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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Online Exclusive: Tucson Rodeo draws crowd from around the nation and the globe

Stew McClintic / Arizona Daily Wildcat Contestants participate in team cattle roping at Tucson Rodeo Grounds, one of the many events seen in the Tucson Rodeo on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012.

Students, families and individuals from all over the country attended the 87th annual Tucson Rodeo, which ended on Sunday.

The rodeo is a nonprofit organization that called for hundreds of volunteers and workers from various organizations, said Debbie Barnett, the vice chairman of the event and head chairman of budget and finance committee for the rodeo. Clubs from the UA and the Tucson community were able to volunteer at the rodeo and earn money to put toward their clubs, she said.

“We like to give back to the community as much as we possibly can,” Barnett said.

Through ticket sales alone, Barnett said, the rodeo generally raises about $600,000 per year. Very little of this money goes back toward the rodeo, she said. Although the committee needs to cover the costs of actually putting on the event, she said, much of the money is poured back into the community through clubs, athletic teams or other various charities in the Tucson community.

Bill Schurg, committee chairman of the rodeo and a professor in
veterinary and animal sciences, said about $200,000 per year goes to these clubs and organizations. In the past five years, he said,
$24,000 has gone toward the Tucson Rodeo Community Incorporated Endowment Scholarship, which benefits any UA student involved with the rodeo. Schurg said that students can receive this scholarship without being a part of the UA’s Rodeo Club.

Schurg, who said he has been going to rodeos throughout his life, said he came to Tucson in the ’70s and started to get involved in the rodeo. He said he started as a volunteer and worked his way up to become chairman of the entire event. Each year, he said, the rodeo calls for more than 700 volunteers to help run the event, which is why it has the money to donate to community causes.

Christina Barnum, a sophomore studying nursing and public health, said she’s been to other rodeos before that were much larger, but enjoyed the fact that she was able to attend and watch.

“I enjoyed the rodeo because of the great food, the hot cowboys and the awesome bull riding,” she said. “It (the bull riding) was intriguing and suspenseful.”

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