PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, April 1, 2011
As your current WPRA President this will be my last update to you. As you know, the results of the 2011 Election process will be available early next week. Although I chose not to run for the position again, I am excited about what has been accomplished while I was at the helm as your President and equally excited for the next President. Along with this Board of Directors, I have worked very hard to leave the WPRA on solid footing for continued growth. 2010 was a successful year on many fronts. The association's bottom line is healthy. The 2010 WPRA World Finals was a financial turnaround. Sponsor partnership relations have increased. Open dialogue has been established with many more rodeo committees. We have identified and worked common interest areas with the PRCA. The list goes on.
One of the big eye-openers for anyone being elected to the Board as an Officer or Director is learning there are many moving parts contributing to the WPRA's ability to deliver a quality, professional product to our members, rodeo committees and sponsors. There are equally as many factors affecting those moving parts to result in success. There are no magic answers or immediate fixes. Let's look back at 2010!
Bottom Line - Net Asset Change of $89,000
One area, which I would like to elaborate on, is the financial stability. This past Monday night (3/28), the WPRA auditor took the Board of Directors through a draft of the 2010 Financial audit. The results were very good. The auditor was very pleased with all the improvements made to both our business processes and business decisions and the impact of them on the association's bottom line. The WPRA has an audited change in Net Assets of $89,000. I couldn't be more pleased. By adhering to strict income, expense and budget management discipline, your Board delivered results by being financially responsible. This quite a testament during economically challenging times.
World Finals Financial Turnaround - The World Finals Achieved Breakeven
The WPRA World Finals is important to our business mix. But, as all would agree, it needed attention and changes. By changing the location, updating the format, finding sponsors specifically interested in that type of event, and applying the right resources to drive all aspects of production, we have put it in the position to stand on its own. It is now in a position to get better, grow in a positive way and, with time, contribute to the WPRA's bottom line.
Sponsor Partnerships - Growing
More corporations are considering the WPRA as an opportunity. The economy has not been kind to anyone and sponsors have definitely felt the impact. Despite that, we have been very actively working with sponsors to help them see the unique opportunity the WPRA presents. The WPRA has gotten very focused in terms of supporting and bringing more value to our current sponsors, identifying new sponsors and providing creative opportunities, which they did not have before. We are pleased, our sponsor list grew in 2010 and we expect more growth in 2011.
Open Dialog with Rodeo Committees - Leads to Improvements for Competitors
A strategic decision to actively participate in both the PRCA's Annual Convention and the Association of Rodeo Committees has given us an opportunity to have a dialogue with our many committees in a forum where they are actively seeking information. These two key events allow us to provide a clear and consistent message to all committees. As an example, we have been focusing on explaining the impact of ground conditions and what it means to our members in terms of fair competition, safety, and protecting their equine investments. It was amazing to see the reaction of the Committees when we told our story. In addition, the opening of a one-on-one dialogue with both the DNCFR and Omaha Committees is leading to sponsor opportunities which should help the WPRA in future years.
Opportunities between the WPRA & the PRCA - Joint Marketing Agreement
The Joint Marketing Agreement is an agreement between the WPRA and PRCA to seek partnership with certain types of sponsorship opportunities. Several joint pitches have been made to date. One is actively going through the contract stage at present time and new ones are being lined up for the rest of the year. I am optimistic the Joint Marketing Agreement will lead to more opportunities and a stronger partnership with the PRCA.
I would also like to recognize and acknowledge the fantastic job our staff and contract personnel have done over these past two years. Directed by Janet Cropper, this small group stepped up to the plate and delivered every time they were challenged. Few members will ever realize the tremendous effort and volume of work they took on. I appreciate their professionalism more than words can say.
In closing, the past 10 years serving on the Board of Directors and the last two as President have been a rewarding and memorable experience. As I go forward, I'm sure there is some challenge within the sport I can busy myself with. It is really all I know how to do. So, until it crosses my path and I have an opportunity to rodeo with you again, I wish you all Happy Trails!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, February 1, 2011
It's hard to believe that we are nearing the halfway point of the 2011 rodeo season. The cold weather rodeos are in full swing. The deadline for this letter falls prior to the final performance of the National Western Stock Show in Denver, which is the first of the big winter run. The historic Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is just beginning as I write this letter and will conclude on Feb. 5. The great San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo will be in full swing by the time this issue of the WPRN hits your mailbox. It is definitely an exciting time as everything gets rolling in 2011. Stay up with all the latest news and happenings at these great events by checking out www.wpra.com.
January brought to a close the last of the ProRodeo Circuit Finals and this issue of the WPRN features those circuits and their barrel racing champions. I am sure that all 24 barrel racing contestants who have qualified through one of the 12 twelve circuits are all anxiously awaiting their trip to the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo scheduled for March 31 - April 3. Oklahoma City, Okla., will host the 25th annual DNCFR which will be produced by ExpressLazy E Sports Productions and held in the Oklahoma State Fair Arena (formerly known as the Jim Norick State Fair Arena where the NFR called home for 13 years, prior to moving to Las Vegas). New to this year's roster of events will be a welcome reception for all contestants, which will be held at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum. Sounds like a great way to kick off a heavily contested weekend. The DNCFR, with more than $525,000 in prize money, is one of the richest rodeos in the world.
