San Angelo Gears Up for Stock Show and Rodeo

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by Chelsea Schmid

Jan 3, 2014

Justin Jonas speaks about the upcoming rodeo. (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)
Justin Jonas speaks about the upcoming rodeo. (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)
Fred Hernandez tells of new additions to the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)
Fred Hernandez tells of new additions to the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)
Tom Thomson speaks about the upcoming rodeo. (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)
Tom Thomson speaks about the upcoming rodeo. (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)
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In Brief: 
  • The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo runs Feb. 14-March 2
  • The SASSR is starting earlier and adding more performances this year
  • The purse is also bigger than ever
  • The world's top 50 cowboys will compete in multiple performances
  • Anyone holding a PRCA card may compete
  • The Cinch Shootout has confirmation from many of the world's top cowboys and a waiting list has formed for participation
  • Women's barrel racing is also scheduled
  • San Angelo won an award for the best turf in Texas

There are only 42 days remaining until San Angelo fills with trailers, cowboys, livestock and other rodeo hangers-on. The organizers of the annual event, scheduled to run from Feb. 14-March 2, held a press conference on Friday to discuss changes made to the event this year, which promises to be the biggest rodeo San Angelo has seen yet.

“What we’re doing here at this stock show and rodeo are some major steps that would terrify a lot of other rodeos,” Justin Jonas, an organizer for the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo (SASSR) said at the press conference. “Those are, adding performances and starting a lot earlier.”

The SASSR this year will be packed full of “first times” and “biggest evers”, with a program stuffed with events, participants, livestock and auxiliary activities. One of the most highly anticipated features this year, organizers say, will be the number of rodeo circuit celebrities performing in multiple events.

“We’re going to have—for the first time ever, guaranteed—the 50 top contestants in the world are going to be competing, not only once in a rodeo performance, but twice, and possibly a third time if they make it to finals,” Jonas said.

Top contenders in the calf roping, team roping and bulldogging events will be involved in performances as well, Hernandez explained.

“We feel like that will elevate the quality of the contestants in those three events primarily,” Hernandez said. “The guys that you see at the NFR, they’ll be here and you’ll get to see their performances twice, so that will also be exciting for our spectators,” he continued.

Unique to San Angelo and a small number of other rodeos, all cowboys holding a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) card or permit will be allowed to participate. While the top 50 have been slated for multiple performances, those outside that range will compete in the slack and will be given two opportunities to prove their mettle, with the average of the best of those two opportunities qualifying or disqualifying them from finals.

“So you can have a PRCA Card, and you can go into our slack, end up in our finals and win our rodeo,” Jonas said.

This year, the incentive to win has also increased, as the rodeo puts up the largest purse in SASSR history. Having seen an influx in sponsorship monies, the PRCA purse alone will see an additional $160,000 over years passed.

“We’re adding more money than we’ve ever added before,” Fred Hernandez, an organizer of the SASSR said. “In fact, we’re going to set a record this year by far.”

But the prize isn’t just limited to the PRCA events. This year, the Cinch Shootout will increase it’s purse from last year’s $60,000 up to $100,000 in March 2014.

“March 1 is our Cinch Shootout,” Hernandez said. “This is our third shootout, and it’s one of the premiere events that you’ll see in rodeo anywhere. It’s about as close to having an NFR (National Finals Rodeo) experience here in San Angelo as you can get anywhere.”

The shootout was implemented at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo a few years back, and eight of the world’s best compete for the highest score. The top ranking four then compete again that night for a chance to become champion.

“We have the best horses in the world and the best cowboys in the world,” Jonas said. “Actually the top four…whoever’s in the lead, we do videos of the best four horses, and he gets to pick his horse he gets to ride.”

Numerous world champions have already confirmed their participation in the event, which has proven so popular that a waiting list of those wishing to participate has already formed.

But the rodeo isn’t only a men’s game. As with year’s past, the SASSR will also feature women’s barrel racing this year, one of the largest in the in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA), the women’s version of the PRCA. Two hundred fifty women will show up for the event, and “we will have a slack with those girls on Feb. 10, it will be in the Spur Arena, and 120 of those girls will be competing during the performances,” Hernandez said.

Last year, the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Association won the Good Footing Award from the WPRA, which is a formal recognition of the quality of the turf on which the women perform. San Angelo was recognized as having the number one turf out of all arenas in Texas.

“We’ve worked hard to do that,” Hernandez said. “We’ve worked hard to get the dirt in the Spur to be just right, and then also in the coliseum.”

The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo will run from Feb. 14-March 2, and will feature 12 performances. Also scheduled are innumerable livestock events, children’s activities, a carnival and a parade.

Tickets go on sale on Jan. 6, and performance schedule and ticketing outlets may be found here