Learn More about our International Committee
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo attracts guests from all over the state of Texas and the U.S., but did you know that it also attracts guests from all over the world? In 2018, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo was visited by more than 1,000 international guests. Each of these guests are invited to visit the International Room, a designated hospitality room hosted by the International Committee.
Dru Canion, International Committee Chairman, says they have fun every day! The committee provides tours to the guests and makes an effort to ask the groups what they are interested to see. These walking tours are full of smiles and interesting fun facts, ensuring everyone has a great time.
Director Emeritus Dan Adams has two favorite parts of volunteering on the committee: the ability to interact with the foreign visitors and being part of a family. Dan appreciates talking to the guests about their agricultural experiences, their outlook on agriculture and their thoughts on our way of doing things. The International Committee, although comprised of several subcommittees, works together toward their common goal of welcoming and hosting the many guests from other countries.
Director Anne Ahlschwede also enjoys meeting the international visitors! Anne says that “every year, there is a variety and diversity of the guests that are fun to talk with.” Dru favors being able to see “all walks of life on this committee – some from Australia, Mexico and Canadians that come down for the winter” and most guests are “in awe of what rodeo is to us.”
Although the Rodeo is an 18-day event in February, the International Committee works year-round. Prior to the Rodeo, the committee focuses on two major areas: setting up tours and obtaining sponsors. The committee reaches out to schools, companies and entities with international affiliates, hoping to invite as many as possible. Dru says, “Many of these groups have never been to the rodeo and some have never seen a cow, pig or horse!” They want to ensure the guests can get a look into this world in San Antonio and hope they will talk about the city and bring others from their country.
The International Committee is quite a unique part of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. Vice Chairman Hampton Pratka says the committee “entertains people from all over the world that may or may not have any clue what goes on during the Rodeo.” Hampton says it’s a two-way street, though, and that the committee learns just as much from the guests about their culture.
Speaking of learning, we asked the committee what they believe most people don’t know about SALE. Dru believes that most people have no idea that the entry fees are free for the rodeo contestants – a unique feature in the rodeo world. Entry fees for a rodeo our size would be anywhere from $300-$500! Dan thinks most are unaware of the SALE mission – a volunteer organization that emphasizes agriculture and education to develop the youth of Texas – and why they volunteer.
Dan aspires for the committee and the organization will “continue to do whatever they can to promote agriculture and the youth of Texas and give as many scholarships as possible.” Anne says she hopes for the committee to “improve every year, welcoming more guests and having more satisfied volunteers.”
Make sure to tell foreign friends or family to stop by the International Room during their visit to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo! The committee is more than happy to show ‘em around.