So you want to start a rodeo.

Great!  Who could blame you, rodeo is one of the few sport/entertainment ventures that has rode the storm know as the great recession well and actually seen an increase in attendance.  If you do it right you can build a rodeo that will last for years to come and become on of the few rodeos that sees several generations of fans come back year after year.  Do it wrong and you will be just another one hit wonder like that singer whats his name.  You know who I am talking about he had that one hit single that was played non stop then we never heard from him again.

How do I start?

The first thing you should do is lock yourself in a room with no distractions leave your electronic devices turned off in another room and ask yourself “Am I ready to take on this responsibility all by myself?” If you hesitate or answer no then don’t go pass go and do not collect $200.  The reason you need to ask yourself this question and be honest about it is you will be the person responsible for EVERYTHING regardless if you have a committee or not.  I have seen rodeos that have huge committees but there is still just one person doing all the work.  The rule is if its your idea and if your name is on it it is your responsibility.

The second thing you need to do is look at the type of entertainment that is available in your area.  Things to look for are concerts, fairs, trade shows, other rodeos etc.  With the exception of other rodeos other events could help you increase the number of people who come to your rodeo.  If you can work with existing events everyone can benefit by the increase in people in town for the existing event.  If there is an existing rodeo within 50 miles of where you are wanting to hold yours be careful.  If the existing rodeo is part of an association and you are wanting your rodeo to be part of the same association you my have to get permission from the existing rodeo depending on the associations rules.  If you live in a small community you need to look and see if the economy is strong enough to hold more than one rodeo.  You will be competing for sponsorships with the existing rodeo and guess what the businesses are more likely to donate to the existing rodeo over yours no matter if your rodeo is several months from the existing rodeo and if it is during a time where the increase in people would be much appreciated by businesses they are still going to back the existing rodeo.  Be prepared to pay for expenses out of pocket until you can prove your rodeo is just as good or better than the existing rodeo.

The third thing to look at is when do you want to have your rodeo.  This kind of ties in with the second thing.  Look for dates that you can piggy back (with or without) other events knowledge.  Try to find a venue that is open during the same time as events going on in another town that is close by.  Research the events schedule so you can plan your rodeo to happen when the other event has nothing, that way you don’t take away from the established event and make people mad remember play nice.   If nothing is available during other events then look for times of the year when tourism is low.  The reason these dates can work for you is you are holding an event that could bring people from out of the area to town to spend money at local businesses and hotels.  It could help you get sponsors (not a guarantee but can’t hurt).

Number four.  What type of rodeo are you going to have.  Yes there are different types of rodeo.  Is it going to be a Pro Rodeo, a women’s rodeo or one of the numerous rodeos that I call “State Rodeos”? Each rodeo has its own set of rules and requirements to hold one of their rodeos so go to there website and read through everything and make calls to see which will work best for your area and wallet.

Committee Selection.

Now that you have a general idea of what and when it is you want to do it’s time to think about forming a committee.  You and your committee will be responsible for organizing everything, advertising,  ticket sales, booking the venue, hiring the stock contractor, paying the franchisee fees, and selling sponsorships to hopefully pay for everything.  I know what you are thinking “I have a lot of friends that will jump at the chance to be a part of this”.  Let me stop you right there.  This is another one of those things that you should lock yourself in a room with out distractions and really thing about if all of your friends are right to be on your committee.  As friends go they are no doubt the best friends a person could have but you are basically starting a business so even though they are the best bunch of friends you could hope for are they right to help you run your new business?  Remember when it comes right down to the wire YOU are responsible for everything including paying for everything so if you do decide to include your friends make sure they know what is at stake and what you expect from them.

Consider coming up with a set of rules and a membership fee for your committee.  One of the rules should be that if the committee fails to come up with enough sponsors to pay for everything than every member will put in money from out of pocket until the bills are paid.  A membership fee of $200 can help get your committee up and running by giving you money to pay for up front costs like franchise fees.  It also helps eliminate any one who might not have the rodeos best interests at heart.

Personnel Selection.

You have your committee now it is time to hire the people that are going to work the rodeo.  Most of the time all you have to do is find a stock contractor that has a membership card in the association that you are doing.  The stock contractor will hire everyone else and their fees will be included in the stock contractors price.  This is not necessarily a bad way to do things.  If you don’t know people in the rodeo business this can save you time trying to hire people.  I would recommend to new committees that the first call they make in personnel selection is to a producer like Dynamic Productions LIVE (I now it is a shameful plug from me but hey its how I make a living).  The producer can give you some pointers on what to look for in a stock contractor and what to watch out for. (Dynamic Productions LIVE gives you a free consultation just saying.:)

Rodeo Producer.

“I talked to the stock contractor and he/she said hiring a rodeo producer is a waste of money.  Is it?”  Guess what it might be.  Each rodeo is different and depending on the experience of the committee and what the stock contractor is willing to do you might not nee a rodeo producer.  Consider these things though.  Are you prepared to handle everything from ticket sales at the gate, venders showing up and running your ragged, preparing the arena making sure it is in perfect shape for the contestants and animals, and getting the rodeo started on time? Is the stock contractor going to be there for you from the time you sign the contract till after you do your After Action Review (AAR)? Also is the stock contractor going to work with you during the rodeo or take it over and do things the way he/she wants it done?

I don’t believe in selling people something they don’t need so the choice of hiring a rodeo producer is up to you.  I get calls from rodeos all the time asking for help to fix problems that could of been avoided.  A good produce is going to put your event first and be there for you and at the same time give you a kick in the butt if you get off track.

There is A LOT more that goes in to running a successful rodeo but this will give you something to think about while you decide if you want to start a rodeo and remember Dynamic Productions LIVE is here for you every step of the way.  Give us a call (719) 580-5644 Monday – Saturday 7am – 8pm Mountain Time.


See you at the show,