January 14, 2014

Dallas, Austin on short list to host National Finals Rodeo

If the NFR leaves Las Vegas, Dallas might be a future host site.

Dallas is among four cities being considered to host the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo when the contract is renewed next year, according to a source.

The American Airlines Center would be the host venue for the sport’s equivalent of the World Series if Professional Rodeo Cowboys Associations organizers opt to move the NFR to Dallas in 2015 after holding it for three decades at Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center, the source said Tuesday.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the American Airlines Center is much better. It’s a state-of-the-art facility compared to an antiquated building,” the source said.

During the past week, a delegation from the PRCA conducted site visits in Dallas, Austin and Orlando, Fla., the source said.

Las Vegas, which has hosted the NFR since 1985, is still negotiating with the PRCA for the contract renewal, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Since 1985, the NFR has been conducted at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus. For the past 29 years, there’s been competition from other cities to host the NFR. It first became clear that this might be the last year Las Vegas would host the NFR when the PRCA Board of Directors voted (6-3) Dec. 15 to reject the terms of the financial offer from Las Vegas Events to extend the NFR contract past 2014.

The PRCA Board voted only on the offer, but not on whether to leave Las Vegas.

The PRCA has fine-tuned the terms of its counteroffer to Las Vegas Events regarding the NFR after 2014 and submitted the counteroffer to Las Vegas officials on Tuesday, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The Orlando area has been a contender for the NFR for the past month. On Dec. 15, Osceola County commissioners met and gave County Manager Don Fisher authority to negotiate with the PRCA to move the annual National Finals there beginning in 2015.

Dallas hosted the first National Finals in 1959 at Fair Park Coliseum. Dallas also hosted the NFR in 1960 and 1961. The NFR was held in Los Angeles from 1962 to 1964 and in Oklahoma City from 1965 through 1984.

American Airlines Center has hosted high-profile rodeo shows within the past decade such as the PRCA’s Texas Stampede and a Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series tour stop.

In recent years, Jerry Jones and AT&T Stadium have been listed as likely candidates to someday host the NFR, but not during this contract renewal negotiation period. Within the past four years, AT&T Stadium has hosted a PBR tour stop called the Iron Cowboy. On the weekend of March 1-2, the Arlington venue will host The Iron Cowboy and The American, a $2 million single-performance rodeo.

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