CLAREMORE, Okla. – Dawn and David Petty weren’t really that interested in getting into the rodeo scoreboard business.
“Originally we got into it because we were trying to get a scoreboard for the Will Rogers Stampede,” said Dawn Petty, a third-generation member of the volunteer committee that produces the Claremore rodeo. “It just turned into David jumping in and buying one, and with our understanding as a rodeo committee, the need to have this and at an affordable rate, we found our way into the scoreboard business.”
“We know how difficult it is to come up with the sponsorship money to put on the rodeo year after year, but we also think having a scoreboard is necessary in this day and age. We’re able to offer our services to other rodeo committees at a reasonable price.”
But the payoff comes every Memorial Day weekend when the Pettys join other volunteers in producing one of the biggest events to hit Rogers County each year – David is the rodeo’s chairman, and Dawn is the scoreboard operator .
This year the Pettys are providing another dimension to fans that are itching for more visual input from an already outstanding show – a giant video board, which will be put on display during each of the three performance set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 27-Sunday, May, 29.
“We have a complete timing system and two professional video cameras,” David Petty said. “This is about more than rodeo, but rodeo is the backbone of what we do. The video gives fans instant replays and clips, and it gives sponsors a way to send their message with commercials. It’s something you want to see.”
Combined with the action of the Will Rogers Stampede, there’s a lot packed into a weekend of rodeo.
“Working this rodeo means the world to me,” Dawn Petty said. “Claremore is my hometown, and both sides of my family were born and raised in Rogers County. For David and I to be on the road as much as we are, we count on our family a lot. I love that we can have the video board here for our family and friends to see. I think when they see it at this year’s rodeo, they’re really going to love it.”
The Pettys have had an LED board for several years, and for 2011, they upgraded to the video board. They still provide the LED board for those rodeos that wish to use it, but they expanded to the video screen in an effort to compete in a tough market. It also allows the Pettys to team with local businesses to have a family movie night.
“We can show a highlight reel of what had happened previously, and if a committee wants to show highlight clips from other special events they do, we’re able to help with that,” Dawn Petty said. “There’s a lot to learn with a new video board because it can just do so much more, and we can also provide our committees a lot more with video and instant replay.”
The Pettys work about 24 rodeos a year, including the Will Rogers Stampede, where both are heavily involved in the production of the annual event. They do it because they love the sport, something each has been associated with almost all of their lives.
“It’s year-round, and we enjoy it,” she said. “We love the people. It’s like a giant extended family everywhere you go.”
That family is growing, and so is its fan base. Rodeo’s quality family fun has existed for years, but the Pettys are tapping into ways to improve on the overall entertainment value with the video board.
“The board brings so much more to the rodeo,” Dawn Petty said. “It’s great for the people who aren’t everyday rodeo people, who might not know all the stars in our game. The scoreboard is able to connect the fans with the contestants when they can look at that profile and learn more about that athlete and watch the replay of the great animal athletes as well, it just helps put folks on the edge of their seats”