Balancing the Past and the Future: 100 Years of Reno Rodeo

The roar of 140,000 fans echoes throughout the Reno-Sparks Valley every warm June summer. And behind the grandstands, rodeo clowns, ropers, and bull riders there exists a non-profit organization comprised of 10,000 volunteers that make it all happen.

Thriving through a century doesn’t happen by accident. It takes grit, perseverance, and most of all, a thoughtful strategy for growth and adapting. What struck us about working with the Reno Rodeo during their last planning cycle in 2016 was just how considerate the organization was about preserving their history while shifting the organization to succeed in the future. It struck a great balance between reflecting on the past and planning for the future.

As the Reno Rodeo looks backwards on its 100-year history this June, it’s again time to reflect on the past and think about their future. Currently at the end of their 3-year strategic planning cycle, we’ve recently re-engaged with the Reno Rodeo to help refresh, update, and re-energize their plan.

As we engaged their stakeholders, past president, and past board members to refresh their plan, here are few takeaways you can apply to your own planning process:

  • The whole plan doesn’t always change. For the Reno Rodeo, there are certainly elements of their plan that changed. But, there are key focus areas they are going to continue working towards. A plan doesn’t always need to change completely, but rather evolve with your organization.
  • Thoughtful reflection creates a thoughtful future. We’ve been engaging with 80+ individuals who took the time for thoughtful reflection about what they perceive as the Reno Rodeo’s most important and strategic focus areas. Reflecting on where you’ve been helps clarify where you need to go.
  • Grit and dedication win. Staying true to the planning and management process amidst producing an event for 140,000 people takes dedication and grit. It’s one of the reasons we think the Reno Rodeo will be around for the next 100 years.



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