An event founded during the Great Depression continues to stand strong in 2016. The San Angelo Rodeo is gearing up for its 84th year, kicking off the season with a press conference Tuesday at the San Angelo Visitor Center.
“The rodeo was founded in 1932 – during the Depression – to lift spirits, to bring people together to socialize.” said Justin Jonas, San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo executive director. “This continues today.”
Jonas said many different aspects go into San Angelo’s rodeo (which will have its usual 12 performances) to make it work and cited the efforts of not only his staff, but the approximately 800 volunteers who participate annually.
“We rely tremendously on volunteers.” Jonas said.
Jonas said the rodeo is by far, the largest economic event to San Angelo, with the livestock show driving much of the economic impact. Each year, thousands of entries from 4H and FFA programs across the state register to compete in the San Angelo Stock Show, with their sights set on showing at the Premium Sale (held the final Saturday of the rodeo).
Livestock director Brittni Kaczyk echoed Jonas’ sentiment about the impact of the livestock events tied to the San Angelo Rodeo.
“We have one of the largest stock shows in the nation.” Kaczyk said. “This year, we already have 4,800 junior livestock exhibitors signed up to show their animals. After deadlines, we will have 5,500 if not 6,000. 2016 looks to be a promising year.”
Kaczyk highlighted the new events added to the stock show schedule for 2016. Among those are a junior robotics competition, an agricultural science fair and a miniature Hereford show. A special edition stock show and rodeo will be held for students with special needs as well.
“This is the first junior robotics competition in Texas stock shows. It’s open to all students – public and private schools, homeschools, FFA and 4H.” she said. “The miniature Hereford show – if you want an ‘awwww’ moment – we’ll have little bitty kids with little bitty cows.”
A youth food challenge will also be added to the list of events. The competition, open to 4H and FFA students, will be held Jan. 27, one week prior to regular stock show activities. Participants will be given a basket of food “on the spot” and be responsible, not only for preparing a meal, but being able to give judges the cost per serving as well as the nutritional value of their creation.
Rodeo performances will be in the same format as in the past, according to marketing director Tom Thompson. The PRCA finale will be held Feb. 19 and the ever-popular Cinch Shoot-Out will be Feb. 20. Boyd Polhamus will return as the announcer with Josh “Hambone” Hilton returning as the soundman.
A noted change is the stock company for 2016. Pete Carr Classic Pro Rodeo will be the primary PRCA events stock contractor for the San Angelo Rodeo, replacing Cervi Championship Rodeo. Thompson said Carr had 26 animals in the National Finals Rodeo in 2014, as well as owning “Dirty Jacket,” the 2014 PRCA Bucking Horse of the Year.
Tickets for the San Angelo Rodeo will be on sale Wednesday at all City ticketing outlets.