To further the legacy of retired Texas Aggie Rodeo coach Al Wagner, Ph.D., the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, S.A.L.E., has made a $300,000 endowment contribution to continue its mission of helping educate youth statewide.
“Dr. Wagner’s legacy is an important part of Texas Aggie Rodeo and its future,” said B.J. Hendler ’00, San Antonio Livestock Exposition executive committee vice president. “We see this as an opportunity to be part of the lives of young people coming up in rodeo whether they go professional or seek careers beyond the arena. On behalf of the more than 6,000 volunteers who make the San Antonio Livestock Exposition possible, this continues our mission of helping educate the youth of Texas.”
The Texas A&M rodeo team was founded in 1949 and is part of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Most recently it became designated as a competitive team within the Department of Animal Science in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. S.A.L.E. has also awarded $835,000 in Rodeo Scholarships since 2011.
“The San Antonio Livestock Exposition continues to enrich and help educate youth across Texas, and we are extremely grateful for their continued commitment to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University,” said Jeffrey W. Savell, Ph.D., vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Continuing an iconic Texas A&M Rodeo legacy
A $1 million capital campaign was launched in 2022, establishing the Dr. Al Wagner ’69 Rodeo Coach Endowment Fund. Wagner, a food technologist in the Department of Horticultural Sciences since 2010, has served as a volunteer rodeo coach for nearly three decades. The endowment fund was established to hire a full-time coach. Wagner plans to retire once a fulltime coach is in place.
The SALE gift funds will go toward the Wagner endowment.
“This is a huge, huge boon to our capital campaign,” said Bret Richards ’01, Texas Aggie Rodeo alumni president. “For many years we talked about establishing a campaign, then made it a reality a little over a year ago. With SALE’s contribution, it’s the biggest swing of momentum to help us get it completed, and exactly at the right time.”
Wagner’s influence weighed heavily on his students, both in the arena and classroom. Richards said, “Dr. Wagner gives thousands in scholarships every year since no team member receives a full [athletic] scholarship. He spreads those scholarships out among the team members.”
As a result, graduation rates for students on the team have been more than 90%.
“That solidified our decision even more,” Hendler said.
‘Golden Age of Texas A&M Rodeo’
Richards said SALE’s gift sets the stage for the rodeo program for the next 100 years.
“We are about to enter the golden age of Texas Aggie Rodeo,” he said. “The key takeaway in our view, is that San Antonio has stepped up in a big way, recognizing the work put in by the team members and the whole program. This gift was in recognition of the program, its goals and wanting to be a partner to help achieve them. They are a big conduit between Texas A&M Rodeo and Aggies everywhere. We couldn’t be more proud.”
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that exists for the benefit of Texas A&M . The Foundation works with former students, corporations and other Texas A&M supporters to match their charitable interests with the university’s priorities. Gifts create scholarships, advance faculty endeavors, enhance student programs and fund new buildings, ultimately creating a brighter future for Texas A&M, one relationship at a time.
The A&M Foundation oversees capital campaign gifts for the Dr. Al Wagner ’69 Rodeo Coach Endowment Fund. Contributions at any level are welcome by contacting Scott Jarvis ’00 at 979-777-0309 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by making an immediate donation in the amount of your choosing via online at Texas Aggie Rodeo.