Sponsorships good for business

Have you noticed? Everybody seems to have a sponsor these days. Before, it was mainly the race car people, but now it’s becoming ubiquitous. Sporting events — like football bowl games — now carry the name of a sponsor. The Sugar Bowl has become the Allstate Sugar Bowl while the Cotton Bow in Texas is now the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

We’re accustomed to seeing race cars and their drivers with corporate logos plastered all over them, but other sports have gotten in the act. The Professional Bull Riders events are called The Built Ford Tough Series, and I notice some of the contestants have logos on their shirts.

The PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) has a long list of sponsors on its website including items like trailer hitches, ropes, boots, hats, even heavy-duty pickups.

Individual contestants also have sponsors. A candy making company is one team roper’s sponsor.

Heck of a deal, right?

Most of these entities and individuals are involved in competitions, but others aren’t. Marketing groups come to mind.

I’ve been thinking about that. For many years ranch people have been having problems explaining their good stewardship of the land, water and animals in their care to an increasingly urban audience. The urbanites can’t seem to wrap their brains around this idea: “If you take care of the land, it will take care of you.”

There’s also what I call the “jealousy factor.” The picture of a cowboy horseback in a pasture at sunset is beautiful. The urban attitude becomes, “If I can’t have that, you can’t either. I’m going to take it away from you.”

We need some photographs of a cow in the bog, a fast-moving grass fire or a newborn calf struggling for life.

CowBelles and CattleWomen (the women of the beef industry) have long had associate memberships. For their donation the associate members are recognized in the women’s newsletters to themselves along with the request to “add these names to your list of businesses to patronize” or “let them know you appreciate their support.”

That’s all well and good, but what if these beef industry women wore shirts with their “sponsors’” logos on them? Logical sponsors would be western wear stores, feed stores, livestock auction markets, grocery stores, vehicle sellers (think pickups and stock trailers) and — most important — banks.

The women’s husbands could wear their sponsor-loaded shirts every time they went to town or, heck, just to the coffee shop.

I guarantee the sight of a sure-nuff cowboy showing up at his sponsor bank with the bank’s logo placed prominently on his shirt, that banker (and all the other people who happened to be in the bank when he came in) would notice.

Local towns have figured it out. Silver City, New Mexico’s May 31-June 5 rodeo is called “1st New Mexico Bank Wild Wild West Pro Rodeo.”

What do you think the reaction would be if the contestants and their families along with many of the spectators showed up for that rodeo wearing logo-covered shirts?