AMARILLO TRI-STATE EXPOSITION

Showcasing Our Cultural Heritage

aka Tri-State Fair & Rodeo   |   Amarillo, TX   |  www.tristatefair.com

Mission

To provide a wholesome educational, cultural, and recreational experience for area citizens by hosting the annual Tri-State Fair & Rodeo and strengthening the Amarillo economy. The Exposition goal is to "Showcase the Cultural Heritage" of the region. The Exposition primarily serves the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and Eastern New Mexico. Guests come from all over the United States and several foreign countries to take part in events held on the grounds.

Notes from the nonprofit

The Amarillo Tri-State Exposition serves an area much larger than just Amarillo. The annual Tri-State Fair & Rodeo is the largest event in the region. The facilities are in use year around, not just during the nine day Fair & Rodeo. Regional, state, national and international events are hosted here bringing visitors from all over the United States and several foreign countries.

Ruling year info

1985

CEO

Mr. Brady Ragland

Main address

3301 SE 10th Ave.

Amarillo, TX 79104 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

75-0832456

NTEE code info

Agricultural Programs (K20)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The need our organization addresses is maintaining and showcasing the cultural heritage of our region for each new generation. Our facilities also host other organizations that improve the quality of life for Texas Panhandle residents through education, exhibitions, shows, fundraisers etc.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Tri-State Fair & Rodeo

Tri-State Fair & Rodeo draws around 125,000-130,000 visitors, exhibitors, vendors and participants of all ages & ethnic backgrounds. There is something for everyone, from pre-schoolers through senior citizens. The Texas Farm Bureau, the Fair & Rodeo’s title sponsor, has agricultural exhibits and staffing throughout the day.

Many nonprofits participate during the fair earning a good share of their annual budget during the nine day event. Other entertainment and events held during the fair include: a large midway, the food court with lots of "fair foods,", booths, and concerts with regional headliners. Livestock, culinary, craft and trade shows are scheduled throughout the duration of the Fair & Rodeo.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association hold a three day event hosting some of the top cowboys from around the U. S. and several foreign countries. Since the Tri-State Rodeo is one of the last stops of the season, many of the cowboys are trying to earn enough points to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in October in Las Vegas.

4-H and FFA youth participate in both livestock shows and in the arts and culture departments. They are showing their "best,” in an attempt to win the coveted blue ribbon and the premium money that goes along with their ribbons. Each year the Exposition gives a half million dollars back to area youth through: tickets, premiums, scholarships and other awards.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

A scholarship program was started in 2004. Since then 40 students have received financial assistance to attend the college or university of their choice. For several years, the Fair & Rodeo scholarships have been given to three students each year. The students are selected from applications submitted to their membership foundations (4-H and Future Farmers of America FFA Foundations). These are students who typically are involved with the annual Fair & Rodeo. The 3rd scholarship goes to a student from a local high school chosen by Opportunity Plan Inc.(OPI) of Canyon TX. (This is a professional organization that manages scholarships.) To receive the scholarships, the students must be registered at a University or Jr. College for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and maintain a 2.5 GPA. The scholarships are given out over an eight semester time period.

Population(s) Served
Students

In 2010 Xcel Energy's Foundation provided funding for "Rainwater Harvesting" tanks. These tanks, which in an average year can harvest over 55,000 gallons of rainwater, were installed next to the Rex Baxter Building. The next year, Xcel Energy awarded another grant to build eight square foot gardens to use to demonstrate how to grow the most produce in a very limited space with minimal irrigation needs. Since the Exposition is located in an urban area with many low income individuals living within walking distance of the Exposition, it was felt that there are many educational opportunities close by. Not only would this program encourage healthy eating but would teach the gardeners how to grow their own food in a small area. They also learned how they can collect rainwater from their own roofs to water their garden, thereby conserving water resources, especially in the midst of the current drought.

Population(s) Served
Adults

This board is comprised of 20 high school students from across the Texas Panhandle. These students are members of 4-H, Future Farmers of America (FFA) or Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Each student must submit an application to the Exposition and be recommended by their county agent or high school ag teacher to be eligible for a position on the board. The board was founded in 1998 and students serve during the summer months promoting the annual Fair & Rodeo. The students are required to make a minimum of three Fair & Rodeo presentations in their local communities and volunteer their time at the fair, rodeo and gala.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

A permanent shade structure is being planned for our Xcel Energy Park that is under development. According to John Harris, Chief Meteorologist for KAMR TV in Amarillo, “Skin cancer is a huge problem for our regional population. The average UVR index which measures UV rays runs religiously from 9 to 11 daily, with 10 as an average in late May through September. This is due to Amarillo’s 3,600 foot elevation and the high angle of the sun during afternoon and early evening hours.”

