Video: Rodeo Celebrates 70 Years

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of local TV news segments about nearby drive-in theaters. This week, KING-TV, Seattle’s News Leader, posted an affectionate look at Bremerton WA’s Rodeo Drive-In Theatre that has to be in my Top Ten.

As I wrote two years ago during my Drive-In-A-Day Odyssey, “Rodeo Motor Movies” opened in 1949 as a single-screen drive-in for about 600 cars. The Seattle-based Cascade/Seven Gables Cinemas bought the Rodeo in 1977 and added two more screens the following year, expanding the capacity total to about 1000 cars.

Jack and Cindy Ondracek bought the rundown Rodeo in 1986 after it had been for sale for several years, and they still own it today. “It was a big leap of faith at the time but it worked out real well,” said Jack, who is now the projectionist. Cindy runs the box office, and oldest daughter Cheryl manages the snack bar.

KING’s video, which I can’t recommend highly enough, shows plenty of patrons relaxing and getting happy waiting for the movie to start. Its story ends with a perfect quote from Cindy: “People up here value the fact that the evening is sometimes the most amazing part of the entire day. Out here we kind of embrace that, and we give you a great way to finish the day off.”

There are photos and more details in KING’s post online. For a good time, you really should go read it!