Hi everyone! My name is Jimmie Smith, and I am addicted to saving money.
Whew, now that we got that out of the way here is a little bit about me that you should know before we get into the important stuff:
- I am 22 years old and just graduated from the greatest university in the world. Whoop!
- I have a bachelors degree in agricultural communications and journalism from Texas A&M University
- I am currently pursuing my masters degree online at Texas A&M Commerce.
- I competed on the TAMU rodeo team all four years of college, qualifying for the College National Finals in three different events three different years!
- I am finishing my fifth year and last semester of college rodeo currently, while I am also pro rodeoing.
- I had the goal of winning rookie of the year at the beginning of 2018, but with a late start and not buying my card until December it really put me behind and I didn’t have a chance to get into any of the winter rodeos.
Now, deciding that you want to rodeo isn’t just a decision you make on a dime, because guess what?
Rodeoing is EXPENSIVE!
I have had a “rodeo account” opened at my bank since I was six years old. That account was for any winnings, horses sold and miscellaneous income that earned in this industry. That account is also what my entry fees, fuel, feed, shoeing and vet bills come out of. So, when I decided to at least try to give the Fourth of July run a shot, I knew I had enough money put away that I would be able to go to those rodeos and be okay…even if I didn’t win anything.
Good thing, because I sure didn’t win ANYTHING besides a nice 14th place check from Oakley, Utah – Ha!
So, here is tip #1 and probably the most important:
Cook your own food and take advantage of eating at the hospitality tent.
Eating out becomes so expensive, especially if you’re stopping for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I know cooking in the trailer seems like such a pain, but it saves money – A LOT of it! It’s so easy to cook some chicken and freeze it so when you’re ready to eat it all you have to do is warm it up and add some veggies, rice, salad, or noodles. Trust me, it’s super easy – if I can do it, you can too.
For breakfast, we usually rotated each week. Some weeks we would make a breakfast casserole from Pinterest, then the next week we would get frozen fruit to keep in the freezer and make smoothies. We have a mini blender in the trailer from Walmart that was like $20. I also like to keep Uncle Bens Ready Rice packets and mac-n-cheese stocked in the trailer. Although they aren’t very healthy, they’re super easy if you’re in a hurry.
I learned very fast that lots of the hospitality tents LOVE serving BBQ. To this day, I cannot eat pulled pork, because I had so much this summer. I also learned that a lot of them really take the time and serve the contestants wonderful meals. Eating dinner at the hospitality tent easily saves $20-$30 compared to going out to eat.
*Bonus Tip: If you’re like me and eat ALL the time, take a to-go plate to eat after your run also.
Now don’t get me wrong, when you have down time at rodeos to go out to eat with friends is a
must! You make some of the greatest memories on the road with friends around the dinner table.
Install the Gas Buddy app
Diesel is expensive, and when you have to fill up multiple times a day, it helps to save every penny you can. The Gas Buddy app loads each gas station within whatever town you’re in with the fuel prices. You’re able to check which is the cheapest and where it is located. This was a lifesaver and helped save a bunch!
So, if you have read this far you may be getting bored, so let me amuse you with a comical story in the life of Jimmie. If you know me, you know that I do anything and everything to save money any way possible. Sooooo, one day in Dodge City, Kansas after we set up panels and got horses settled, I put a bag of shavings down for Lena, my mare, hoping she would lay down and rest. Fast forward two days…..Lena has not touched her shavings – she won’t go near them! I was so frustrated. So, me being me, I get the shavings bag out and put them back in the bag – Yes, this is a true story, but wait it gets better! – We go through this process again. Put the shavings down so she can rest, Lena doesn’t go near them again. So, for the second time now I pack the shavings back up to try again. Let me remind you a bag of shavings from Tractor Supply is only about $6, but when you’re two months into the summer and have only won about $3,500, that $6 means a lot! I promise. It didn’t happen a third time because she finally used them, thank goodness!
Set up pens/panels
I would highly recommend investing in a set of panels or electric fence if you plan on rodeoing. It is so easy to set up pens outside your trailer instead of paying for stalls. It’s a personal preference on which you want to use – last summer I used my panels, this year for Christmas all I wanted was electric fence, and Santa pulled through!
Now that we got all the serious stuff out of the way, don’t forget to have fun while you’re traveling to rodeos. If you have down time be sure to explore the town. My favorite stop this summer was after the rodeo in Canby, Oregon, when we were able to spend a day exploring Portland. It was so beautiful and a ton of fun to get away from the rodeo scene for a few hours.
Those are my tips for rodeoing on a budget — fresh out of college — chasing your dreams — saving $1 at a time.
Thanks for reading,
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”