Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson welcomes the crowd at the Dixie National Rodeo (photo from Commissioner Andy Gipson Facebook)
An estimated 200,000 people come for the event each year with an economic impact of over $40 million.
The Dixie National Rodeo, the biggest rodeo event east of the Mississippi River, is bringing entertainment and business to the state in a big way.
Another weekend of events is left to go, but already attendance is high, said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson.
“I can’t wait to see the final numbers,” said Gipson. “I tell people this is the best show on dirt, and thanks to what I call the Yellowstone Effect, people are coming out to enjoy the Dixie National Rodeo in Jackson.”
Rodeo athletes come from all over the world to compete in the Dixie National Rodeo.
“We have between 800 and 1,000 competitors,” said Gipson. “There’s seven different competitions: bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddlebred riding, tie down roping, barrel racing and bull riding.”
The competitors are from all over the United States as well as from Canada, Australia, New Zealand–everywhere around the globe right here in Mississippi.
“We have all this action that drives these big crowds, as well as the entertainment at the end of the two hour show,” said Gipson. “We have all these concerts afterwards. It’s the best deal in town.”
Randy Houser, Chancey Williams, Mark Chestnut, Lainey Wilson, Diamond Rio, Casey Donahue and Chris Lane were the concerts for the 2023 rodeo.
“The Lainey Wilson show sold out in December,” said Gipson.
The rodeo brings top entertainment to the state as well as a huge economic benefit.
“This is a multimillion-dollar economic boom for the state of Mississippi,” said Gipson. “Especially for the Metro area.”
The influx of business is not as short lived as one may think.
“This isn’t just the Dixie National Rodeo, it’s the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo,” said Gipson. “It is actually a six-week event, which we kicked off on January 6th with the Dixie National Cutting Horse show.”
The different events bring their own following, and they’re all cycling in and out through the Metro area over the course of the six weeks of shows and competition.
“We estimate 200,000 people every year will come to this event in Mississippi from all over the country,” said Gipson. “That includes a whole lot of out of state folks.”
Those folks all need a place to stay during the events, which boosts the tourism industry in the area.
“Every year, we estimate about $40 million in economic impact,” said Gipson. “This year, we’re up about 30 percent. I think we’ll see between $50 million and $60 million generated for the state of Mississippi and we’re excited about that.”
Commissioner Gipson has been in office for nearly five years and since then, a lot has changed with the rodeo.
“We’ve built out into the new Trademart,” said Gipson. “We have expos and trade shows…. There’s something for everyone.”
Two years ago, the event had to take a brief hiatus thanks to the ice storm that burst most of the water lines at the Fairgrounds. However, this proved to be a better schedule for the event, so now the livestock show and rodeo spans over two weekends, with a few days to take a break during the week.
“We also dug a well after that,” said Gipson. “So, we have our own water here.”
There is also a much larger police presence at the fairgrounds during events, so that families can feel safe going to the shows.
“I’ve been (at the events) every night with my wife and children,” said Gipson. “And it is very safe. There’s a large, multi-agency police presence.”
The Dixie National Rodeo ends February 18th.