Rodeo plates benefit school clubs, charities |

Rodeo plates benefit school clubs, charities

Teri Vance

The “Rodeo State” license plates are more than just a freeway fashion statement.

In addition to benefiting the Reno Rodeo Association’s charities, half of the proceeds from the personal plate go to supporting high school rodeo clubs in the state.

Unlike most other Nevada high school sports, rodeo contestants have to pay to play. Their uniforms aren’t provided by the school,

their transportation costs aren’t covered.

“I always say a football player doesn’t have to pay the trainer, but these kids have to pay the vet,” said Dr. Greg “Lightning” Williams, a member of the Reno Rodeo Association Executive Committee.

As a result, he noticed in the 1990s, very few Nevada kids were competing in the National High School Final Rodeo.

“We weren’t on par with other states,” he said.

So he came up with the idea of marketing a personalized rodeo plate. It passed the Legislature in 2001 and began circulating in 2003.

Steve Schroeder, director of communications for the Reno Rodeo who helped develop the plan for the license plate, said the program is in line to generate

$1 million by October.

Half of that goes to the charitable fundraising arm of the Reno Rodeo Association and the other $500,000 is distributed among rodeo clubs in the state.

Schroeder said the clubs use the money at their own discretion, usually for travel expenses and entry fees.

The license plate costs $61, and the renewal is $30.

Williams said he is pleased with the popularity of the plates that feature a cowboy riding in a purpled sunset.

“I like it when I see them on black Mercedes convertibles or ’82 pickup trucks,” he said. “They may not know where the money goes, they just like it because it’s Western.

“Through this program, a lot more kids are able to participate in rodeo.”