DODGE CITY, Kan. – Her title is office manager, but Elaine Gall is more of a jack-of-all-trades for the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.
Gall is Roundup’s only full-time employee, and since the gates closed on the 2020 edition of Dodge City’s biggest annual event, she’s been busy as part of the organizing and planning group that is focused on this year’s rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4-Sunday, Aug. 8, at Roundup Arena; Dodge City Xtreme Bulls is set for 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3.
“This job is more hectic during the rodeo, but that’s because everything seems to be happening all at once,” said Gall, who is celebrating her 10th Roundup Rodeo this year. “Before we get to this point in the year, I will have contacted every one of our sponsors and personally visited and reconfirm their commitment with us. I deliver all the sponsorships and handle all the prep work necessary so the week of our rodeo runs as smoothly as possible.”
That’s for her sake, but it also is part of her helping the dozens of volunteers that make Roundup happen every year.
There are many things that go into making an event the size of Dodge City’s rodeo work every year, and it’s a combination of people working together to make it happen. From volunteers to sponsors to contractors to contestants, it all must mesh together. Most of the work that’s done is never seen by the spectators that arrive at the arena to be entertained for a couple of hours a night.
“I don’t think many people understand what goes on behind the scenes, and that’s OK,” Gall said. “The real magic happens where nobody sees it, but that makes what happens in front of the audience that much better for everyone.”
While she is the only full-time employee, she is the supervisor for the part-time workers that help with consumer needs and selling tickets.
Another aspect of the rodeo that goes unnoticed is within the food and drink distribution. The Dodge City Area Women’s Chamber of Commerce handles concessions, but all the money is returned to Roundup be distributed to various charities the volunteer group supports.
“I think one of the neat things we do is after the rodeo, we provide free hospitality with food and drinks for the contestants and our volunteers,” she said. “I know some events start feeding before their rodeos start, but this goes back further than I do, and the reason we wait until after is we want to feed our volunteers as well.
“Our volunteers don’t have time before the rodeo to really sit down, relax and eat, so this gives them the time to do that and mingle with our VIPs, sponsors and contestants. I think it’s good for everyone that way.”
Everything that happens inside Roundup Arena is part of a community event that benefits all of southwest Kansas, and everyone associated with the rodeo understands how it all works cohesively.
“Elaine handles so many things for us that it takes a lot of pressure off our directors,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, the committee’s president. “She is an integral part of our rodeo year after year.”