Cowboys association makes counteroffer to keep rodeo in Las Vegas

Bareback rider Caleb Bennett on the final evening of the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, at the Thomas & Mack Center.

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The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association submitted a counterproposal to keep the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, after it rejected a previous plan by local event organizers.

Spokesman Jim Bainbridge said the association made its offer to Las Vegas Events on Tuesday afternoon.

The Las Vegas Events board is expected to meet Wednesday to consider the proposal.

In December, the PRCA announced that its board rejected a proposal by Las Vegas Events to extend the rodeo contract in Las Vegas. That same day, Osceola County, Fla., announced it had signed a 90-day memorandum of understanding with the PRCA to move the rodeo to Florida.

LVE perceived the rejection and signing of the memorandum as a decision to move the rodeo, but the PRCA backtracked and said it welcomed further negotiations after some rodeo participants expressed displeasure with moving.

The rodeo has been a staple of the Las Vegas entertainment calendar since 1985. The 10-day event normally starts on the first Thursday of December and extends over two weekends.

The Florida offer said Osceola County would stage the event in a new 24,000-seat arena that would be built and open in time for the 2015 rodeo. This year, the rodeo would be staged at Amway Arena, where the NBA’s Orlando Magic plays.

The rodeo annually attracts thousands of cowboys and fans to Las Vegas for the rodeo and a related attractions.

Last month, the rodeo sold out all 10 of its performances, extending its streak to 270 consecutive sellouts. Annually, the event generates more than $90 million in nongaming revenue in Southern Nevada.

Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events, said his organization would continue work on a new rodeo event to compete with the National Finals Rodeo, if that event leaves Las Vegas.

“It isn’t a road we’d prefer to go down,” Christenson said. “We’d prefer to renew with the PRCA. But on the other hand, yes, it’s an option.”


The Associated Press contributed to this report.