The Exposition developed literature educating our guests to the dangers of exposure to the Texas Panhandle sun. Currently, this literature is included with: the contract for event promoters, handed out by the Master Gardeners, included in the youth "Ag Education Day" packets, distributed at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens and is available for pick up in the Exposition office and the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension office. Literature will also be available in the park upon completion of this project.
The American Academy of Dermatology offers grant funding to build a shade structure and a funding request has been submitted. If approved, the funding will be announced in April 2019. Phase Three of this park will begin as soon at the spring weather permits.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Manager of the Year 2012

Texas Association of Fairs & Events

Volunteer of the Year 2011

Texas Association of Fairs & Events

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total dollar amount of scholarship awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents

Related Program

Scholarship Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The Amarillo Tri-State Exposition's volunteer Board of Directors created a scholarship program for the youth of the Texas Panhandle in the spring of 2004. The fund is being administered by the OPI.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goal is to keep the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and Eastern New Mexico cultural traditions alive for future generations. This is done by fulfilling our mission, which is to provide wholesome educational, cultural, and recreational experiences for area citizens by hosting the Tri-State Fair & Rodeo and other events to strengthen the Amarillo economy. The cultural heritage of our region is rich with agriculture (farming/ranching), gas and oil. People have been bringing their "best" livestock, horses, domestic animals, textiles, produce, and blue ribbon cakes, pies and cookies to share with the 130,000+ visitors at the Fair & Rodeo each year. Other groups, individuals, businesses and nonprofits use the facilities throughout the year bringing in another 120,000+ show participants, and guests. Many local nonprofits use our facilities to host fundraisers for their organizations.

Every September the Exposition hosts the nine day Fair & Rodeo. It is the Exposition's major fundraiser. This event attracts between 120,000 to 130,000 individuals. They come from all over the region to “experience, learn about, and enjoy" the best our region has to offer. The Exposition offers the grounds and buildings for use by the public but does not do a lot of programming of their own. Others bring their events and programs to the Exposition's facilities. Other than the annual Fair & Rodeo the only other programs sponsored by the Exposition are the scholarship, Junior Fair Board, Texas Panhandle sun protection and gardening programs.

During the fair, there are many daily specials. Students have special discount days. Senior citizens get in for half price daily except Senior Day when they get in free. College night brings out local college students. Admission is fee with their college ID. Active duty military and their families get in free, during the fair. Contestants participating in the Culinary Contests get a free day pass. Many nonprofits have booths during the fair at which they raise a good portion of their annual budget.

In 2004 the Exposition set up a “Fair & Rodeo Scholarship Program." Since then, 40 students have received financial help from the Exposition. In 2019 the plan is to present three $6,000 scholarships given out over eight semesters (or until they have received their bachelor's degree). Many of the students who receive the scholarships have been a part of the Exposition's educational and/or cultural programs during their growing up years. They have exhibited livestock or been involved in the arts and culture programs through 4-H, FFA and other community groups.

Contests highlighting our cultural heritage, livestock shows, educational demonstrations and all kinds of entertainment take place throughout the fair. The Ag Magician, Southwest Dairy Farmers and other entertainers put on daily shows that entertain all ages, pre-schoolers to adults. 4-H and FFA youth bring their livestock to show at the fair. Adults exhibit in both cultural arts and livestock classes in the Open or Senior divisions. Culinary contests take place almost every day. Regional bands take to the stage several evenings during the fair.

Three nights of PRCA Rodeo (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) showcase some of the top contestants in the country, some of whom are fighting for a place in the National Finals Rodeo. The Tri-State Rodeo was voted one of the “Top 5 Medium Sized Rodeo's" in the country.

The food court which seats around 300 invites visitors to come in out of the sun, sit down, and enjoy some great “fair food." (Did you know you can get 12 different “foods on a stick?") The food court opens for lunch every day and several thousand visitors come in early during the week for lunch and many stay to enjoy the entertainment, visit the exhibits, and watch the shows.

The Amarillo Tri-State Exposition has a long history. Small regional fairs started in the 1890s but the Exposition was chartered in 1923 by residents of the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and Eastern New Mexico. Amarillo was chosen to host the Exposition due to its central location and accessibility to the railroad. There have been annual fairs, in Amarillo, since its founding except for suspension during and W W I and WW II.

