Taylor’s 70th annual Rodeo is coming up this month, and the events are expected to be bigger than years past July 19-20.
“We’ve been going all out for advertisements this year and we’re getting a bigger band,” President of the Rodeo Association Grady Kunze said about how they will celebrate the anniversary.
Another new aspect to the rodeo is the fact that visitors can pay for tickets online, which started last year. Kunze said it got a great response.
“[Selling tickets online] went really well for the first year of doing it,” he said. “We expect for it to get better this year and better every year.”
Doing things internet-based is one of the changes that the Rodeo Association would like to implement with their programming. Although it was hard for some to get used to, Kunze said things have changed with the times.
“We’ve gotten more technically advanced, and we’ve been running things more online,” he said. “It was hard for us at first. Everybody’s kind of set in their ways, but as times are changing, we are changing as well.”
In the future, the Rodeo Association would like to push for bigger acts and bands. Their plan is to draw in bigger shows in order to get bigger crowds, which will stimulate revenue. One way Kunze plans to do that is by putting more money behind competition prizes to entice more people to participate.
“We’re hoping to put $15,000 behind competitions this year,” he said. “Every year there’s [a certain amount of money] that’s put behind prizes, and we hope to do that during every event [of the rodeo] so that cowboys and cowgirls will see a magazine and see how much money can be made, so we can get more people to compete.”
For all adult competition prizes, winners receive a percentage of money and a buckle for first, second or third place.
A new edition to the activities is an additional slot for the children’s mutton bustin’ competition, which allows kids less than 60 pounds to ride sheep. This is considered the child version of bull riding, and the winners get a gift card for Allen’s Boots in Round Rock. Kunze said the extra slot is to give more children the opportunity to compete in the event.
“We usually only have Friday and Saturday night for mutton bustin,’ where 10-12 kids are allowed to ride,” he said. “This year, we’re doing a special at 6 p.m., where we can put in more kids who want to ride.”
Children wanting to compete are advised to come early.
In addition to giving individuals the opportunity to showcase their skills, the rodeo also gives money to schools in Thrall, Granger and Hutto for 4-H and FFA programs. They also give money to local charities that benefit hospitals and American Legion events, like the Fourth of July. Kunze said this is the most rewarding part of his job.