By Will McClure
Every year, the members of the Texas Cowboy Reunion board work to make each and every Texas Cowboy Reunion the best that it can be, with the members logging many years of experience as new ideas and traditions are made with the annual event. Now, the board itself has undergone a recent change with the stepping down of long-time board members Jim West and Ray Kinney. After many years of guidance and dedication to the annual event, West and Kinney decided that it was time to step aside, but that did not mean that they would be completely finished with the board as new members and directors Matt Mueller and Kevin McCright announced the formation of the Honorary TCR Board in which West and Kinney would be its first members and will add new members when a board member chooses to retire. New director Matt Mueller, who is beginning his first year on the board after many years of helping with the event, said that although West and Kinney would no longer be actively serving on the board, their many years of service and appreciation for all of their hard work needed to be honored in this manner as well as allow them to continue to share their knowledge with the board. Even though they would not have any direct voting power any longer, the advice and guidance they can continue to give will be an invaluable asset to the board now and in the future.
With the new members in place after the new election, the newly reformed board began to plan ahead for the future, planning for around $25,000 in improvements over the next year in time for the next Texas Cowboy Reunion. Changes and improvements had already begun at this year's event which included a new hospitality tent for the competitors. An idea of and helped run by Dennis Braden, the hospitality tent proved to be a big hit with the contestants as they would be taken care of over the four days, with the board receiving many compliments in helping make sure that the contestants were relaxed and happy. This, along with some other improvements, allowed the rodeo to receive the Most Improved Rodeo Award for 2016 from the United Professional Rodeo Association, which was voted on by the rodeo contestants themselves. Mueller said that it was a distinct honor to be recognized in such a manner as the board is looking to continue improving year after year.
When asked what some of the plans were for these new improvements, Mueller said that a few of the ideas in place include fixing and modernizing the bucking chutes in the arena, bringing them up to date to what the contestants are becoming used to seeing. In addition, Mueller said that the board would like to see the addition of a large video screen to the arena which will serve two purposes. It will allow replays of good rides by contestants as well as serve as a good advertising tool for businesses as their advertising can be seen on a larger scale. One other idea in place is the addition of a finals board that will display competitor times, allowing the contestants and spectators to know what it will take to win the prize money.
While there may be other improvements in the future, Mueller said that those were the main ideas being discussed at this time, with more ideas possibly coming along in the future. With the need to plan and organize, the board will begin looking at meeting on a monthly basis instead of yearly in order to keep ideas moving along and not have to retread later or rush to completion. Once the board is able to get everything organized, they would consider moving to a bi-monthly basis once things are running smoothly. With many ideas in place, the board is looking to continue raising funds to help contribute to new improvements for the TCR. While the board puts in a lot of time and effort, Mueller ended by saying that it is the Stamford community that makes the rodeo work each and every year. The support, energy, and excitement that the rodeo brings keeps the rodeo as one of the most anticipated events of the year. Little is known about what the next year will bring, but it can be assured that the newly reformed board will continue to improve the TCR for many years to come.