So You Wanna Run a RODEO, huh?
The best show on dirt.
A WILD ride and the TOUGHEST 8 second road to GLORY.
Who wouldn't want to run a rodeo for their next fundraiser??
And as they say, if you build it... They will come... Right? Well, not quite!
Here is a basic road map to running your first rodeo, to help you avoid the rookie mistakes, and create a SUCCESSFUL, ongoing fundraising event for your club!
Successful rodeos all have a few key elements in common:
Good Planning, and most often neglected: INTENSE MARKETING!
Successful, ANNUAL rodeos, have an additional element:
Spectator and Sponsor FOLLOW UP!
If you can get your PLANNING, MARKETING and FOLLOW UP all working together, you will have yourself a mighty impressive fundraiser for your community!
GET THESE RIGHT, AND REAP THE REWARDS!
Ok... So lets look at each of these items in a little more detail:
You have the all important idea. Presumably you've attended rodeos, and have seen action packed arena, and the positive community interaction.
You are hyped.
You are keen..
But now what...?
Community interest - how big is your community?
Will people attend outdoor events?
What's your community demographic?
Community foundation - how will running your rodeo benefit the local community??
Local cfa, football/netball club, proceeds to given charity.
Location - do you have a suitable location??
Footy ovals, Rec reserves etc etc etc. particularly effective if they are situated nearby to a local watering hole.
Building Your Committee - ideally include people who are *local personalities, *have some marketing experience, *community minded, *have some contacts in council
AVOID known pains in the arse unless they bring something to the committee that absolutely NO ONE else can provide (Seriously you guys... this is one of the biggest pit falls for ongoing events!)
Permits - start early obtaining permits from council. If there are other rodeos within the greater municipality boundary, know about them and potentially use them as a precedent.
Community Interest: How big is your community? Will people attend outdoor events? What's your community demographic?
Community Foundation: How will running your rodeo benefit the local community?? Local cfa, footy/netball club, proceeds to given charity.
Location: Do you have a suitable location?? Footy ovals, Rec reserves etc etc etc. particularly effective if they are situated nearby to a local watering hole.
Date set: Whats your ideal date, and is your livestock contractor available?
Sponsorships and Strategic Partnerships: Make a list of all the potential financial backers. Eg Stockfeed stores, pubs/taverns, bottle shops, local builders/hardware stores, butchers, earth movers, plant hire, ag suppliers, equine/tack stores etc No business is too big or too small....
What are you offering sponsors in return for their investment? Make sure your level of exposure for the sponsor meets expectation according to their contribution. You want them to feel they have received good value for money to ensure they provide ongoing support for future rodeos. Now how will you package up and present your offer to assure potential investors see the professionalism.
Outlay Costs: Livestock contractor, insurance, seating (hay bales?), marketing, lighting, PA, entertainment, security guards, bins/waste disposal, rider prize monies, toilets, food outlay, drinks outlay. Total?? Work out where the gaps are between potential sponsors for outlay costs and requirements.. (Local plant hire may donate lighting generators etc, local Stockfeed may donate large square bales for seating etc) then FILL IN THE GAPS! Now you have a basis for a rodeo!!!
6 months out - Marketing Set Up: Generate a social media presence: FACEBOOK PAGE, and a basic website.(The more social media coverage you have the better you can provide exposure to your rodeo, but also value to your sponsors).
~ Invite all friends and family of committee members, local clubs etc to like page.
~ VERY IMPORTANT! Share pages on local Facebook noticeboards, buy swap sell sites etc.
~ Set up a FACEBOOK EVENT for rodeo date, then begin a count down..
~ Drip feed - At first you want to drip feed content and info. Once a fortnight just to generate interest.
Peripheral events: What can you do to encourage locals to participate in the rodeo and throw their support behind it? Locals barrel race? Locals bull ride? Miss Rodeo comp? Flash utes comp? Get special guests to judge (sponsors, Australian Rodeo Queen representative etc)
Develop rodeo flyer: This MUST be flashy, bright, bold and have good written copy.
