IAFE 2011: And the winner is…

Anyone who knows me knows I love an awards ceremony (the Grammies being my favorite, followed by the Oscars when they don’t drag on too much). So I was really looking forward to the awards ceremony at IAFE.

I was particularly excited, because I had gone to Springfield in October to judge the marketing awards (but luckily had subsequently forgotten most of the winners, so it was like new again!). The branding for fairs is so fun, and I love the challenge of conveying the magic of the fair across all the different mediums.

One category, however, that I didn’t judge was websites. And so I was 100% surprised and honored when our websites won two awards!

Rodeo Austin took first place in their division for their website, and this was a particular honor since it was their second year in a row to win. I think this is a first, and we’re so grateful to be their partner!

Also, in a total surprise, Brazos Valley Fair & Expo took third place in their division. Not bad for an event that hasn’t even happened yet!

We appreciate the hard work that goes into creating and maintaining an event site, so we would like to congratulate all of the first place winners in the five divisions.

Division 5:  Erie County Fair, NY
Division 4:  Indiana State Fair
Division 3:  Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo (Rodeo Austin)
Division 2:  Clay County Agricultural Fair, FL
Division 1:  Canyon County Fair, ID

Of course, it feels good to win, and we look forward to working with our clients to create even more award-winning websites next year!


Rodeo Austin Wins Again!

Saffire is proud to announce that one of our clients, Rodeo Austin, has won a 2011 W3 Gold Award!

The W3 is the first major web competition to honor innovation and creative excellence for everyone from the smallest agencies to Fortune 500 companies.  Check out the Winners Gallery to see other projects recognized by W3.

The W3 is sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts.  IAVA members include executives from organizations like Disney, Coach, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Microsoft, MTV Networks, Yahoo! and more.

The  Saffire team is very excited about this achievement.  We want to thank Rodeo Austin for trusting our award-winning software to create their website and congratulate them on this accomplishment!

2011 Global Rodeo Conference

I just got back from the Global Rodeo Conference in Omaha, Nebraska and I’m so excited to tell you about the great experiences I had on September 22-23.  I attended the conference to give a presentation called “Is Your Website All Hat and No Cattle?”

It focused on the importance of Google being able to find websites, the benefits of using social media and how web design can help increase revenue online.  I was especially happy to see that our friends from Rodeo Austin, were in Omaha for the conference!  I really appreciated their support for my presentation and it was great to see them.

Although my presentation went well, my trip ended up being about so much more! I was thrilled to learn as much as I could about rodeo from the other speakers.  One of the presentations was given by the Vice President and COO of Rodeo Houston, Leroy Shafer.

He gave the history of the rodeo from the time it was established in 1931 and how they now run the biggest rodeo in America. It was great listening to their story of success over the years from someone who has actually been there through it all.  He mentioned how the current rodeo audience is growing older and it made me realize the necessity and relevance of the work we do here at Saffire. Online marketing reaches a younger crowd and will help keep rodeo relevant.

I was also thrilled to meet so many great people in attendance at the conference. After working with Rodeo Austin, one of my favorite things to do is to listen to how different committees make their rodeos tick and how each of them are unique in their own way. By the end of my time in Omaha, I felt like I knew so much more about how rodeo works, and I really enjoyed meeting a lot of new friends.

Finally, since the conference was going on at the same time as the 2011 Justin Boots Championship Rodeo & the Ak-Sar-Ben 4H Stock Show, I had to go see some of the action! (You all know I’m a rodeo girl at heart!) I had the chance to see some of the animals out back behind the conference center and some of the cattle in the livestock show.  At the end of the two day conference, I felt that the Global Rodeo Conference was not only fun but also such a learning experience.

I want to personally thank the members of the Association of Rodeo Committees for allowing me to participate!  I had a wonderful time and can’t wait until next year!

Welcome Belton’s 4th of July Celebration and PRCA Rodeo

Our team is happy to join with the Belton Chamber of Commerce to announce our partnership to market the 4th of July Celebration and PRCA Rodeo.

