USAG Rheinland-Pfalz brings rodeo to KMC

by Stefan Alford
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs
U.S. Army photoA Western theme is part of the event at the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz sponsorship rodeo.
U.S. Army photo
A Western theme is part of the event at the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz sponsorship rodeo.

Don’t let the hay bales, lassos, saddles and cowboy-hat wearing hosts fool you, the upcoming garrison rodeo is less a physical sport and more a mental activity.

Knowledge and information are the goals, but similar to a traditional rodeo, participants will be steered through timed events at the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Total Army Sponsorship Program Rodeo from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Armstrong’s Club on Vogelweh Housing.

“We’ll have 14 information booths set up that folks will rotate through every 15 minutes,” explained Ivor Watson, chief of the Military Personnel Division and coordinator of the event.

Those booths will be staffed with experts in areas ranging from unit and spouse sponsorship to child and youth sponsorship, as well as civilian sponsorship, community reception and more.

The purpose of the sponsorship rodeo is to ensure Army leaders have the knowledge and tools necessary to create and maintain an effective sponsorship program within their units, Watson explained.

“The rodeo is not intended as a training or informational event for sponsors,” Watson clarified. “Rather, it is intended for military and civilian leaders, supervisors, family readiness group leaders and unit sponsorship coordinators, to provide them information and tools to improve their organizations’ sponsorship programs.”

The garrison’s sponsorship rodeo is for the Kaiserslautern and Baumholder military communities and is the result of a 2015 U.S. Army in Europe Inspector General finding that USAREUR needs to improve the effectiveness of its sponsorship program. USAG Rheinland-Pfalz took the lead in organizing the first sponsorship rodeo last July.

Watson believes attendance at this year’s Rheinland-Pfalz rodeo should double the roughly 200 participants from the first iteration, with an increased emphasis on targeting first-line supervisors, commanders at all levels, first sergeants, sergeant majors, command sergeant majors, civilian supervisors, and Unit Family Readiness support assistants, liaisons and group leaders. He emphasized that attendees should arrive no later than 11:30 a.m. to be able to rotate through all the booths by 2:30 p.m.

“It’s important because effective sponsorship contributes to unit and individual resiliency, readiness, cohesion and esprit de corps by properly integrating them into units and communities,” said Lydia Pete, Ready and Resilient Program specialist. “It contributes to a stronger team, Soldier, civilian and family.”