Selling Alpha Psi Rodeo Tickets In (Little More Than) '8 Seconds'
The classic rodeo film '8 seconds' gets its name from the length of time a cowboy has to stay on the animal for the ride to qualify. It takes more than eight seconds to sell all of the Alpha Psi Rodeo tickets, but not by much since it is one of the most popular events on the Auburn University school calendar. This edition of 'The Business of Fun' looks at how rodeos are produced as ticketed events, often in conjunction with state and county fairs.
The tradition of the rodeo dates back to the early 1800s when it served as a competition between cowboys for bragging rights as well as potential employment at a cattle ranch. Over of years, the rough and tumble "round-ups" have evolved to become some of the most popular ticketed events.
Some rodeos are stand-alone events, while others operate as part of a county or state fair under one umbrella. Rodeos are held in conjunction with county and state fairs because both events required specialized facilities and equipment to manage livestock. County and state fairs can be enormous events. The State Fair of Texas, for example, sold more than 2,600,000 tickets during its three week long run in 2010. When held in conjunction with a fair, rodeos enjoy an increase in attendance by a wider audience.
Appealing to a wider audience is possible because the modern rodeo is no longer the men-only, dusty event it was 200 years ago. Rodeos are now diverse, multi-cultural events that feature live music concerts and up-scale dining.
For example, Rodeo Austin has a small fair of its own, some carnival rides, and a popular series of concerts, all under the umbrella term "rodeo". The ticketing system used reflects how diverse the demographic has become. Rodeo Austin uses three types of wristbands (individual, group and VIP) that function as all-inclusive passes to the concerts, live stock shows, amusement rides, fancy dance hall galas, food events and, of course, the professional rodeo competition.
The best example rodeo's diverse appeal is the legendary Alpha Psi Rodeo in Auburn, Alabama. The Alpha Psi rodeo blurs the lines between a traditional cowboy competition, a stadium music concert and an outdoor festival. The event is part of the University of Alabama's school calendar, so it draws in UA college students with hometowns from all over the country.
The Alpha Psi Rodeo is presented by the Alabama chapter of the Alpha Psi Veterinary fraternity. The rodeo's long history can be found on the official website:
In 1965, the men of Alpha Psi at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine started the Alpha Psi Round-Up. The Round-Up began as an event held exclusively for veterinary students. Students would get together each spring to compete in an amateur rodeo as a way to relieve stress generated by the demands of the veterinary curriculum. As the event gained popularity, it was opened to Auburn students and individuals not affiliated with the school. The Alpha Psi Round-Up has recently come to be known as the Alpha Psi Rodeo. With attendance now topping 15,000 people per year, Rodeo is one of, if not the most popular, events in Auburn, Alabama.
Tickets for the 2013 Alpha Psi Rodeo are made available well in advance of the April 13th start date. Alpha Psi tickets are general admission with a separate parking pass available. The tickets include admission to a concert by country music star Brantley Gilbert.
The Alpha Psi fraternity uses the rodeo as a fundraiser for various charitable causes, most notably Storybook Farms. During a recent interview, Alpha Psi President Jeb Sexton explained how important helping Storybook is to the fraternity's members:
Storybook Farms is a therapeutic riding and special events camp in Auburn that provides a wide variety of activities for special needs children and their families. I have personally worked with the camp’s director in the past and have seen first-hand the wonderful effect it has on the community and the families that go there. The camp is funded 100% by charity donations so events like the Rodeo are a huge support system for them.
The Alpha Psi is an non-profit entity itself, so it has an understanding of the challenges charities face, more so than rodeos that function as pure for-profit endeavors. ThunderTix offers a ticketing software for nonprofits with many features to accepting donations online.
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