10 Things to Consider When Designing a Rodeo Arena Layout

Before you can build the rodeo arena of your dreams, you’ll want to put careful thought into your rodeo arena design. Below is a list of criteria to consider so that your rodeo design plan is as foolproof as possible.


  1. What type of rodeo event are you planning to host? Every event requires different site specifications that affect many aspects of the facility, including arena size, dimensions and strength of rodeo panels, stock penning requirements, arena access requirements, and any specific stock chutes you may need.

  2. Will the rodeo arena be for public or private use? Getting livestock in and out of pens typically is a lower priority for private events than for a public event. Increasing the efficiency and speed of this process can be achieved through investing in the right equipment, such as return alleys, arrow pens, and bucking chutes. Check out Farm Ranch Store’s rodeo accessories to start taking inventory!

  3. Will you need any pens for holding rodeo stock? The need for pens depends on whether the arena is for private or public use. Usually for personal use, you can avoid this expense. However, for public use, multiple events hosted means more pens. You will want to consider the number of animals (calves, steers, bucking horses, bucking bulls) involved and be prepared to give the pen contractor information on number of pens needed, number of stock per pen, supplying access to feed and water, and the need for load-in, load-out facilities.

  4. What kind of rodeo arena panels and gates best serve you? In a nutshell, 5-foot high panels and gates are suited for timed events, and 6-foot high panels and gates are suited for rough stock events.

  5. Will the rodeo arena be indoors or outdoors? The ideal type of lighting will be different for each. Good lighting doesn’t just provide the ability to see; having a well-lit facility is important for the safety of both the public and the animals. Additionally, consider fixtures that are energy- and cost-efficient so that overall operation costs are reduced.

  6. How much does your rodeo arena design plan account for safety? There are more elements to consider if your event space is geared toward the public. Take into consideration location of restricted areas, location of support posts, lockdown of livestock, and even EMS access areas. What is the best way to organize all of these elements to allow livestock and people to flow efficiently and safely through your facility?

  7. What types of vehicle access do you want to allow? Account for enough space in your rodeo arena design to allow successful navigation and parking for cars, trucks, and other vehicles.

  8. How carefully does your rodeo arena design maximize spectator/participant ease of use and enjoyment? Is the rodeo arena site on a graded landscape and prone to retaining mud? Which direction minimizes sun exposure/glare for both spectators and participants? How easily can spectators get from their cars to seating? Can you map out how each type of user is expected to navigate around the arena? For instance, a spectator should not have access to the livestock but should be able to find restrooms easily and quickly. Another example would be a clear path between parking and secure access points for livestock handlers for loading and unloading.

  9. Does your arena require electricity, water, and plumbing? Building a rodeo arena is no small feat, so plan and replan your budget for contractors. Pro tip: Test drive any hired contractors to do smaller jobs so you can evaluate their reliability and quality before entrusting them to do the more complex work that goes into building the arena of your dreams.

  10. Does your town have specific by-laws and compliance with which your structure needs to comply? Eliminate any future complications by knowing code-compliant requirements up front. This ensures safety and prevents financial repercussions.

This list can be a lot to process during the rodeo arena design phase, but putting forth this effort will save time, money, and pain. Keep the excitement and energy going by looking at the various rodeo arenas Farm Ranch Store offers, and start your planning today!

Richard WahlbergComment