‘Super Bowl’ of Rodeo May Be Coming to Central Florida
By Dr. James Palermo // December 16, 2013
OSCEOLA COUNTY AND THE PRCA HAVE 90 DAYS TO CLOSE THE DEAL
ABOVE VIDEO: Highlights of Round 6 of the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on PRCAProRodeo.
After 29 years in Las Vegas, the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) has a very attractive offer from Osceola County to move the venue of its “Super Bowl” of Rodeo to Central Florida near Disney World and Orlando in 2015.
Las Vegas is in serious jeopardy of losing the prized National Finals Rodeo (NFR) when the PRCA board voted 6-3 Sunday to reject Sin City’s offer to keep the NFR past 2014.
OSCEOLA COUNTY OUTBIDS LAS VEGAS FOR ‘SUPER BOWL’ OF RODEO
The Osceola County Commission met at noon Sunday to approve a memorandum of understanding with the PRCA that they would provide $16 million in annual purses and administrative costs as well as a new 24,000-seat arena, which would be ready for the 2016 NFR.
The board of the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based PRCA voted to pursue the Orlando area as the NFR’s new home.
In a statement, PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman said, “The PRCA Board did not vote to leave Las Vegas; the vote was made strictly on the content of the current offer. The PRCA continues to carefully consider offers from all potential NFR hosts.”
VEGAS OFFICIALS UP IN ARMS ABOUT PRCA’S DECISION
The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events (LVE), which is funded by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and promotes the NFR, called the move “a big mistake.”
“There’s not another market for the NFR like Las Vegas,” Christenson said. “It’s difficult to go further than what we’ve given them. We gave them everything there is.”
In a statement about the PRCA board decision, Las Vegas Events said, “Osceola County exceeded LVE’s offer by more than $4 million. We are disappointed that the PRCA has chosen to pursue a completely speculative offer versus Las Vegas’ proven 29-year track record.”
NFR WOULD BE IN ORLANDO IN 2015
Osceola County Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins, Jr. told the Review-Journal that the PRCA deal with Osceola County is a 20-year agreement but either side may pull out after 10 years, with three years notice.
The 2015 NFR would be held at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando, and in 2016 at a new arena built near the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Osceola County in conjunction with a new American Music theme mega-resort.
The memorandum of understanding allows 90 days to close the deal. In the meantime, Las Vegas will be working to try to keep the rodeo in town, and Dallas and Oklahoma City also are wooing the PRCA.
OSCEOLA COUNTY STEEPED IN RANCHING AND RODEO HERITAGE
Osceola County is the gateway to Disney World and, since 1944, home to the PRCA-sanctioned Silver Spurs Rodeo, one of the biggest rodeos east of the Mississippi River.
The popular Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) drew almost 200,000 people over the 10-day event that wrapped up on Saturday with the crowning of national champions and a pay-out of over 5 million dollars to competitors in seven events.
The NFR has historically pumped at least $60 million into the Las Vegas economy annually. Supporters of the venue change to Osceola County site the demographics of rodeo fans, the area’s proximity to the theme parks, other recreational opportunities and family atmosphere as an even better fit than Las Vegas.
Rodeo fans, keep your fingers crossed that things fall into place over the next 90 days for the ‘Super Bowl” of Rodeo to come to our back yard.