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November 24, 2014

Giving by Texas Rodeo Charity Plunged Before Shutdown

A Texas organization that put on an annual rodeo to benefit children's charities and donated millions of dollars in its early years was devoting less than 10 percent of revenue to mission programs by the time it closed this year, according to The Dallas Morning News. The Texas Stampede, which operated for 13 years, laid off its staff in the spring and now faces lawsuit threats from unpaid vendors.

The Stampede drew large crowds for its rodeos featuring cowboys from the national circuit and received $300,000 from the City of Allen, Tex., which hosted the event from 2010 to 2013 and was to have done so again this month. But the organization consistently received zero-star ratings from nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator and in 2012, the last year for which tax records were available, spent about a dime per donated dollar on grants to charities.

Stampede officials said rising expenses and falling corporate sponsorship in the wake of the recession made it increasingly difficult to keep up donations to the Children's Medical Center Dallas and other beneficiaries. A spokesman for the hospital said it received nearly $2-million from the Stampede up to 2006 and less than $50,000 over the next five years, after which the two entities cut ties.