Waller County Fair and Rodeo offers incentives for rodeo contestants
HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The one thing contestants have come to learn about the Waller County Fair and Rodeo is that there are plenty of incentives to compete.
“This is a really good rodeo with good money,” said Lane Ivy, a National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Dublin, Texas, who won the rodeo’s team roping title two years ago with heeler Buddy Hawkins.
Money isn’t the only fixture in Hempstead drawing contestants, but it’s a big part of it. The Waller County Fair Association features $5,000 in a local purse for each event, which is then added in with the entry fees to make up the total purse. This provides a great opportunity to make good money to kick off the new season.
ProRodeo’s 2019 regular season will end Sept. 30, and Hempstead will be home to the first rodeo of the 2020 season when it takes place Oct. 3-5. Local organizers will provide winners in each event a Ruger 270 deer rifle, while the all-around champ will win a 4-12x50mm Fire Dot Leupold Scope.
“We’ve got some really great sponsors who want to be part of our fair and rodeo, so we’re able to come up with some great prizes that the cowboys might not see at other rodeos,” said Clint Sciba, co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “We want as many contestants as possible to come make a run at our money and our prizes, because this adds to the show we put on for our community.
“We have also joined the CINCH Rodeo Series, which will donate $250 per event on behalf of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo to the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo.”
A key ingredient is the rodeo’s relationship with its livestock producer, Dallas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, which has been nominated for the PRCA’s Stock Contractor of the Year each of the past six years.
The Carr firm has had as many as 27 animals selected to the NFR and continues to take several animals to ProRodeo’s grand finale every year.
In fact, several of the animals will perform in Hempstead in October before they venture off to the NFR in Las Vegas. It’s a good opportunity for regular NFR qualifiers to test their talents on great bucking animals before showcasing their abilities for the biggest prize money in the game in December.
“This is a great rodeo; I love Waller County,” said Jacobs Crawley, the 2015 world champion saddle bronc rider from Boerne, Texas. “It’s got a good turn-out, and they’re trying to make it a better event every year. I’m just a fan.
“If the environment’s right, it makes you want it that much more, and that environment is right here. You have a great dance, a great hospitality, and Pete Carr brings great bucking horses.”
The hospitality includes a VIP Contestant Tent, which offers a bit of an escape from the elements while cowboys, cowgirls, and their families relax with a nice meal before, during or after the rodeo. Organizers have set up hot meals to provide the comforts of home.
For contestants who travel the rodeo circuit full time, efforts like these are always appreciated.
“We want to do more for the contestants each year, because each of them is a vital part to what happens during our fair and rodeo,” Sciba said. “This rodeo is an important part of our fair every year, and we want to show everyone why.”