Do The Dang Grand Entry

If you’re one of my rodeo clients, I can ensure you have gotten my lecture on the importance of participating in the grand entry. I am a firm believer that without spectators, we do not have a rodeo. Being anywhere around rodeo you’ve probably heard that rodeo is a dying industry and cowboys are a dying breed. I have spent my whole life around rodeo and the equine industry. Rodeos, barrel racing, roping jackpots, so many horse shows, practice pens—I have seen so many events. It has always been the one thing that makes me happiest. And I refused to believe or enable that rodeo is a dying industry.

My opinion shifted when I attended my first rodeo which struggled to fill a performance with contestants. I saw an empty cheering section- no kids were screaming and running up and down the bleachers. Listening to a chute gate crack open and it was listening to a whisper from the crowd, rather than a roar. Realistically, it hit me again- rodeo may have been a decaying event, but I refuse to call it dying. From contestants to spectators, and even the rodeo contractors, we're missing a lot of parts that make rodeo flow. Maybe turning a blind eye and denying is most definitely not an effective route to keeping rodeo alive, so I thought I would try something different.

For a while, I could never understand why the stands were empty. Until I heard a story from some family friends, who had attended a rodeo in Northern Minnesota. Their son had been trying to get one of the contestants to say “hi” to him or just give him a high five. Just a little something to let him know these people he thinks are so cool, that he looks up to sooo much also think he was worthy of acknowledgment. Of his whole weekend of efforts, one contestant gave him the time of day.. Only one.. He spent his whole weekend at this rodeo, and only one contestant gave him the time of day. Only one…

I normally would shy away from discussing the negative in the rodeo industry because I don’t want anybody to have any more reason to think poorly of it. But I think this is the reality of it. The reality is contestants need to be the ones reminding kids their heroes can most definitely be cowboys.

I am more than realistic that rodeo competitors are there to compete and not necessarily shake hands and kiss babies, but it is the domino effect. Contestants need spectators, spectators need contestants, and rodeo contractors need both spectators and competitors. It’s the cycle of rodeo. Everybody has to rely on each other or the industry collapses. And right now, the rodeo contestants are not quite carrying their weight. 

If I know you personally, I'll never hesitate to call you out on dropping the ball. {I know a few rodeo contractors that are the same way.} I've been reminded by a few of my friends that I'm a little too honest. And maybe that's what this post is... Too honest. But maybe that's what contestants need. A little brutal honesty to remind them to smile at the kid, take the picture, smile in the grand entry & wave at the kids. Do the right thing when nobody's looking. Wait til you are in the truck to go home before complaining about the stock, contractors, ground, & spectators. Take the picture & talk to the kid. Give them a high five and put a smile on your face while you do it. We're blessed to do something we love that also entertains, inspires, and encourages people. 

"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (Hebrews 13:16) Share the good. Share your passion. Share the lifestyle. Share the stories. Keep spectators enjoying the show because it's about more than you.