I remember it well, that fateful day when my boss told me I was covering the Reno Rodeo.
I admit that I didn't exactly embrace it with a great deal of enthusiasm, which is usually the case when I have to cover something that I know nothing about. I'm the same way when a newspaper introduces me to a new computer system. It always seem like I had finally just gotten the previous system down.
Three years later, I eagerly look forward to the rodeo each year. I mean, how often do you get to cover an athletic event when the participants call you "sir." The first time I heard that, I started looking around to see if my father was nearby. I have found the cowboys and clowns to be friendly, and always willing to give you a few minutes of their time.
While I enjoy my nine or 10 days at the rodeo each year, I've also found that there are a lot of things that could be better, and it starts with PRCA.
From what I've been able to gather, the PRCA does zero promotion of its competitors, and that's a shame when you consider how many great stories are out there. You would think that the group might want to chat up local papers when the rodeo is coming to town or have them in commercials nationally. Personally, I think with the right promotion, rodeo could be bigger than it is. Rodeo has something for everybody - young and old alike.
I think that if rodeo attempted to go to some bigger cities, you could see the sport soar in popularity. The sport needs to be exposed to different people and different areas if it expects to grow. Right now, rodeo has a small-town image, and that won't change until the people running the sport do.
What's frustrating about covering the rodeo is that other than the saddle bronc riders, bareback riders and bull riders, it can be difficult to track down the competitors for port-ride interviews. In the non roughstock events, competitors often times don't wear their numbers, so if you don't recognize their faces, you are out of luck. And, in the case of the barrel racers, they ride back through the chute and that's the last you see of them.
That is where I think the PRCA could do a better job. At any pro or college athletic venue, you have a PR person there asking who you want to talk to. That's not the case here. In my opinion, the PRCA people should ask at the end of each event who you want to chat with and arrange a place for an interview.
The communication between the scorers, the PRCA media and the Reno Rodeo PR person leaves a bit to be desired. I can't tell you how many times that a score has been changed, and the media hasn't found out about it until a day or two later. Trust me folks, that's not a good thing. We're striving for accuracy here, and that's hard to have if you aren't informed of changes. If there is a scoring change in baseball, nine times out of 10 you find out about it before you leave the ballpark that night. It's the same with football. If there is a statistical change, you know about it that night before deadline.
It wouldn't take a lot, just better communication.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281