It’s Not Our First Rodeo – The art of doing PR well and what we continue to learn

Mar 21, 2023 | Brand Conversations, Public Relations

A Tribute to Dave Alford

We represent Rodeo Scottsdale. We also happen to really like our jobs when the rodeo comes to town. And that’s because of one man, the cowboy keeping the tradition of the rodeo alive in Scottsdale, Dave Alford.

Dave is everything you’d expect. He’s charismatic and genuine with a good soul and kind eyes. A family man with endless stories, he can attract and keep the attention of any audience in any room – and instantly bring people together. And Knoodle had absolutely nothing to do with that.

There’s a skill to grooming a spokesperson and telling a sellable story. But this isn’t a post or how-to about that. This is a story of how Dave taught us a thing or two about doing PR well. And particularly this year, on the 70th anniversary of the rodeo.

Each year, the client ask is straightforward – line up media interviews to promote the event and sell tickets. This year felt different. And it was. The institution that shaped the town of Scottsdale (and coined it the West’s Most Western Town in the 50’s) celebrated a huge milestone – 70 years.

And we achieved phenomenal media coverage. We worked hard for the media interest and those broadcast segments. We own that success. It’s what we learned as the cameras were rolling and the confirmed interviews kept piling up on one another. When we could take a step back and admire a job done well from behind the camera – that was the teachable moment for us.

Lesson 1 Kick the Dust Up

The rodeo fan base is consistent and strong. Dave knows how to talk to them and also appeal to a broader audience. The first live segment of the week he purposefully stood in front of a Coors banner that read “Live Like a Dutton” and he made sure to reference it to connect with viewers at home and grab their attention. It worked. People were interested.

Lesson 2 Get Back on the Horse

Is too much success a thing? It can seem that way when you sell out all four days of the event – and you still have 10 more media segments to go. We watched in awe as Dave quickly pivoted and provided something new to spectators – a FREE event just outside the rodeo doors with live music, a beer garden, hot food and a giant TV live-streaming all of the action from inside. He stayed relevant and within hours had a block party with 300 new friends. 

Lesson 3 Share a Piece of You

For Dave it’s a family affair and he made sure people knew it. Whether it was referencing his 4 year old grandson leading the stadium in the pledge of allegiance, his daughter breaking barrel records or the team tending to the animals day and night, family and the rodeo became synonymous with each other. Own your story. We all felt it. 

Lesson 4 Stay Humble and Kind

As the doors opened and people came streaming in, Dave was constantly greeted with friends and local celebrities – most of which were pleading for entrance and a seat in the stadium. Steadfast and calm, he accommodated every request. He made a local politician wait as he personally ran to his truck to lend a cowboy hat to a news anchor on-site. He stepped away from the camera just long enough to greet and escort the reporter from the previous day – now off the clock – to front row seats.

Those four days of the year are like Christmas to Dave. But what people don’t know is he spends the rest of the year maintaining the Scottsdale Rodeo Museum and telling visitors, strangers and friends about the deep culture and rich history of the last 70 years of the rodeo. Which also happens to be his own personal milestone of years on this earth. Now, we need to get coverage of that.