Cowboys at ‘World’s Largest Amateur Rodeo’ still set to ride despite COVID-19

Social distancing will be encouraged, masks are welcomed, but not required at event

A Cowboy in motion, courtesy of Pixabay.
A Cowboy in motion, courtesy of Pixabay. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

STAMFORD, TX – Leaders of the Texas Cowboy Reunion announced Saturday that they were still planning on holding rodeo events open to the public as much of the state deals with spikes in COVID-19 infection rates.

The rodeo is set to take place in Stamford, Texas, in Jones County, which has reported more than 600 cases, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

In an official statement, the Mayor of Stamford, James M. Decker, and Mike Mueller, president of the TCR, said that it would be “unfeasible and financially devastating for countless people and businesses to simply cancel the event.”

The city and TCR have assembled the following guidelines to provide a safe event for our visitors and for our community:

  • As previously planned, the TCR will power wash the rodeo arena facilities daily with bleach and water.
  • As previously planned, the TCR will have numerous hand sanitizer stations available on the grounds.
  • Social distancing will be encouraged throughout the facility and we ask our attendees to work with us to limit the gathering of large crowds in close quarters, such as our pavilion hallway.
  • Masks will not be required, but they will be welcomed. The TCR will make masks available at the turnstile gates if a visitor wishes to wear a mask but does not have one.

The rodeo’s events are set to begin July 1-4, according to its website. Decker and Mueller said they ask all rodeo event attendees to be thoughtful of community members. Any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is asked to stay home.

“If you are an at-risk person or are concerned, we encourage you to stay home. If you are a low-risk person or are otherwise not concerned about COVID—19, we ask you to still be thoughtful of others,” Decker and Mueller said in a statement. “COVID-19 risk does not begin or end at the gates of the TCR grounds. Those who stay home will still be in town and interacting with TCR attendees.”

Decker and Mueller said in a statement that TCR leadership consulted with local officials and considered public health and safety concerns arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with relevant safety regulations issued by Governor Greg Abbott and the potential economic and community impacts on the Stamford area.

“As the governor proceeds with a gradual reopening of Texas, it was determined that it would be feasible to host Stamford’s most famous event,” Decker and Mueller said in a statement.

The duo’s statement said current state guidelines will limit attendance to 50% capacity of all facilities at the rodeo, but “based on the governor’s future announcements, this may be increased to 75% later this month.”

Sanitation and disinfection protocols will also be implemented to ensure a safe facility for all guests and volunteers, TCR said.

“The traditional TCR schedule and some of its events will be modified in their scope to comply with state COVID-19 regulations and to minimize public health concerns,” Decker and Mueller’s statement said. “More specific information will be released in the coming days.”

Related: Officials knew coronavirus could spread at the Houston Rodeo and proceeded with the event anyway

About the Author:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.