Pleeeeease, do yourself a favour and get someone with graphic design background to create this,
as its presentation sets the tone for the professionalism of the whole event.
You may like to have a basic version to generate interest, and a second final version which includes all final details, sponsors to be shared closer to the date etc. Flyers will be required in both hard copy print outs, and additionally in digital format to share on Facebook
If you chose to run a Rodeo Queen comp, then the Miss Rodeo Queen entrants can be partially judged on how much they promote the events, and if they generate more sponsors etc...
Piggy Back Marketing: Utilizing sponsoring business Facebook pages. Get them to share your posts about the rodeo to increase their exposure from their investment.
3 months out from event - Increase Marketing: Run Facebook competitions, win free family or double pass to rodeo by liking, sharing and inviting friends to Facebook event.
These competitions should be bumped/re advertised weekly for 6 - 8 weeks.
2 months prior to event - Local Newspapers: Arrange local newspaper to print your event flyer. Perhaps write your own press release of the event, and submit to newspaper, ready for publish the week before the rodeo. Invite newspaper representative to attend event. Assist by arranging an interview with any local cowboy/cowgirl who is competing.
This also allows you to sneak in some sponsorship shout outs.
6 weeks before - Flyers: Put up A3 versions of flyers in ALL local stores 4 weeks out from date.
3 weeks out - Facebook Countdown: Begin Facebook countdown to event Share regular updates. Photos, flyers, competitor interviews, Miss Rodeo Queen entrant profiles, entertainment announcements, special guest judges announcements etc. These should be occurring twice a week.
1 week before and the day before rodeo!! - Repost your event flyer to ALL local social media community pages for your suburb and surrounding suburbs. Let the event run! Enjoy your night.
Confirm food/beverage orders. (Don't forget catering for your VIP tent)
Ensure you have all positions filled - set up crew, gate money takers/wrist bands, competitor entries, bar staff, food staff, merchandise sales, parking attendants, VIP tent attendants, crowd photographers/promo people, next day clean up crew!
Invite carnis to attend. Any market stalls or carnival rides pay to the committee a site fee. This is around $200 to local stalls and around $500 for carnival rides. If you invite food vans this site fee may be slightly higher, however remember that a large portion of funds raised from the rodeo will come from the sales of food and beverages, so there should be a committee group member running the food and drinks (ie - rodeo club members may work the bbqs etc)
Inform local police department and invite them to do walk throughout during the event and after rodeo entertainment.
Make sure you have contact with local bottle shops to replenish stocks in case your bar runs out...
Just because your event is over, doesn't mean your work is!!
To ensure your event can run again successfully in future years, there are still a few things you need to do.
Make sure you upload plenty of crowd photos and action photos to the Facebook page (there's a reason why nightclubs do this - people love to see themselves on other peoples Facebook pages!)
Run a survey monkey basic survey to get feedback on what spectators loved and/or hated about the event. This is the basis for improvements. Sponsors should also receive a feedback form to assess if they felt they received value for money, etc etc. Any negative feedback is gold as it tells you what you need to address to keep your sponsors happy.
Follow up thank you to sponsors. This should occur on Facebook page again (to ensure they get extra promotion for their business), and also as a certificate of support for them to hang in their shop/place of business. There should be delivered with a thank you letter letting them know that with their support, the community event was a success.
Post appreciation comments on the businesses Facebook pages. - It is VERY important to make sure you have this continued follow up with your sponsors. If sponsors feel like you only speak to them when you want money out of them, they will very quickly stop supporting your event.
This will result in you exhausting sponsorship support within a year or two of running your event, and you will struggle to continue.
Send thank yous out to supporting groups/community members (council representatives, local police, football/netball club and CfA volunteers etc. Anyone who helped!
Debrief committee. What went well? What didn't? What is your feedback telling you?
Start planning for next years bigger and better rodeo!!
Planning. Developing. MARKETING. Actioning. Follow up