From classroom to horse show events: an internship experience

April 25, 2024

ABEM student comments on her experience interning for the National Western Stock Show in December 2024.


National Western Stock Show 2024
NWSS photo by Greg Westfall/CbarC photography.


Claire Case, 4th year student in the Agribusiness Economics and Management (ABEM) major, was selected as the Winter Intern for the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, CO, in December 2023. For three weeks, she was able to assist in the preparation and production of the Horse Show hosted by the NWSS, which boosted her certainty in her academic and professional pathways. With financial support sought by Claire from AREC, she was able to make this dream a reality by participating in this internship and professional development experience. 

Claire’s initial goal of earning an internship with NWSS was due to its distinguished reputation in the western U.S. Claire explained, “The show has a unique connection in educating the general public about the agricultural industry in new ways.”  

The NWSS is a non-profit organization that is well known for hosting national stock shows, rodeos, horse shows, and other competitive event shows. With these event shows, approximately 700,000 people from the general public are immersed in educational community engagement each year due to NWSS’s valued themes of agriculture support and rural education. 

Claire’s Experience with NWSS 

The average day for Claire included starting bright and early and working on an array of tasks evolving differently for each event planned into the late evening. On some days, Claire was tasked with creating and composing articles, interviewing exhibitors, gathering media content, and photography. On other days, it was filled with preparing materials and meetings, editing scripts, and setting up and breaking down ongoing events.  

Claire explained that some days, she was appointed as the lead intern to coordinate and execute the planning and handling of an event. This was the most rewarding part of the internship says Claire, “was the culmination of my hard work: the finale of the events I produced. This took attention to detail, critical thinking, creativity, and initiative to ensure a successful production.” 

Moving forward, after interning with NWSS, Claire plans to share the knowledge that she gained back to her community to advance agricultural events and youth involvement. She said, “By seeing how a national event is successful, I have learned new strategies that I can implement in other events I am a part of.” 

AREC’s influence on Claire’s experience 

During the three weeks of the internship, Claire was able to apply many AREC course concepts that she gained over her four years. She explained, “My agribusiness courses have provided me with a strong overview of the skills and factors that go into a successful agribusiness operation. I was able to apply these to the management of specific events during my time at the National Western.” 

Claire’s initial interest in becoming an ABEM major and getting involved with the AREC department was because of Arizona’s rich Western industry. She also mentioned that knowing the department was smaller would allow her to have more hands-on and personal learning opportunities one-on-one with faculty. Claire explained, “I, as well as my future employers, will appreciate the economics component of my degree because of economic knowledge and decision-making ability.” 

Following her graduation, Claire will be furthering her education with a master of Science in Agricultural Communications and Education, which she then hopes to pursue a position involved in the production of youth in Western sports events.  

Advice for aspiring NWSS interns 

Claire shared that the internship position application process included submitting a written application, cover letter, resume, and followed by a Zoom interview, but overall, “this internship was like no other! The networking and tactile knowledge I gained from this internship will assist me in my professional career.” Claire explained that she was not limited to only the horse show department during her internship, she was also involved in the executive office, photography, rodeo, volunteer office, judges, scribes, ring steward, and more. 

Three main advice takeaways from Claire: 

  • Be open to learning from others; don’t limit your learning opportunities 

  • Ask questions and be curious every moment you get 

  • Be open to traveling for an internship 


The entire AREC department congratulates Claire Case on her outstanding internship and undergraduate achievements, as she completes her ABEM degree. Best of luck in your future endeavors, and always remember—Bear Down!