Rodeo Insurance: What to Know

(Because protection doesn't only apply to the riders.)

How to insure a rodeo

If you're in the rodeo organizing business, you know just how many variables you'll need to account for. Among the most important is easily the insurance policies. 

How to Insure Your Rodeo

Your rodeo has an immense amount of liability exposure due to the participant and public risk factors and, as such, needs to be insured carefully and thoughtfully.

First, you'll need to have your independent insurance agent look at pricing and coverages for your rodeo's specifications. So whether you're running a quaint small-town rodeo or a big old country rodeo, your coverage needs to apply adequately.

Your independent insurance agent will need to know the following to get started:

  • Your rodeo's specifics: What are the hours and dates of operation? What attractions or games will you have on-site? What is each participant charged? What are your gross annual revenues? What type of tear-down and set-up is required, and who's doing it? What type of equipment and machinery is used to run the rodeo? Where are animals kept before, during, and after the show?
  • What are your buildings, equipment, machinery, tents, livestock, vehicles and set-up worth: In other words, what would it cost to replace your rodeo and all the moving parts? 
  • What preemptive protection do you have in place: Are there proper protocols to make sure the public stays in open areas and not in restricted parts of the rodeo? Are there security cameras? What rules for the public and participants does the rodeo have in place and how are they being enforced? Are the participants signing a waiver releasing the rodeo from liability to avoid lawsuits? Does each participant carry their own insurance and provide proof?

When to Insure Your Rodeo

Knowing if you're responsible for securing insurance will depend on your role. You might need insurance in the following scenarios: 

  • If you are on the board of directors for a rodeo
  • If you are on the committee for a rodeo
  • If you are an officer for a rodeo
  • If you are a contestant in a rodeo
  • If you are a volunteer for a rodeo
  • If you are a paid worker for a rodeo
  • If you are a contractor for a rodeo 
  • If you own the land where a rodeo is being held
  • If you have bull riding competitions at the rodeo 
  • If you are a rodeo organizer
  • If you hold a rodeo
  • If you are a rodeo clown

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Steps to Take to Minimize Your Rodeo Risk

By now you should know that the main purpose of insurance, any insurance, is transfer of risk. You're essentially transferring your rodeo's risk to the insurance carrier and paying a monthly, quarterly, or annual premium for the right to tap into their reserves should a claim ever arise. 

In order to offer the best and lowest premiums, insurance companies like to see that you take your rodeo wrangling endeavors seriously. That means they want you to be as proactive as possible in your business in minimizing risk. The more risk you avoid, the more risk they avoid, and they will reward you with lower premiums. 

Some premium-saving, risk-minimizing things to do for your rodeo:

  • Have the public sign waivers absolving you and your rodeo of  the risk of a lawsuit if they get injured, sick or otherwise while enjoying or partaking in the show. 
  • Have signs posted stating and reminding the public and participants that they are enjoying the event at their own risk and your rodeo will not be held liable.
  • Have employees and rodeo hands at every station and attraction on the grounds to properly inform and keep members of the public from harm. 
  • Hold regular safety meetings for all employees, contractors and participants to ensure proper procedures are being adhered to. 
  • Have clearly marked and sectioned off restricted areas to avoid curiosity seekers.
  • Have rules posted, marked and signed by every attendee to avoid confusion and claims.
  • Make sure all children are accompanied by an adult and have rules about that posted.
  • Have all equipment and heavy machinery restricted, disengaged or put out of harm's way to avoid any curious bystanders.

Cost of Insuring Your Rodeo

The cost of insuring a rodeo varies. It depends on how extensive you're rodeo is, who's involved, what safety measures you have in place, and if you are getting proof of insurance from contestants. A rodeo has a lot of moving parts, some literally, and it's a big event to insure with a ton of risk. 

The state sport of Texas and Wyoming is also ranked as the most dangerous sport. Knowing how to insure each facet is your independent insurance agent's job and pleasure. Make them a part of the conversation early on and you won't be sorry. 

What Does Rodeo Insurance Cover, and What Does It Not?

When it comes to insuring a rodeo, you should have a pretty good idea of what goes into it. Now you need to know what the policy will actually cover and what it won't, and who needs one.

What your rodeo insurance generally covers:

Liability coverages:

  • Comprehensive liability: This insurance covers the rodeo grounds during the event against bodily injury or property damage to others while on premises. Typically it provides protection for sponsors, landowners, sponsoring organizations and committees. It may even add liability for contractors if the carrier allows. There are two categories of this coverage, one concerning the spectators, and one concerning the participants.

Two liability types:

  • Spectator event liability: Covers bodily injury and property damage claims by spectators and much more. A nice list of what can be covered is always helpful:
    • Independent contractors: If the rodeo hires independent contracts, first they need to have their own proof of insurance, but just in case, you should have a policy that will cover a lawsuit against them as well.
    • Product liability: This will cover the liability exposure from products sold by the rodeo that may cause injury or illness.
    • Personal injury and advertising injury: If the rodeo falsely accuses, arrests, or slanders someone, or defamation of character occurs, then this is what you need to cover yourself.
    • Contractual liability: You have contracts and you know how to use them, now get insurance to cover disputes that come up when there's a disagreement about them.
    • Set-up and removal liability: This covers set-up and tear-down, you're a traveling shop on wheels, so you better have coverage for in-between.
    • Property damageIf your rodeo is renting the premises and damage occurs, this will cover it.
    • Medical payments: Gives a predetermined amount for medical expenses if someone receives a minor injury while on the premises.
    • Liquor liabilityIf your rodeo is selling liquor, you'll need your own liquor liability coverage. If you are allowing a vendor to sell liquor but they have their own insurance, then you need to have host liquor liability coverage.
  • Participant liability coverage: Protects organizers of the event, including committees, boards of directors and officers, sponsors, landowners, and even contractors against bodily injury liability claims by participants. This one's pretty self-explanatory, if a contestant tries to sue the rodeo, this is the part of the policy that will kick in.
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