By Sophia Mora
SAN ANTONIO- The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo faced changes this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that benefited the livestock animals.
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo will be available to attend until Sunday, Feb. 28. However, things will look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes implemented this year not only affect the public, but also the livestock animals involved.
“This year in our stock show season, it looks so different, because only the exhibitors and parents are allowed,” said Raymond Ramirez, Agricultural science teacher at Pleasanton High School.
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo are asking for individuals to be adaptable. Contestants must comply with the new protocols such as wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing and those over the age of four must undergo temperature screenings.
“The biggest challenge is being adaptable and dealing with the unknown,” said Ben Espy, Head of Veterinary Services for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. “I think most people like the predictable 9-to-5 job, and this is the farthest thing from it. There’s some days we see zero animals and there’s some days we see 12 and you never know which day that it’s going to be.”
The new regulations set in place resulted in less individuals allowed to attend and work the rodeo. Concerns have been raised about the number of staff members available to help care for the animals if needed. However, the limited number of staff and attendants proved to be beneficial for the livestock animals.
“I can see it being beneficial to the animals because they aren’t surrounded by loud noises or a ton of people trying to touch them,” said Selena Bernal, Our Lady of the Lake University Biology major and livestock judge for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. “This can cause a less stressful environment for them. Especially because of the limit on contestants… this works out when you have a steer who doesn’t take to unknown environments well.”
Bernal said that the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has done a great job of ensuring that there are enough people to help with the animals if needed.
Another change implemented this rodeo season is the nighttime rodeo will once again be held in the Freeman Coliseum instead of the AT&T Center. It’s been held at the AT&T Center since 2003. Those in attendance must wear face coverings. There will also not be a carnival or fairgrounds held at the rodeo this year.