Kept in the barn because of COVID in 2020, the Total Army Sponsorship Rodeo wrangled by U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz is out of the gates with a new format and approach for 2021.
In the past, the human resources team conducted the TASP Rodeo, which started in 2015, inside Armstrong’s Club with about 14 different agencies shaking hands, building relationships, and providing information to unit leaders on sponsorship training and support.
Wagons had been circled to make the TASP Rodeo a virtual event in 2020. However, COVID bucked organizers off that horse at the height of the pandemic. With another year to brush the dust off and saddle up, organizers expect this year’s virtual event to be a winner.
“We would love to have an in-person TASP Rodeo,” said Ivor Watson, USAG RP military personnel division chief. “That’s simply not possible. We have a great alternative to get the sponsorship information out to unit leaders from around the Kaiserslautern Military Community.”
Watson emphasized that the rodeo is not sponsorship training. It’s a way for organizations to brief commanders, command sergeants major and first sergeants on how the Soldiers working for them can be better sponsors.
Tracey Jackman, USAG RP sponsorship coordinator liaison, said having a command team championing the sponsorship program and having a good sponsor is vital to a newcomer.
“The sponsor can make or break your whole assignment in Germany,” Jackman said. “Being a sponsor is not just a title a Soldier has. Someone will need a battle buddy to help with paperwork, groceries, and rides to and from appointments. I’ve been here two months and I don’t know what I would’ve done without my sponsor. She’s been a blessing. That’s why we want command teams to buy into the TASP Rodeo.”
Watson and Jackman said moving overseas is “like night and day” when compared to moving to a new base within the U.S. They cited examples like adults not being able to drive until they get a military driver’s license, a language barrier, basic customs, foreign currency, and finding dozens of offices on eight geographically separated kasernes as challenges.
“I think our garrison is unique among other Army garrisons,” Watson said.
He added that because this year’s event is virtual, Soldiers already appointed as sponsors can join the meeting, conducted via Microsoft Teams, and learn what’s available.
“We want to tell every single Soldier in this community about the Sponsorship Rodeo,” Watson said. “Now, you may think you’re not a leader, but that doesn’t stop you from logging on, asking questions and learning if you have the time.”
The 2021 TASP Rodeo is currently slated for April 21. Anyone with questions should call Jackman at DSN 541-1010 or 0611 541-1010.
“Being a sponsor is not just something they’re assigned to do,” Jackman said. “It’s a whole frame of mind.”