Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo gets help from lift truck provider
Cat lift trucks do whatever it takes to keep the rodeo running smoothly.
You know what they say: Everything is bigger in Texas. And the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is certainly no exception. In fact, this annual event is the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock exhibition requiring efforts from more than 24,000 volunteers. Last year a record high 2.2 million people attending. Not only does the event attract millions of attendees, it generates millions of dollars in sales, tax revenue and personal income.
So when Modern heard that Cat Lift Trucks is the event’s official lift truck provider for the seventh year running, we caught up with Jeff Rufener, vice president of marketing for Cat Lift Trucks, to find out why this is a pretty big deal.
Modern: Why this is an important community event?
Rufener: The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was organized for charitable, educational and scientific purposes to encourage and promote the breeding, raising and marketing of better livestock and farm products at public fairs and to promote and maintain research and educational functions within the livestock industry.
Today, the show’s goals are still defined by the thousands of young people who annually receive financial support from the organization. More than $265 million has been committed to Texas students for their education since the scholarship and educational program began.
Modern: Tell us about the Cat Lift Truck scholarship.
Rufener: Our scholarship program runs concurrently with the Rodeo season. As part of the program, we award two $5,000 scholarships to Houston-area high school seniors pursuing a mechanical engineering or business-related degree at a Texas higher education institution. Recipients are chosen based on academic record, leadership, honors, narrative responses and participation in school and community activities.
This year’s winners are Zachary Stephens, a senior at Willis High School in Conroe, Texas, and Christina Ramsey, a senior at Humble High School in Humble, Texas.
Modern: Why is sponsorship important to your company?
Rufener: Prior to the sponsorship, the Show spent more than $120,000 annually on lift trucks. These funds are now diverted back to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s scholarship fund.
Cat Lift Trucks has always been generous with time and contributions in support of community efforts, and our tradition of giving back to the community is stronger than ever.
The Rodeo is also a hometown event, and as such, is well-attended by both employees and their families. Seeing Cat lift trucks in action around the Rodeo is a source of pride for our employees who get to see the products they produce every day put into action.
Modern: What does Cat provide for the event?
Rufener: In conjunction with our local dealer, Adobe Equipment, Cat provides more than 90 lift trucks to:
move stage equipment on the floor of Reliant Stadium to support the entertainers’ stage;
haul oversized portable buildings, such as log cabins and ticket booths;
move steel fencing and gates for livestock pens;
transport animal housing, like pigpens and rabbit cages;
unload and transport animal feed, hay and bedding for the assorted livestock;
move food, beverages and ice throughout the vendor areas for guest consumption;
transport miles of barricades to aide in the setup for traffic control; and
other tasks as required.
Unless you’ve experienced it in person, it’s difficult to imagine the breadth and pace of this three-week long event. From January through February each year, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo transforms the 260-acre Reliant Park into the official home of the rodeo. This transformation requires constant movement of supplies, equipment, portable buildings and steel fencing for gates and livestock pens. Lift trucks are also needed to keep food and beverages stocked throughout the stadium, change over areas of the show each day and even to bring out the music concert stage each night. Virtually every type of lift truck is needed to make this event a success–from the 4,500 lb. capacity electric walkies used to unload the pallets of beverages to the 36,000 lb. IC pneumatics used to move portable buildings and other bulky items. For the duration of the rodeo, the Reliant Park complex becomes its own self-contained city, with lift trucks providing the materials to keep it functioning around-the-clock.