Who would have dreamed that a one-day calf show would evolve into a top-five professional rodeo that raises millions of dollars for education? From its beginnings as a tiny 4-H event to its current role as one of Austin’s largest charities, the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo has grown in both size and purpose in the past seventy-five years.
Here, Liz Carmack tells the story of Rodeo Austin, a nonprofit enterprise whose face reflects its agricultural heritage but whose scholarship program is at the heart of its mission. Since 1981, when organizers became fully committed to providing college scholarships, millions of dollars have been raised through a year-long fundraising effort including a sporting clay tournament, golf tournament, wine tasting and gala. The year culminates in March with the organization’s signature event known as Rodeo Austin - sixteen days of non-stop events, including a livestock show, fair, rodeo, and concerts. Over the years, dedication and hard work, an ever expanding cast of participants and volunteers, many benefactors, and changes in name and venue have served the organization well. In 2011, the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo welcomed more than 300,000 attendees and awarded $442,000 in college scholarships plus more than $1.5 million in additional funds to Texas youth.
Fans of rodeo everywhere, and especially anyone who has attended Rodeo Austin—“Where Weird Meets Western”—will come away from Rodeo Austin: Blue Ribbons, Buckin' Broncs, and Big Dreams with a new appreciation of the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo and its dual mission of promoting youth education and preserving Western heritage.
LIZ CARMACK is an award-winning freelance writer and editor. Her writing and photography have appeared in Texas Highways, County, Texas Co-op Power, Drive, The Medallion and Austin Woman magazines. A former newspaper journalist, her 35-plus-year communications career includes positions at the Texas Association of Counties, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, KLRU-TV in Austin, and the Texas House of Representatives.
"For 75 years, RODEO AUSTIN has been crowning Champions, inside livestock and rodeo arenas. Blue Ribbons, Buckin’ Broncs and Big Dreams tells the story… the story of volunteers, cowboys, cowgirls and scholars…all who share one common trait…they were, or are, all RELENTLESS!"--Trevor Brazile, Eight Time World Champion All Around Cowboy
"Here's a book for anyone who loves livestock, rodeo, history, or just the compelling stories about the people who embody the spirit of the West. Liz Carmack brings alive what has made Rodeo Austin what it is today with meticulous research, marvelous writing, and outstanding photos."--Wayne Brooks, two-time PRCA Rodeo Announcer of the Year