There’s no job too big or too small for the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Operations Committee. This committee works countless hours setting up and taking down for events throughout the year, and we couldn’t do it, build it, or hang it without them!
Operations (Ops) Committee Chairman Gary Tate said, “From the railroad tracks to the golf course, and from Houston Street to the main office… we do tasks including welding processes, fixing air conditioners, feeders, exhaust fans, tent wraps, stock, and more. No ground goes untouched. We are pretty nice people and we try to help everyone. We seem to have a few more luxuries as far as access to equipment so we help set up equipment for everyone.”
Gary has been a member of the Ops Committee since he first started volunteering over 20 years ago. His aspirations are to make a difference to the Rodeo, make sure it goes off without a hitch, and to help the committees put on a show for the thousands of people who come to see us. These aspirations have continued to help guide the committee toward success.
In addition, the Committee seems to agree that they are more than volunteers; they are family.
Vice Chairman Bernie Ramirez indicated that his favorite part about being a leader is that he enjoys the camaraderie they have and the people who have been together for several years.
Sherri Sands, a volunteer for 23 years, added that her favorite part about being a member is the friendships made with everyone and working together as a team. It is this strong bond that keeps volunteers coming back for more each year and helps our organization continue to grow.
Working this hard can build up quite the appetite! The ladies of the Ops Committee work hard to keep everyone fed throughout the show, but everyone still has a fair food favorite for when they just need to satisfy that craving!
Sherri’s favorite fair food is funnel cake. Bernie also keeps it classic with his favorite – the foot long corn dog. Gary admits that his favorite fair food is the egg rolls from Chan’s … “they are easy to grab and go…I will stick one in my jacket pocket, head down into the [AT&T Center], and have an easy snack on me for later! Never underestimate the power of a good egg roll on a long day.”
Many memories are made during the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, and these members had plenty to share.
Bernie’s all-time favorite memory is “seeing one of the entertainers (Reba) come out and sing Fancy. The house went dark and she rode out in a taxi dressed as a poor woman and then took off her coat and had on this pretty red evening gown.” Our entertainers sure do impress.
Sherri recalls her favorite memory as “working together as a team, and the wonderful friendships that have been made” throughout her 23 years as a volunteer.
Lastly, Gary shared his all-time favorite memory. “The best memory is when I was working the rodeo and starting a family. When I started at age 21, I had a little boy, and when my son was 4-5 years old he came out to the rodeo with me every weekend. He would talk to all the men, they would take care of him, and now to see him come through as our head welder, and get to see my grandson at 6 years old coming out every weekend... the men talk to him like he is a young man, and I have a granddaughter who is looking to join now too. It is heartwarming to see how our organization has remained family oriented even over the span of 20 years.”
While a lot of hard work comes out of the Ops team, they make sure to stay busy and have some fun in between. Following the show, they assist in set up for the Volunteer Appreciation Party in June. They also have a yearly outing to take some “me” time and enjoy each other’s company outside of the volunteer setting.
If you ever are in need of a hand, a wrench, or just a good conversation, the Ops Committee is here to help.