Five Minutes with Jill Ramirez, Co-Founder of the Texas Corgi Roundup

by Grayson Mask on September 6, 2023 in Entertainment,

The Texas Corgi Roundup is a full-day charity event set to take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 11, 2023, at Smith Ranch in Katy, Texas. Its purpose is to unite corgi enthusiasts while supporting two dedicated non-profits – Wyoming Dachshund and Corgi Rescue and Bandit’s K9Care. The mission of these organizations is to rehabilitate corgis across Texas. Bandit’s K9Care also aids pet owners during emergencies, ensuring no critical decisions need to be made solely based on financial constraints. Co-founder Jill Ramirez was nice enough to discuss the upcoming event and what moves her forward.


Can you share a bit about your background? Are you a Texas native or did you grow up somewhere else?

I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved west when I was about 15 years old. I ended up meeting my spouse who lived in Florida at the time. We ended up in Texas as it was common ground between Florida and Nevada. This is how Texas became home.

Regarding your involvement with corgis, do you own any corgis? Did you have corgis growing up? How did it all start?

Ever since I was little, I was obsessed with corgis. I knew a corgi was going to be one of my first dogs. They somehow represent me as a person because of their short, stubby legs. I’ve had five corgis so far in my lifetime. Unfortunately, two of them passed away young due to autoimmune disorders. Currently, I have three corgis. My passion for them really grew with my heart dog Beanie, who passed away at the age of four because of a rare autoimmune disorder. This unfortunate event led me to an organization called Bandits K9Care. They help people with emergency vet bills and helped raise over $15,000 to try to save her. This experience is my driving force behind helping them because I want to ensure other people have help when in financial hardships.

Bandit’s K9Care, one of the event’s beneficiaries, helps people with emergency vet bills. Photo courtesy Texas Corgi Roundup.

Can you explain your decision to focus on corgis, both in terms of your personal affinity which started in childhood and your involvement with nonprofit organizations?

That’s a good question. Our event welcomes all dogs, not just corgis, and Bandits K9Care helps all breeds. The inspiration for the Texas Corgi Roundup comes from other events like the SoCal Corgi Beach Day and the Florida Corgi Picnic, which raise funds for specific Corgi rescues. My thought behind this was to help all dogs, not just corgis. However, corgi owners are a unique breed. We all share a strong bond and love for corgis, making these events a fun time.

The organization started in 2016. What was the reception when you had this idea? Was it easy to build a team of like-minded individuals to help with the first event?

When we first started, it was predicted that we would be lucky to attract 50 corgis. The committee was small then and it’s still relatively small now, consisting of me, my wife, and a few friends. We’re all corgi moms who met through an online Facebook group. In the first year, we learned from scratch how to organize this event. To our surprise, we had 326 corgis show up in the first year, and the numbers have grown since then, reaching over 900 in the third year. We are hoping to cross the 1,000 mark this year.

Several corgi contests are held at the event. Photo courtesy Texas Corgi Roundup.

Each event must have led to certain changes based on community reception. From the first event, were there any significant lessons learned? Was there anything that people loved that you brought to the subsequent events? Similarly, was there anything that people didn’t like that you decided to remove?

The first event introduced a hot dog bobbing contest and a costume contest, both of which became fan favorites. We also incorporated corgi races, which was a huge hit. The only complaints we received were regarding the lack of electricity at the park and inadequate parking. We’ve since addressed those issues. The event’s growth has even necessitated a change in location; we used to host it in Temple, Texas, and now we’ve moved it to Katy, Texas.

The Corgi community on Facebook played a significant role in the marketing for your first event. How would you compare the Corgi community with other dog-related communities on Facebook? Would you say the Corgi community is the largest or most collaborative?

I might be biased, but I feel the Corgi community really knows how to come together to help each other, not just financially but emotionally and physically as well. There’s a level of understanding and support in this community that is truly wonderful. Corgis have their unique quirks, but we love them and want to share our love for them with the world.

Corgis compete in a costume contest at The Texas Corgi Roundup. Photo courtesy Texas Corgi Roundup.

Regarding the marketing, your organization has had a feature on BuzzFeed. Would you say this has been the most significant marketing moment for the organization, or have there been other notable features?

The BuzzFeed feature was a significant moment for us, and we hope to have them back, as it greatly contributed to our growth. However, we’ve also been featured in the local Temple newspaper every year and recently had an interview with Dallas Voyage. It’s been exciting to see that we’re not just reaching all of Texas, but we’re attracting attendees from 12 different states. We market to everyone, as we want this event to feel like a big Corgi party. We also host a meet-and-greet on Friday night at a brewery, and an after-party following the event at Pucci Cafe, a dog boutique that serves food for both humans and dogs. It’s an enjoyable weekend for everyone involved.

You’ve mentioned some new features at the next Corgi festival. Are there any other aspects that haven’t been in previous years or anything that you’re particularly excited about?

I’m quite excited about our brand-new venue, Smith Ranch, which is over 40 acres — we’ve never had this much space before. We’ll have multiple food trucks and water spots for dogs, professional photography, and for the first time, a videographer filming the event. Another first for this year is the introduction of sponsors to help with the committee expenses.

The Texas Corgi Roundup expects to have 1,000+ corgis attend this year’s event. Photo courtesy Texas Corgi Roundup.

With so many new features every year, do you have any future goals or aspirations for the festival?

Yes, my aim is to find a venue that can accommodate us comfortably as we continue to grow. I’m also hoping to expand our committee to help manage the event. One wild idea I recently had was to throw a foam party for the corgis, which could be a lot of fun. Feedback from attendees is invaluable to me, as I’m always striving to improve the festival.

As you’ve mentioned, you’re working full-time on this without pay purely out of love. Are there specific areas where you’d appreciate volunteer help, and if organizations are looking to support, how can they get involved?

Yes, we have a volunteer application on our website under the FAQ section. We welcome anyone willing to help, and we assign tasks to volunteers to ease the workload on the day of the event. In appreciation for their help, we give volunteers a Texas Corgi Round T-shirt and cover their lunch for the day.


Cover photo courtesy Texas Corgi Roundup

Grayson Mask is the host of The Platinum Mask, a media outlet where he interviews local Dallas-Fort Worth creatives, entrepreneurs, and activists. Through his podcast and written blog, he hopes to understand the journey and motivations of those that seek to change their local community. Grayson is striving to do more media collaborations with outer outlets across the Lonestar state and hopes to use his writing to advance underrepresented voices.