For years, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has sought as much media coverage as possible, especially for its marquee event, the National Finals Rodeo.
The better the coverage, the better the exposure; growth can easily follow, especially in this digital age. The staff-shortened PRCA media department has always worked above and beyond to provide all it could to as many media outlets as possible.
PRCA CEO George Taylor has preached the need to expand exposure of the brand, and there’s no better partner to help with that than the media. While the media staff continues to push for expanded coverage and assisting media outlets as much as possible given limitations, their bosses are doing all they can to cinch their saddles so tight they can’t budge.
The NFR is ProRodeo’s Super Bowl, World Series and NBA Finals wrapped up in a 10-day affair with a $10 million purse. This is the greatest in the game for the given year, all battling for those Montana Silvermiths gold buckles. But like a hot knife through butter, Steve Rempelos is doing his very best to push all coverage away from the sport.
Is he trying to sabotage Taylor’s message?
Rempelos is the chief marketing officer for the PRCA, and he answers to just two entities: Taylor and the PRCA board. That king-of-the-hill type title seems to be wielding great power, though.
Under Rempelos’ guidance, there were a record number of denied media credential requests. But the cuts didn’t stop there. For the first time since 1999, the PRCA didn’t present a Media Award for Excellence in Print Journalism.
Also for the first time in five years, the PRCA-carded photographers that were named the “official” NFR shooters were not given the appropriate buckles to recognize their accomplishments. Timers, pickup men, secretaries and every other person selected to work this great championship has that 2018 buckle.
As far as the limited media members trying to cover the NFR, the facilities inside the UNLV basketball practice room inside the Thomas & Mack Center is much the same. The access, though, was more convoluted and difficult. That began to change through the 10 days of the championship, thanks to the PRCA media department.
Media members are paid sparingly for their work. Stringers work anywhere from $50-$150 per story, and the pay for full-time members isn’t much better. The costs of travel, a room and meals in Las Vegas isn’t cheap, and the PRCA media department has understood that for years. That’s why a solid meal with all the food groups was made available for the people here to document the goings-on with ProRodeo’s premier event.
But Rempelos has added another cut to the mix. Instead of a meal, the media room features an array of finger foods. Chicken wings and chips are perfect snacks for a Super Bowl party. A lunch meat tray works great for the company picnic.
It’s not the biggest issue facing Rempelos and the PRCA, but he’s proving that he could not care any less for the media members who are doing their very best to cover his game. It’s unfortunate, and it needs to change.
Here’s hoping the new CEO understands better than one of his chief lieutenants.