To: THSRA Student Athletes, Parents, Directors, and all Rodeo Personnel:
In accordance with Texas ordinance related to Governor Abbott’s executive orders and plans to re-open Texas business, THSRA proposed a responsible plan of action to the City of Abilene for the production of a safe, quality THSRA Finals event. Complying with statewide restrictions is not only mandatory, but also essential to the safety of THSRA contestants, families, rodeo personnel, and the community surrounding Abilene, Texas and Taylor County.
Great news! Through much deliberation and discussion with city officials in Abilene and the Taylor County Expo staff, THSRA has been granted approval to host a modified version of the THSRA State Finals Rodeo. This year’s THSRA finals will be run and managed differently than our previous finals events. Strict guidelines and format changes will be in place to protect the safety of our contestants, parents, Taylor County Expo staff, and all rodeo personnel.
THSRA has had a positive working relationship with Taylor County Expo for many years. We are very grateful to Rochelle Johnson and the City of Abilene for working with THSRA to make this event possible for all THSRA state qualifiers. THSRA is dedicated to the responsible management of the THSRA Finals rodeo including the delivery and implementation of required rules and restrictions.
NHSRA remains optimistic the NHSRA National Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, Nebraska will proceed as scheduled. With that understanding, it is not possible to delay the production of the THSRA Finals Rodeo. NHSRA requires that states have their National Finals rodeo entries turned into the national office by June 19th. The THSRA Board of Directors believes that the only fair way to qualify a team to the NHSRA Finals is to produce the THSRA State Finals Rodeo. THSRA student athletes have worked hard all season to qualify for the state finals. Many have set high goals to become a state and national champion. THSRA is working to provide that opportunity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced THSRA’s hand to alter the production format of our state finals. Due to the limitations on gatherings, this year’s production will not include many of the fun-filled activities the THSRA Finals is known to have. But we can all be thankful that we have been given an opportunity to finish our season crowning new THSRA State Champions and qualifying TEAM Texas to the NHSRA National Finals Rodeo! We understand every individual’s risk tolerance may be different. For those that wish not to participate, their entry fees will be refunded.
Please know these decisions have not been made in haste. The THSRA Executive Board has spent many hours in planning meetings, talking to government officials, networking with other equine organizations, and developing strategies to produce the THSRA Finals as safely as possible. The board, contract personnel, Taylor County Expo staff, and event officials are prepared to work long hours and additional days so that contestants that have worked hard all year to qualify can have a conclusion to their THSRA rodeo season.
The provisions given are mandatory requirements that will be strictly enforced. These guidelines and rules must be followed. These guidelines and rules are mandated by the City of Abilene, Taylor County Expo, and THSRA. All contestants and parents will be expected to comply. No warnings to the contrary will be given. Non-compliant actions by the contestant or their families will result in a disqualification. If it is believed that the requirements of this production are too onerous to comply with, we ask that you not participate. Your participation in this event is voluntary. Should you agree to compete, THSRA, its executive and governing boards, and Taylor County and its assigns will not be responsible for any outcome that may be experienced.
Again, your decision to participate in the THSRA Finals (June 5-13, 2020) is voluntary, and you must take such decision seriously. Our nation is experiencing a health crisis due to COVID-19. THSRA recognizes the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic. THSRA intends to take every possible measure to slow the spread of the virus. That includes compliance with any Local, State, and Federal guidelines implemented to slow the spread of the virus.
We have created a highly detailed plan for this event. It’s successful implementation hinges on you making a personal commitment to follow published guidelines from the CDC, other health and government agencies, and THSRA. You must abide by the guidelines to mitigate risk to yourself and other participants.
While we are confident our social distancing, hygiene, and other guidelines will help protect our contestants and staff in the performance of their duties, the responsibility ultimately resides with each participant. To mitigate risk for yourself and others you must practice social distancing and wash your hands throughout the day. We ask that you be honest with how you’re feeling. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home. If you become ill while at the finals, immediately self-isolate and seek medical attention. Individuals who are at a higher risk of infection should consider their own health status before attending a public event.
Access to the Taylor County Expo grounds will be strictly limited to contestants, parents, or guardians only! No siblings, grandparents, friends, or other family members will be allowed access to the facility. Parents, guardians, and contestants must sign a Health and Safety Commitment and Liability Release Form in order to have entry access to the Taylor County Expo grounds. Participation in the THSRA Finals is voluntary. Signing the form is also voluntary.
We believe that it is important for THSRA’s state qualifiers to have the opportunity to compete for state titles and advancement to the NHSRA National Finals Rodeo. However, we must all be responsible and safe to avoid harming ourselves as well as others. You and your families have worked hard to earn your qualification to the THSRA Finals. Congratulations on your achievement! Please help us by doing your part to ensure this event is safe for yourself and everyone concerned.
The cost of producing the THSRA Finals Rodeo in this manner is enormous. Due to the current mandates on gathering sizes, we have added more days to the event. Guidelines on social distancing prohibit our trade show, ticket sales, program sales, and other revenue enhancing events. As such, THSRA is projected to lose money in producing this year’s finals. THSRA will not have the funds available to add the $50,000 cash to our payout. We regret this deeply and we hope that each of you understand. However, each go round, short go round, and average win pay $870 this year for the events that fill up to the 100 contestant limit.
THSRA is proud to announce that $100,000 in scholarships will be awarded to Seniors again this year! Congratulations to all recipients! Announcements on the scholarships will be forthcoming soon.
Once again, congratulations on your achievement in qualifying for the 2020 THSRA State Finals Rodeo! We look forward to seeing you in Abilene. Thanks in advance for your participation and for your cooperation in helping us produce this necessary event.
THSRA Board of Directors.