1,000 volunteers critical to success of Reno Rodeo operations

6-24-22
Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 1:08 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “99% of the work is done by anyone who wants to dedicate their time, effort, and resources to the Reno Rodeo. That’s how it’s done.”

Mark Sutton, the Reno Rodeo’s director of the manpower committee, knows how critical volunteers are to the success of the annual event.

The Reno Rodeo staff consists of just five full-time employees.

“We’re busy 24 hours a day 365 days a year because we have over 1,000 volunteers, probably 850 or so are active,” said Sutton.

58 to 64 committees make up the Reno Rodeo staff any given year. Those committees carry a set of responsibilities. There are 95 new volunteers this year.

It’s always a challenge for Sutton to bring familiar faces back. Some have been around 40-plus years. Parking, admissions, stall tenants, medical, security, and bartending are just some of the areas rodeo fans will find a volunteer.

The rodeo’s 2015 president, Larry Stacy, sleeps on the grounds to help coordinate tent and rental equipment setup, as well as talk to contractors who need to know where to go. The passion he and others have for the rodeo has led to its increased popularity.

“When we decided to build two new grandstands and it went to a ten-day show I said ‘we’ll never fill this up.’ Within two years we were having pretty good crowds. That’s a tribute to the community.”

General manager George Combs recognizes the rodeo is what it is in-part because of the efforts of volunteers.

“It’s the biggest event in Reno. To see the people come out and support it and be happy...it just makes it gratifying to me to be able to please people.”

With facility expansion plans in the works, and the sport’s growing popularity, volunteers should play an even bigger role in years to come.

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