If There’s One Thing We Can Always Count On During Trying Economic Times, It’s The Rodeo
As other professional sports are forced to face the grim reality of the uncertain economic climate, the American rodeo soldiers on, undaunted and unfazed. And why wouldn’t it? Making it through World Wars, the Great Depression, the release of Urban Cowboy and 8 Seconds, the rodeo understands how to deal with tough times and has always stood strong as a family-friendly event where fathers and sons and mothers and daughters can enjoy watching animals and humans maimed and possibly killed.
How do they pull it off, you ask? Simple. They don’t have to pay people.
Most rodeos benefit from the fact that a large part of their work force is made up of volunteers. But they’re also heavily reliant on sponsors, both national corporations and local businesses.
And it seems to be paying off. Attendance at the San Antonio Rodeo is up 1% and ticket sales for the Reno Rodeo is up 8% compared to last year.
“Over 45 percent of our audience each year ends up being new to rodeo, because Reno is just a real unique demographic. We are not a normal Western lifestyle rodeo demographic,” Schroeder said. “Our fans have never experienced a rodeo before, and the word’s out.”
So, let me get this straight: on an annual basis, 45% of the people who attend a rodeo have never been to the rodeo before, and they think that’s a good thing? Obviously, you want new people to be interested in your product, but doesn’t it seem strange that nearly half of the people who attended the rodeo the previous year don’t come the next year? What is happening to these people? To get to the bottom of this trend, I performed an unscientific study and came up with some theories behind why these rodeo-loving folks don’t make it back:
- Unsubstantiated alien abductions
- Tragic meth lab explosions
- Being far too proud to be an American
- Trouble in the trailer park
- Teenage daughter looked “hot to trot” that night
- The average rodeo’s new policy of “No Teeth, No High School Diploma, No Service”
- Can’t find the arena a second time
- Jeff Foxworthy stand-up specials
- Something to do with PETA
That pretty much sums it up. Nonscientific reasoning can explain everything. Just ask a Creationist.
Rodeos nationwide holding tight during economic recession [SI.com/AP]