown and a balloon drop. "It's great for the kids, states Linda Gross, " It gives them a celebration of their own and it's a great place for families to celebrate the New Year. The Theatre also shows a Christmas Free Movie sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and have had special Halloween Movies sponsored by different church organizations in the past.
The Rodeo Theatre regularly features movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and also has a new telephone recording that lists the weekly movie information and the showtimes.