Mickey Mouse won’t be running with the bulldoggers anytime soon.
The National Finals Rodeo, which has become a routine destination every December for a host of Wise County’s professional cowboys and cowgirls, will remain in Las Vegas through at least 2024.
Reports surfaced last month that the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) board of directors was working on a deal to move to Orlando, Fla., after they rejected a proposal by Las Vegas Events to retain the event. The board also flirted with a move to the Metroplex, which would have placed the Finals in the backyard of many of the world’s top competitors.
“I have to give credit to Dallas and Orlando,” said Pat Christensen, president of Las Vegas Events. ‘They both put together incredible offers, and that has not happened before.”
But last Friday, the PRCA board came to an agreement with Las Vegas Events that will guarantee an annual purse of $16.5 million for the next 10 years beginning in 2015.
Las Vegas has hosted the NFR for 29 years. The 2014 event is slated for Dec. 4-13 at the Thomas and Mack Center.
A degree of uncertainty still lingers around the PRCA’s future, however, since a large contingent of professionals, including local stars such as K.C. Jones, Trevor Brazile and Tuf Cooper, joined a group called Support Rodeo Contestants.
The group threatened to break away from PRCA and form their own professional rodeo organization by the 2015 season unless the athletes are given more of a voice in the PRCA decision-making process.