The Exposition is governed by an Executive Board of 14 volunteers with a membership board of over a hundred individuals. The members of this working board roll up their sleeves and work hard to put on the largest event in the region. A Junior Board made up of 20 high school age students (who are members of 4-H, FFA and FCCLA) serve as liaisons with local media and their Panhandle communities. They promote the Fair & Rodeo in their area and volunteer during the fair, working in the show rings, helping with exhibits, running errands and other activities as needed. Over 600 individual volunteers assist the board and staff in hosting events. One long time volunteer served for 60 years before retiring.

The annual Fair & Rodeo is only part of the Exposition. The 104 acres of maintained Exposition grounds are used year around by many individuals and organizations. Local, regional, national and international events take place regularly with the grounds being used around fifty weeks/weekends a year. A staff of 14 employees work year around maintaining the buildings/grounds, scheduling events, and hosting visitors. Temporary staff fill in at large events.

In 2000, the Amarillo National Center opened. This facility hosts equestrian and livestock shows and can be set up for concerts, motor/arena cross, circuses, fundraising parties and etc. Since the opening of the Amarillo National Center, there have been many upgrades to the facilities. With this building, use of the grounds has increased dramatically. Now, the Exposition Grounds can stable over 1,000 horses which makes the facilities large enough to host national/international events.

Some of the older buildings have been renovated and others have been demolished. All the offices were consolidated into the totally renovated former Rabbit Building. The Commercial Exhibits Hall has been completely renovated, A cover was built connecting the Amarillo National Center with the Bill Cody and Glenn McMennamy Buildings, making the area safer for the horses and riders. In 2012 new restrooms and an air conditioned lobby and lounge were completed in the Bill Cody Building. New entry gates and landscaping have improved the looks of the grounds. A rainwater harvesting system and demonstration gardens which are open for public use have been installed next to the Rex Baxter Building. In 2013 a new covered and expanded arena adjacent to the Cody Building opened. Restroom renovations in the Rex Baxter Building were completed in 2017.

Our goals are on-going with our activities taking place throughout the year. There is no fixed date for completion or reaching the goals since we are continually working to bring in more individuals and organizations to be a part of the Exposition.
Education is a continual process. The Exposition has many educational events taking place throughout the year. New educational attractions, shows and demonstrations are added each year. The scholarship program started small in 2004. Over the years, it has grown to a point that the Exposition is now able to award three $6,000 scholarships annually. We have found that some of the award money does not get used for one reason or another. Transitioning from high school to college; going from living with family to living on their own can be difficult for a young person. According to Mary Davis, a former community college academic adviser, “Having a support system is crucial when you go to school. Family and friends play such an important role in your life; it just makes sense that their support, or lack of, can have a tremendous impact on college success." The Exposition has set up a plan to monitor the students more closely to provide support and encouragement.
Water conservation and agriculture have been a topic of interest for many years and especially so with drought conditions these past few years. In an effort to educate the public, rainwater harvesting tanks were installed next to one of the buildings in 2010. These tanks capture rainwater from the roof and the water is used to irrigate the grounds. In 2011 eight small gardens were set up next to these tanks. The gardens are irrigation with the rainwater. The Exposition offers these gardens to the community for their personal use and provides soil, seeds, plants, and irrigation. With mentoring by the Master Gardeners, ad ounty Agricultural Agent members of the community have come out to work in the gardens, harvest the produce and use it to feed their families and exhibit at the fair. Educating both adults and children about healthy eating habits is important to society as a whole. Studies have shown that children who grow their own vegetables are more likely to eat them. This program has been very successful with new gardeners joining the program each year. This program will continue into the future.
The Junior Fair Board has been a great success. We had to experiment with the board size and made changes over the years to find out what worked best and now we think we have it right. We cut back from 20 to 15 students but that was not a good decision and we have gone back to the original 20 students.

Completion of the Excel Energy Park, summer 2019, put in fruit and nut trees, fruit plants and a grape arbor that will provide additional educational opportunities.

Financials

AMARILLO TRI-STATE EXPOSITION
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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AMARILLO TRI-STATE EXPOSITION

Board of directors
as of 03/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Tim Koetting

Plains Builders, Inc.

Term: 2007 - 2023

Jim Jennings

Retired-AQHA

Dennis Horn

Potter County Sheriffs Dept. Retired

Trent Winings

West Texas Golf Cars

Jim Allison

County Extension Agent-Retired

Dale Williams

Businessman-Consultant

Jay Wade Johnson

Cattleman-Rancher

Johnny Johnson

Grant Construction-Foreman

Tod Mayfield

Mayfield Law Firm

Vance Reed

Reed Beverage-Owner

Bob Robinson

County Commissioner-Professor

Richard Walton

Inurance Agent

Scott HIndman

Xcel Energy- Supervisor

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/09/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.