Recreation, Sports, Leisure, Athletics

Amarillo Tri-State Exposition

  • Amarillo, TX
  • www.tristatefair.com

Mission Statement

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.

Main Programs

  1. Tri-State Fair & Rodeo
  2. Scholarship
  3. Demonstration Gardens
  4. Junior Fair Board
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Amarillo TX is centrally located in the Texas Panhandle. The annual Tri-State Fair & Rodeo is the largest event in the region and is the Exposition's major fundraiser. People come from all over the region and several foreign countries to participate in the annual Fair & Rodeo and other events as visitors, vendors, participants and exhibitors. Individuals, families, businesses and other nonprofit organizations use the grounds for their events throughout the year.

ruling year

1985

General Manager

Self-reported

Mr. Virgil Bartlett

Keywords

Self-reported

Fair, Rodeo, Livestock, Rental Facilities, Trade Shows, Nonprofit Use

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Also Known As

Tri-State Fair & Rodeo

EIN

75-0832456

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

County / Street / Civic / Multi-Arts Fairs and Festivals (N52)

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.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

An $8 million annual impact to the area economy and year around facility usage has made the Amarillo Tri-State Exposition an important part of the community. While education is a major focus with scholarships given each year since 2004, there are many other events that showcase our cultural heritage and provide just plain fun. Since its beginnings in 1923, the Exposition has hosted many events that bring people from all over the United States and several foreign countries to compete, exhibit, or just visit. Over 600 community volunteers take part in events on the Exposition grounds, many of whom have been coming for most of their lives. The Tri-State Fair & Rodeo, the Exposition’s major fundraiser, is a tradition celebrating its 90th year in 2013.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

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

Program 1

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 preschoolers 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 things to do during the fair include: a large midway, the new food court, booths, various entertainers 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 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, showing off 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.

Category

Educational Programs

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens

Budget

Program 2

Scholarship

A scholarship endowment was started in 2004. Since then 21 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.

Category

Postsecondary Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Young Adults (20-25 years) -- currently not in use

None

Budget

$18,000.00

Program 3

Demonstration Gardens

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 in the area 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.

Category

Environmental Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Budget

$300.00

Program 4

Junior Fair Board

This board is comprised of 15-20 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.

Category

Youth Leadership

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

None

None

Budget

1275.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

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

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The goal of the Amarillo Tri-State Exposition is to fulfill its mission which is: to provide educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for visitors, vendors, participants and exhibitors of all ages and to make a positive economic impact in the Amarillo community. This is done by hosting the largest event in the region, the nine day Tri-State Fair & Rodeo, and other events held on the fairgrounds throughout the year.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Every September the Exposition hosts the nine day Fair & Rodeo. It is the Exposition’s major fundraiser. This event attracts close 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 and gardening programs.

    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, with free admission with their college ID, to hear some of their favorite regional bands. Active duty military and their families get in free. 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 Endowment.” Since then, 21 students have received financial help from the Exposition. In 2013 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. There is entertainment for all ages. The “Ag Magician” and others put on daily shows that entertain all ages, preschoolers 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 six evenings during the fair.

    Three nights of PRCA Rodeo (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) showcase some of the top contestants in the country, some who 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 new 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 over 6,000 visitors come in early during the week for lunch and many stay to enjoy the entertainment, visit the exhibits, and watch the shows.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    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 since its founding except for suspensions during World War I and World War II.

    The Exposition is governed by an Executive Board of 14 volunteers with a membership board of over a hundred individuals. These 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 15-20 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. Some volunteers have over 50 years of service to the Exposition.

    The annual Fair & Rodeo is only part of the Exposition. The 104 acres of maintained fairgrounds is used year around by many individuals and organizations. Local, regional, national and international events take place regularly with the grounds being used around 230 nights a year. A staff of 17 employees work year around maintaining the buildings/grounds, scheduling events, and hosting visitors.

    In 2000, the Amarillo National Center opened. This state of the art facility hosts equestrian and livestock shows and can be set up for concerts, motor/arena cross, circus’, fundraising parties and etc. Since the opening of the Amarillo National Center, there have been many upgrades to the facilities. With this new building, use of the grounds has increased dramatically. Now, the Exposition Grounds can stable close to 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 was completely remodeled, adding AC/Heating, restrooms with interior and exterior access, new lighting and a sound system. A cover was built connecting the Amarillo National Center with the Cody and 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 and is ready for use for summer and fall horse shows.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The Amarillo Tri-State Exposition has been part of Amarillo for 90 years. Visitors from all around our region and many foreign countries come to Amarillo to be a part of events that are hosted on the grounds each year. According to an old article in the Amarillo Globe-News: “Panhandle farmers and ranchers this fall have had a taste of opulent prosperity—and now they’re coming in to show-off livestock, grains, incomparable blooded animals and the artistry of the rural housewife.” The same is true today, many years later. Millions of dollars are poured into the Amarillo economy with visitors eating in local restaurants, staying in local hotels and shopping in the area.

    The Exposition tracks the usage of the facilities throughout the year.
    Some of the data collected:
    • Usage/ building rentals throughout the year
    • Number of individual events held on the grounds
    • Number of days for each event including set up and tear down
    • Attendance at events
    • Attendance during the fair
    o Number of exhibitors
    o Numbers accessing the Food Court during the fair
    o Gate numbers


    Starting in 2004, the Exposition started giving college scholarships. To date, 21 scholarships in varying amounts have been awarded. The endowment started out at $11,000. Due to the generosity of the community, the endowment Has continued to grow. Three $6,000 awards will be made in September 2013.

    Just two indicators that confirm that the Exposition is fulfilling its mission are that the grounds are consistently being used by the public for educational, cultural and recreational purposes and there is about an $8M impact to the Amarillo economy each year. Each year the Exposition itself pays out around a half million dollars in premiums, awards and scholarships.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    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 endowment started small in 2004. Over the years, it has grown to a point that the Exposition is able to award three $6,000 scholarships in 2013. 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 your 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 topics of interest for many years and especially so with the current drought. 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 was used to irrigate the grounds. In 2011 eight small gardens were set up next to these tanks and irrigated by them. The Exposition has offered these gardens to the community for their personal use and has provided soil, seeds, plants, and irrigation. With mentoring by the Master Gardeners and the former Potter County Texas AgriLife Extension Agent, members of the community have come out to work in the gardens, harvest the produce and use it to feed their families and exhibits 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. The first year of this project went well with the county agent working with the gardeners. He has since moved away and there has not been as much oversight to this program as we expected. The Exposition is working on a plan to correct this issue before next year’s growing season. Since the program was initially set up to be monitored by the county agricultural agent, every effort is being made to have this person monitor the gardens in the future.
    The Junior Fair Board has been a great success with talk about expanding the program. 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.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Amarillo TX is centrally located in the Texas Panhandle. The annual Tri-State Fair & Rodeo is the largest event in the region and is the Exposition's major fundraiser. People come from all over the region and several foreign countries to participate in the annual Fair & Rodeo and other events as visitors, vendors, participants and exhibitors. Individuals, families, businesses and other nonprofit organizations use the grounds for their events throughout the year.

Social Media

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

AMARILLO TRI-STATE EXPOSITION
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

Amarillo Tri-State Exposition

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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General Manager

Mr. Virgil Bartlett

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Gary Fletcher

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?