In the latest string of top leadership to step down from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, since COVID-19 caused the rodeo to shut down pre-maturely, the chairman of the board – Jim Winne has just stepped down:
In his letter sent out to volunteers, he writes:
“Today is a bittersweet day for me as I end my term as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Chairman of the Board. As I reflect on the amazing opportunities I have had during my 40 years with the Show, I wanted to reach out to you as a part of my Rodeo family and share my thoughts and gratitude.
First and foremost, I will remain close by and will continue to be an active part of the Rodeo volunteer community, but my role will certainly change. What won’t change is how I feel about this organization, my fellow volunteers and the impact both have had on my life.
I joined the Rodeo because it reminded me of my childhood. I grew up around rodeos and don’t remember a time when I wasn’t involved in some aspect of some rodeo. Being a native Texan and Houstonian, it was only natural for me to gravitate to the biggest and best rodeo of them all. Little did I know how much my life would be changed for the better by becoming an HLSR volunteer. I have created life-long friends and have met and worked with people I now consider part of my family. The people that I started with on the Calf Scramble Donors Committee are still some of my best friends. And, many of you know, I met my wife, Lynda, on that committee which literally changed my life for the better.
As I reflect on my experiences, the blessings are many, but they all have one thing in common – and that is the relationships that are created by being part of this Rodeo family. This family has celebrated with me through the best of times and been there for me at the most difficult times in my life. For all these reasons, I am very grateful.
As I step down, I want to share with you what I believe makes this Rodeo family such a great community. This is a people business. Yes, it involves education, animals, agriculture and lots of fun opportunities to socialize and enjoy great food and music. But at the end of the day, it’s the difference that we make in the lives of people that keeps me committed and coming back for more. We change the lives and futures of young people and make a profound impact on their families. It is a big deal! I know, because parents tell me repeatedly how appreciative they are of what we do for them. We create community for our community. It brings people together in a way that few other things do. When we were shut down for the first time in our 88-year history, the community grieved along with us. I am so proud to be one of thousands of volunteers that make this Rodeo what it is. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and are some of the smartest, most dedicated, hardest working people you will ever have the pleasure of working alongside.
Along the way, I have gained lots of wisdom through both failure and success. Some of my most important lessons are worth sharing.
Show up and do your best. We rely on each one of you to put in your best effort. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because those help us to learn.
Be part of the solution, not the problem. This is a big operation with lots of people and parts. There are inevitably going to be problems. We need your help in identifying the problems as well as creating solutions.
Give what you can and stay involved. Some years I was very involved and, other years, my life outside of the Show took priority. We understand that there is a balance and we support that.
Know that what you do matters. Every person is critical to the Show’s success. No matter how small you may think your contribution is, it all makes a difference! We literally could not do it without you.
I guess, what I am really trying to say is thank you. Thank you for all you do. Thank you for showing up when it is hard. Thank you for making a difference. Thank you for supporting me through it. It has been an honor to serve you and this great organization. I look forward to continuing to serve along with you. ”
While it sounds like he will be staying behind to help out, the fact that he is not the first of top leadership to leave since COVID-19 forced the rodeo to close early is a bit of a red flag. How COVID-19 forces us to change is still yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure: Life will not be the same, especially for rideshare drivers.