By: Kendall Louis
| photography by Alex Lepe | The 119th Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo begins on Jan. 16 and ends on Feb. 7. Shanna Weaver, in her 14th year as the event’s publicity manager, is expecting a banner year for the Show, with a twist. She and husband, Mark Wandmacher, are expecting baby girl Ella on Feb. 8.
“Perfect timing,” says Brad Barnes, president and general manager of the Show. “One day after the Show ends. Shanna always has good timing.”
The Stock Show’s media center never sleeps during the Show’s 23-day run. The staff field media questions, organize hundreds of livestock photos and submit news releases to hometown newspapers, breed organizations and publications.
Nearly 100 media outlets are approved to receive media-coverage credentials. Weaver provides all outlets contact information so they can reach her day or night. “There are times I’m here as early as 4:30 a.m. and can end up here as late as 10:30 p.m.—whatever it takes,” she says. “It’s important that they know someone is here to help them.”
Weaver is important to the Stock Show year-round, especially during the Show itself, says Bob Watt, Jr., president emeritus of the Stock Show. “Shanna’s a very talented top-notch individual, a hard worker with a sweet personality and a tremendous asset for the Stock Show. Everybody loves her,” he says.
Pam Wright, the Show’s longtime special events manager, agrees.
“The best part of Shanna is what you see is what you get,” Wright says. “Always a smile, she’s the first to dive in to the hard stuff and my first call at the office when I can’t wait to share news—good or bad. And she makes it look so easy. “I wouldn’t want her job for anything!”
Most people wouldn’t.
Weaver oversees an annual media campaign with a value of more than $1.1 million allocated to advertising, including more than 2,300 spots/commercials on more than 26 radio stations, television promotions through NBC 5, thousands of counter cards, posters, souvenir pins, print ads and more than 29,000 day sheets/rodeo inserts for 36 rodeo performances. Last year, the publicity department produced more than 7,500 summer newsletters and 20,000 in the fall.
“We kind of fly under the radar after the Show is over in February,” Weaver says. “We’re out of sight, out of mind, but it takes us until April to close that particular Show, and then we immediately start on the next one. We work all summer long getting sponsorships and working with our livestock folks. By the time we get to October and November, the tone changes. From my standpoint, I’m finalizing all the advertising, making sure all those ads, radio and television spots are being trafficked accordingly. I’m finalizing all the street banners to be hung and getting our editorial together. There’s a lot of production on the timing of the rodeo aspect because there are so many things going on in so many different arenas. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes coordination that nobody sees — nor are they supposed to — just to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
The thing that’s “absolutely amazing” about Weaver is that she can be the same on day 23 as she is on day one of our Show, Barnes says. “Whether it’s meeting the media out here to do a photo shoot at five in the morning or if it’s meeting someone at 10 o’clock at night, she’s always the same — a big smile and making people feel welcome.”
With any event this large, there are challenges. “Juggling daily deadlines, advertising and production schedules and trying to help the members of the media get exactly the story they are hoping for are challenges,” Weaver says. “Early mornings and long days can be a challenge as well. You just do what you can do to get the job done.”
Weaver’s favorite things about the Show, she says: “Knowing that people and families are out here making memories, whether it’s out in the show barns or at the midway, and being involved and working alongside a variety of terrific folks in the community that are dedicated to making this historical show a successful event year after year. I love seeing youngsters’ faces light up when they get to be up close and personal to livestock they might not ever have seen in person and the electricity and anticipation in the air knowing that ‘It’s Stock Show Time in Fort Worth!’”
Weaver says she’s humbled to be a part of something that means so much to so many people in so many walks of life.
Shanna and her husband live in Paradise, Texas. For more information on the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, visit fwssr.com.
By: Kendall Louis