SAN ANGELO, TX — For the 2020 San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, San Angelo businesses broke a new record for money raised at the Premium Sale. One Million Dollars is a major milestone.
In 2019, the auction held on the last day of the San Angelo stock show in the Gandy Ink Pavilion, hauled in a record-breaking $950,000. And that was over $150,000 more than 2018’s $800,000.
San Angelo businesses like Jim Bass Cars & Trucks, First Community Federal Credit Union, H-E-B, First Financial Bank’s San Angelo branch, Armstrong Backus, Marty Self and Automatic Fire Protection, and Twin Mountain Fence —and I know I’ve missed many — have for years pooled their money together and purchased the top eight — The Grand Champion Steer, Market Lamb, Barrow, Reserve Grand Champion Steer, Reserve Champion Market Goat and Lamb.
The money is paid in its entirety to the youth competing in the annual San Angelo Stock Show. For about a year, these students raise a farm animal as a project and then show the animal in one of about 100 competitions during the two-and-a-half weeks of the show.
At the Premium Sale held on the last day of the stock show, each animal is auctioned to the highest bidder. The money each student earns from the sale of their animal can go into the next year’s animal raising project or their college fund.
Winning cash in the auction makes the San Angelo Stock Show a big deal.
This year, to help raise the bar in the amount of money spent at auction, a newer, younger group of business men and women has emerged. They call themselves “The Syndicate.”
Local businessman John Hudson explained the purpose of The Syndicate in the video above.
The organizers of The Syndicate saw an opportunity. That is, to provide seed capital to contestants who aren’t placing in the marquee spots— Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions. Instead, they gave cash to kids just starting out or who didn’t have venture capital available to purchase award-winning bloodlines to win a livestock show. Who knows? This kind of support may create the next Grand Champion Steer.
The explosion of new money The Syndicate promises to bring to the premium sale will help San Angelo’s tourism industry. Most of the hotels here aren’t filled with the performers or those attending the 12 performances of the rodeo inside the arena. Those hotel rooms are filled with parents and their kids who brought their livestock here to compete in the livestock show.
The San Angelo Conventions and Tourism Bureau estimates that every tourist arriving here is worth about $380. Tourism in San Angelo is big business — over $221 million annually in direct travel spending. This impacts local hotels here with $22 million annually and provides 3200 travel and tourism jobs. These are jobs like that guy or gal running the check-in counter at the local hotel, or the waiter at a local restaurant.
And that helps San Angelo entrepreneurs like Jack Graves and John Hudson.
Chairman of the Premium Sale Mike Boyd praised The Syndicate from the auction stand during the sale Saturday. Jack Graves said after he did, more money was donated, most of it anonymously.
Last year, The Syndicate spent $12,000. This year, the group raised and spent over $70,000.
After the sale, Boyd said these kinds of efforts by selfless volunteers are why the Premium Sale has experienced meteoric increases in the amount spent on the livestock show’s contestants each year.
As of Sunday, Boyd said the tally was $1,010,000. After the add-on money comes in over the next couple of weeks from relatives and family friends of the contestants, the final number will be somewhat higher, Boyd explained.
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