For many years, the American Royal Rodeo has been one of the biggest and best events in the Midwest.
As one of the last big events of the season for decades, it was a must-stop for the best cowboys and cowgirls in the game. If they were on the bubble for qualifying for the NFR, they were in a race to finish the rodeo season among the top 15 in the world standings.
I don’t have the statistics to show how many times someone used earnings from the American Royal to squeak into the finals, but I know the numbers are quite high. Oftentimes it came down to the final run of the short go-round to decide the fates of several competitors.
Over the last few years, I’ve seen fewer people supporting this great, traditional rodeo. The largest crowd this past October was about 10,000, and the Reba McEntire concert was a major drawing card. What many of those empty seats saw was great rodeo action, featuring outstanding animal athletes and the very best contestants ProRodeo offers.
I firmly believe part of the reason for the lackluster attendance has been lack of media coverage. Of course, this is my business, but I know very well what media coverage can do for the success of an event, especially in a market like Kansas City.
A good example is that over the last few years, the only significant coverage came in The Star, with a small advance story and daily “game” stories. But when another writer from The Star published a story in Monday’s publication about the rodeo moving back to the West Bottoms, it was picked up by several other news agencies.
It’s the most coverage the American Royal Rodeo has received in several years, and it didn’t involve one bit of action.
There are so many awesome storylines that come to town with the rodeo, and the media outlets are not presenting them to the readers, viewers or listeners. They should. Maybe we just need to help them.