SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo giddyups todayOfficials anticipate boost for local economy

The SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo begins today at the Ector County Coliseum, continuing a decades old tradition as local businesses get a chance to rope in some of the thousands of attendees the annual event draws.
Last year, the event brought nearly $3.4 million into the local economy, per an estimate by the Odessa Convention and Visitors Bureau using a formula that considers actual attendees, nights stayed in hotels and other factors. Director Lawanna Lambert said the rodeo could draw at least that level of impact this year.
“You know it is a good draw,” Lambert said. “It’s the first one on the (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) circuit. They can end up at the finals in Las Vegas and that brings out a lot of people. And the show has been going on for how long? Holy cow."

Last year the rodeo brought in more than 26,000 visitors (a figure that might include repeat attendees).
The couple who own Miller’s Tack and Saddlery are among those hoping for a boost. It’s their first rodeo since the downtown business opened. But the Millers are longtime attendees of the rodeo, the only time Terri Miller said she can see elite competitors locally.
“It’s a big thing every year,” she said. “They get people in from all over the world.”
And a main draw is always the penultimate night of the nine-day event, when there is a band and a dance at the rodeo.
This year, Terri Miller said she recruited friends to help pass out flyers at the rodeo offering a 10 percent discount to people who bring one into the shop, among other promotions. The business is also a sponsor of the event.
She said they’ve already had some rodeo attendees stop by the store ahead of the official opening.
But businesses outside of the saddlery also tend to benefit, including restaurants, other retailers, and hotels.
Rodeo President Kevin Evans said advance ticket sales exceeded last year’s. But at a show where some 80 percent of attendees pay at the gate, he said a truer sense of the crowds the two-week event will attract should emerge this weekend.
The first rodeo performance begins at 7:30 p.m. today. But the first livestock show begins at 8 a.m.
It’s the rodeo show’s 62nd year in the Coliseum. Every year, Evans said, it’s a chance to see the “top of the top,” referring to both competitors and the animals they ride.
There are the livestock shows, the miniature animal riding for kids and the other entertainment like music. But the main attraction is mostly consistent over the years.
“They want to come see the wrecks,” Evans said. “They want the cowboys to get bucked off. They want the bulls to get after the bullfighters and bull riders.”
And the rodeo competitors are cool with it.
“If they get bucked off, they get bucked off and go down the road to the next rodeo,” Evans said. “. . . This is their living. This is what they do.”