CREATED Feb. 23, 2013
Reporter: Liz Kotalik
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's Mary Wilkinson's second year painting faces at the Tucson Rodeo.
It not only makes her happy, but it also makes her business, Happy Faces Face Painting, lots of money.
"Business has had its ups and downs with the economy," Mary says, "but it seems to be on the rise right now. The more that I do, the more exposure I have."
And that exposure comes from her work at the rodeo.
She paints faces, gives out cards, and in turn, she gains clients.
"I'm seeing people the same as from last year telling me, you painted my face last year, and that maybe we won't have to wait another year. We'll see you at a birthday party!"
It's a recipe for success that many local vendors can relate to.
"This is where you meet up with a lot of people that have a need for your product," says Denise Suratt, co-owner of D&S Custom Leather
. "They can see what kind of work we do, see that we're local and pass out cards and take orders."
Denise has brought her business to the rodeo for seven years now.
She says she relies on events like these to keep her business going.
"It just...it's not possible to not have the rodeo. We wouldn't...I don't know what we would do without the rodeo."
Denise and Mary are just two out of over 100 vendors at the rodeo this year.
While there are vendors here who aren't local, any rodeo business ends up helping our community.
"Our rodeo brings lots of folks to town for the event and we have about a 16 million dollar economic impact on the Tucson community," says Bill Schurg, the chairman of the Tucson Rodeo Committee.
Schurg says with all the money the rodeo collects, the committee puts about $200,000 back into the community.