SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo has been around for as long as most of us can remember, but everything has its beginnings and the San Angelo Rodeo grew out of one man’s idea 90 years ago.
The idea for the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo came from J. Culberson “Cub” Deal, who was serving as the elected manager of the San Angelo Board of City Development now known as the Chamber of Commerce.
According to the SASSRA, Deal thought San Angelo would benefit more from a spring stock show than a fair. He took this thought and presented it to Claude A. Broome, John P. Lee, J. Willis Johnson, Jr., D.T. Jones, and County Agent W.I. Marschall. Together this group decided the major feature would involve the 4-H Club Boys and Vocational Agriculture Students in the area.
From that decision, the first event was held on the Polo Field from February 29 through March 2, 1932, with 15 Texas counties and up to $10,000 in auctions. In 1934 the event had developed into a ‘baby’ rodeo and was moved to the fairgrounds. This event featured 21 Texas counties, 1200 head of livestock, horse racing and auctions netted $12,500.
Despite a smooth start, the rodeo ran into some trouble in 1943 when a fire destroyed the majority of the facilities and the government requested all programs, including rodeos be cut. The rodeo continued like normal in 1944 but was canceled yet again in 1945. That did not keep it down for long however since everything was back up and running in 1946.
In 1954 Chili Cole was appointed to explore the opportunities of steer roping since the Stock Show and Rodeo Board was considering adding a fall roping event in May of the same year. The event went ahead and has grown into what we now know as the “Roping Fiesta.”
This event continued to grow until it officially changed to a professional rodeo in 1955 and continued into 1956 but the years had worn down the facilities and a previous tornado in the area left it in unsafe conditions. The Stock Show and Rodeo Board informed the city they were finished with the event if the city could not provide better fairgrounds. By 1959 the San Angelo Coliseum was completed.
Over the years, numerous improvements and renovations were made to the facilities on the fairgrounds. Through sales tax in 1999, San Angelo citizens were able to help renovate the Wells Fargo Pavilion, build the 1stCommunity Credit Union Spur Arena in 2002, Housley Communications Cattle Barn, and the Gandy Ink Livestock Barn in 2005. The City also completed the HEB Community Center which houses a large majority of the breeding shows.
Today the San Angelo Rodeo is one of the largest livestock shows in the nation with a rodeo that consistently ranks in the top 2 in total entries.