While the Ambassadors boot scoot around the state, they are often asked “How can we get involved?” We wanted to hear about the Ambassadors’ roots and asked a few of the committee members how they got involved and began their journey as a volunteer for the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo!
Chairman of the Ambassador Committee Cindy Gidden has volunteered for over 15 years. Her interest sparked from working with kids and agriculture. Cindy shared that her “own children were in agriculture, and [she] loves to volunteer. What better way to get both worlds than becoming a volunteer?”
A volunteer for two decades, Karen Dudek said her interest “came from her family being involved for years” – a volunteer legacy!
Albert Zarazua got his start from his wife’s family who have been part of the organization for years. “I love being involved with kids and seeing those kids’ faces as recipients of the scholarships,“ Albert mentioned.
We also wanted to hear what they loved most about being in their leadership positions:
Karen “can’t help but be proud to represent this organization…when they see that logo or hear the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo’s name, you’ll have moms and dads come say thank you for helping put my child through school.”
Cindy couldn’t agree more. She said that she loves “being able to talk to the 4-H and FFA kids, listen to their aspirations, what their long-term goals are…it’s very rewarding!”
The Ambassadors see firsthand that our mission is rewarding to everyone involved! We continued the sentiment and wanted to hear about their all-time favorite rodeo memory.
Albert and his wife have been around the Rodeo for years, and they actually got engaged at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Bar-B-Cue Cook-Off! With friends and family attending the Cook-Offs annually, he said, “our relationship started and has since revolved around Rodeo. Our first date was on Valentine’s Day at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.” Love and BBQ aroma were definitely in the air.
Karen loves to see the dedicated Star Experience fans. She told us that “every year we have patrons that have been coming since the beginning (Star Experience began 10 years ago!)” Her favorite memory occurs annually when she gets to “see people year after year, knowing that they really enjoyed their time the year prior…they make the commitment to come back and buy tickets.”
Hearing about these memories and stories from the past, made us want to hear what aspirations these three leaders have for their committee and the entire organization!
Cindy told us all about the new things they are doing as a committee: “talking to rotary clubs and chambers of commerce; really spending the entire year getting out and actually talking to people.” Attending nearly 50 events annually, the Ambassadors are “overwhelming the public with how much SALE does each year. It’s been really great when we announce our giving number (more than $171.4 million to date) at these meetings, you see their faces in shock.”
Karen explained the evolution of the public’s interest. Initially, “when people would see us they would get Rodeo on their mind, ask about tickets and performances, and only think about the aspect that happens in February.” With the addition of the speaking engagements the committee attends, “people are now asking how to get involved, become a volunteer, more about the livestock show, how to become a sponsor, etc.”
The Ambassadors played host to a record year for Rodeo Star Experience in 2017 – a total of 3,598 tickets were sold. Be on the lookout for them in 2018, proudly displaying the “S” hat logo and beaming smiles! If you lend them an ear, they’ll fill it with info.