DODGE CITY, Kan. – While it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community and more to put on the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.
“There’s no possible way this event goes on without the number of volunteers and the great support we get from this community,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual event. “Much of everything that happens with our rodeo is because of the volunteers who devote their time and energy to its success.”
They’re all working for a spectacular week of rodeo starting with an evening of Xtreme Bulls on Tuesday, July 28, and five performances of Roundup from Wednesday, July 29-Sunday, Aug. 2; all performances begin at 7:45 p.m. at Roundup Arena.
The work by the volunteers is a key reason why Dodge City’s rodeo was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2012. In fact, only office manager Elaine Gall and a handful of ticket-window staff members are the only paid employees.
All the rest of the work that goes into making Roundup a successful venture is done community members who hold full-time jobs and who devote their spare time.
“We work year-round,” Trotter said. “From working with our dedicated sponsors to getting the arena set up, it takes a lot of man-hours every year to set everything up so the fans can experience our rodeo.
“Roundup was established years ago as a community event, and it takes place during Dodge City Days. We get fans from all over the state and from all over the country who come to our rodeo ever year, and we want them to have a great experience year after year.”
From the ticket-takers at the front game to the person who sold the hamburgers at the concessions stand, virtually every ounce of labor is one of love by people who care about Roundup.
“If you buy a Pepsi or a beer, a volunteer has served you,” he said. “All the behind-the-scenes things that happen are done primarily by people who donate their time.
“When it comes to our rodeo, we have the top professional cowboys and cowgirls in the world who come to Dodge City. I credit the people of this community who make it happen.”
That includes the local businesses that support the event financially. In rodeo, cowboys and cowgirls compete in order to make a living. In addition to paying bills, dollars earned also count as championship points – the contestants in each event who earn the most money at season’s end are crowned world champions.
Roundup offers local incentives of more than $160,000. That, combined with contestants’ entry fees, makes up one of the largest purses in ProRodeo; through the years, it has remained one of the top 25 events in the country.
“We get support from more than 100 businesses, nearly all of which are local,” Gall said. “I think it says a lot about how those businesses understand the type of event our rodeo is to this community. We’re very blessed by the local support we get.”