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VALLEY FOCUS | Woodland Hills

Pierce Hopes to Rope a Successful Rodeo

April 13, 1998|AMY OAKES

It may not be quite the same as facing a bull rush to the center of the ring, but organizers of this year's Pierce College rodeo will feel as much pressure as anybody in the contest.

That's because last year the school canceled the show after 41 years because of poor ticket sales in recent years. But the rodeo will be revived May 1-2 at Shepard Stadium, thanks to a big campaign by Nicole Land, co-producer of the rodeo and president of the college's Associated Students Organization.

To help revive the rodeo, her student organization has allocated $21,000 in student fees--about $10,000 more than its previous commitment. In return, the organization and the school's agriculture department will split any profits.

"There's a lot of pressure. The rodeo not only has to succeed for the [agricultural] department, it has to succeed for the school," Land said. "We have to make this work."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 15, 1998 Valley Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Zones Desk 1 inches; 23 words Type of Material: Correction
Pierce Rodeo--The outlet listed for tickets to the Pierce College Rodeo on May 1 and 2 was incorrect Monday. Tickets can be purchased only through Ticketmaster.

Land said $5,000 was left over from past rodeos, so planners need $6,000 in ticket sales to make up the remaining costs. The rodeo, which includes rope and riding events, food vendors and entertainment, is the agriculture department's main fund-raiser.

This is the rodeo's last chance, Land said. If it does not at least break even this year, she doubts it will be revived again.

Bad weather and poor ticket sales in 1994 and 1995 drained the show's reserves, prompting the administration to cancel what is considered California's largest college rodeo, Land said.

"The rodeo's cancellation last year made the event more difficult to market," Land said.

Organizers approached past supporters and looked for new ones to help cuts costs. Land said she is still waiting to hear from some sponsors.

But organizers are hoping the rodeo's absence last year will trigger an increased demand from students and the community. So, they have started a more aggressive campaign to promote the event.

For the first time, rodeo tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster, plus conventional student and local business outlets. Tickets are $8 for adults, and $6 for children, students and those older than 55.

Land hopes to sell 10,000 tickets for the two-day event, which once drew crowds of up to 15,000. That would ensure a major profit for the event.

Not only are the participants hoping the Pierce rodeo will survive until next year, they also need to perform well in the May event to build up points to qualify for the national finals in South Dakota.

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