The 4th of July Celebration is a long-standing annual event in the Belton community, celebrating its 87th year this summer. The event includes a kick-off BBQ, a nightly PRCA sanctioned rodeo, as well as a parade, patriotic program and festival.

It has even received the honor of being named “One of 10 Great Places to Fly Your Patriotic Colors on July 4th” by USA Today.

When the Belton Chamber of Commerce decided it was time for a new 4th of July Celebration website, they chose to work with Saffire.

“We believe Saffire is the right match to bring our July 4th Celebration and its historic traditions to life online, year round and reach a new generation,” said Stephanie O’Banion, President and CEO of Belton Chamber of Commerce.

The 4th of July Celebration website will incorporate an interactive events schedule to help people find and share the events they want to attend.  The Celebration will also enhance their overall online presence with a cohesive look and feel including a blog, Facebook, Twitter and email marketing template.

It will also include a mobile version of the website so people can access information about the Celebration from wherever they are.

We think this is a perfect match and we can’t wait to help create the website this important event deserves.

The new 4th of July Celebration website is expected to launch in early summer 2011, so stay tuned for more details!

Rodeo Austin Goes Mobile

Event ecommerce and more on Rodeo Austin's mobile site
Mobile Event Website

We couldn’t help ourselves. We simply had to release a new mobile site for Rodeo Austin.

We spent years telling clients “not yet” when they asked about mobile sites, but now that the stars have aligned so that the time is right, we were excited to help them get on the mobile bandwagon!

The Rodeo Austin mobile event website released today. We’re super proud of it. From this site, you can:

  • See a calendar of events by date, event type or location
  • Get directions
  • Buy tickets
  • Sign up for updates

Please visit this new mobile event website from your smartphone at http://m.rodeoaustin.com.

New and Improved Rodeo Austin Website

We just launched several updates to the Rodeo Austin website for this event season, all of which are now in Saffire Websites.

As you can see from the slideshow, we kept all that was great about the site and just made it better.


We added a “Locations” page so you can view all events taking place at a particular location.

We also added a lot of options for Rodeo Austin to control an event page, including all the new tabs in the Admin Site view above like specific event sponsors, important PDFs, URLs, Results and even the order in which all these new features appear on the page.

We also added a way for you to associate particular “Items” with an event.  This can be used in several ways, including selling tickets from various price levels, different times of an event and even different dates of an event.  This allows Rodeo Austin to give their customers even more specific information about an event.

Overall, we are so happy with the site improvements and glad we were able to make the site more user friendly for both visitors and Rodeo Austin!

2011 Austin ADDY Awards

The 2011 Austin ADDY Awards were also Saturday night, and we were so excited to hear the Rodeo Austin website had been nominated for an ADDY!  We did a little party-hopping so we could attend the Rodeo Austin Gala and then run over to hear the ADDY Award announcements.

We were excited to finally take a look inside Moody Theater, the new home of Austin City Limits and the location of the ADDY’s.

There it is!  Our award-winning website.

Kendra and Jessica showing off our entry!

Jeremy was excited when they announced our award with Rodeo AustinSilver ADDY Award Website, Consumer Flash, Service.

The view of the stage from our seats on the front row.

Our team was excited to be among such great company at the ADDY”s including Shiner Beers, Whole Food Market, Frost Bank and many more.  Congratulations to all of the 2011 ADDY Award winners.  Check out the complete list of winners here.

Fun at the Rodeo Austin Gala

Our team had lots of fun at the Rodeo Austin Gala Saturday night!  We were so glad Jeremy and his wife, Shelly, came to Austin to join us.

Kendra and Jeremy are excited to get going to the Gala!

The Palmer Events Center was the perfect location for the evening.

Our table and cute centerpiece

The guys were all smiles when having their picture made with the Rodeo Austin Princess!

Vince Gill did a great job entertaining the crowd.

Jeremy and Shelly danced the night away to Vince Gill and Jack Ingram.

A Wright Strategies team picture (We missed you Aaron, Justin, Chris and Mike!)

These cupcakes were delicious!

The Austin Office Girls

Lauren and Shane

Thanks for a great evening Rodeo Austin!  We’re already looking forward to next year.