The March issue of the WPRN will feature stallions enrolled in the WPRA's ever-growing Pro Elite Sire Incentive (PESI) program. If you haven't enrolled in the PESI program this is a perfect time for you to get it done. The benefits and incentive payoffs are growing by leaps and bounds. Don't miss out. You're leaving money on the table nearly every time you compete at a WPRA event if your horse is not part of this program.
Last month, Jerri Mann and I released a statement recapping the efforts made by the current Board of Directors in 2010 to put the association in the black financially. We are more than a bit proud of that turnaround. We have increased the number of corporate sponsors from 7 to 27 in the last two years. We reduced the cost of the WPRA World Finals by 97-percent. The Association is on solid ground.
In January, you received a nomination ballot for the upcoming WPRA Elections. This month you will receive the final Election Ballot. Please exercise your voice and your rights by taking the time to fill out the ballot and mail it back by the deadline, which is on or before Feb. 28. Please read the instructions carefully and make sure it is addressed properly so that it gets to the accounting firm and is counted.
As we stated before, there is still much to do. What was most important during these last two years was to generate a foundation we can now build upon. There are many positions to be filled during this election and it is up to you, the members, to fill them with those you feel will be responsible to the growth, strength and longevity of the WPRA, professional rodeo and women's professional barrel racing and roping.
Travel safely during these cold wintry months. Best of Luck to all of you. Until next month, Happy Trails!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, January 3, 2011
The 2010 Wrangler National Finals is now in the record books. This year's competition definitely created new stories to be told. Congratulations to Sherry Cervi for capturing her third world title and for breaking an arena record! Congratulations to Jill Moody for once again winning the average title, this time in record fashion, and rising to the Reserve Champion title. The 2010 Wrangler NFR represented impressive and exciting competition; to all competitors you made us all proud!
Barrel racing is indeed the most exciting part of the rodeo. It was an amazing competition to watch. Be sure to read all the details in this issue.
About the same time this WPRN issue hits your mailbox you will also be receiving an Election Nomination ballot for the upcoming WPRA elections. On this ballot you will submit the names of fellow members you feel will best represent your interests on the WPRA Board of Directors. Please do not take this responsibility lightly. The WPRA has been through some very challenging times over the last few years. During the last year the WPRA has been tested, and we will continue to be tested in 2011. Your current Directors are strong; they have come a long way in terms of understanding the issues and they try to make right decisions based on balancing what is good for the WPRA today and tomorrow. Remember the Directors you elect (or re-elect) will be charged with making sure this Association continues to be viable for years to come. That is an important part of their job.
While serving as President during this past term, my main goals have been to establish stability, re-build bridges where necessary and provide growth for our business and with our industry partners. I am pleased and proud to say we have achieved these three goals.
During 2010, your Board of Directors has specifically focused on doing what was necessary to bring our finances under control. We have reduced a six figure deficit to nearly break even. We have learned to live within our means and income streams. While this has been challenging and certainly required hard trade offs (during tough economic times), we are doing right by our Association and taking our responsibilities very seriously.
In addition this past year, we have worked to over-deliver benefits to our sponsors and to become better partners to them. We have developed a diverse segmentation of our properties so sponsors will have broader flexibility and opportunity to touch the segments of our membership. Please don't ever forget sponsors are a very important part of our business plan. Sponsors provide dollars based on the return of their investment. They will provide dollars to the WPRA as long as they see a clear return. Based on the foundation put in place in 2010, I am pleased to say we will begin 2011 with a larger sponsorship commitment than we have ever started a new season. This is nothing to be taken for granted but a nod to the hard work that has been done.
Next I firmly believe rodeo committees are the life blood of the rodeo industry. The WPRA has worked very hard to reach out to many committees and have constructive dialog. We have talked with many one on one and to others in groups through our participation in ARC (Association of Rodeo Committees) and our presentations at the Round Table Discussions at the PRCA Convention in December. We do this to support them, to keep top of mind awareness regarding where barrel racing fits in their rodeo and to acknowledge the economic realities they are facing. In addition we have tried to help them; as an example we are trying to provide flexibility with ground rules when needed so they can draw spectators, while being thoughtful about our members' travel schedules. We have also provided them with data about WPRA barrel racing to help them make smarter decisions, particularly when it comes to ground conditions.
Regarding relations with the PRCA, we also continue our efforts to work with them to promote professional rodeo through a co-marketing agreement, open dialogue with ProCom and to align certain administrative functions that affect both of our businesses.
Lastly, the needs of the WPRA membership base are very diverse. Please know we keep that in mind when determining support for programs to benefit you. This task alone is a major undertaking and one that the Board of Directors spends many hours scrutinizing. Decisions seem to be easy for one segment but when all segments, budgets, administrative implementation, etc. are taken into account it becomes a whole different beast to tame. The task of keeping it all flowing in the same direction for a common end is challenging and the work necessary from each member of the Board becomes very time intensive.
The newly elected (or re-elected) Officers and Directors will be responsible for keeping the continuity flowing. The doors of communication are open on many levels. While more work is needed, the bridges have been rebuilt and there is a foundation to grow from. Please remember this when you are selecting, nominating and supporting those who you wish to represent you.
There will be many positions on this Board open for those of you who have strong opinions and commitment to the WPRA. Please step up to serve so your voice has a vote.
I hope that you are looking forward to the remaining 2011 season and to the best that the professional barrel racing world has to offer by being a WPRA member.
Until next month, Happy Trails!
2010 WPRA President and Vice President's Report... click here