Following unanimous votes by the Las Vegas Events Board of Trustees and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Board of Directors, both organizations announced an agreement to keep the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas through 2024. The new agreement will begin following the 2014 Wrangler NFR.
Per the agreement, LVE will guarantee $16.5 million annually in purse and sponsorship for the Wrangler NFR. From 2015-19, the contestant purse will be $10 million, while stock contractors will receive $3 million annually. The contestants will be guaranteed $10,000 each year, which will not be offset by contestant winnings. From 2020-24, there will be cost-of-living increases to each purse and guarantee.
Additional elements of the agreement include a season-long sponsorship program with the PRCA, presenting sponsorships of the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo and 12 RAM Circuit Final Rodeos, as well as the National Finals Steer Roping, if it is held in Las Vegas.
“Perhaps the best aspect of this agreement,” said PRCA Chairman of the Board Keith Martin, “is that it benefits every PRCA member — contestants, stock contractors, committees and contract personnel. There is an investment here to advance the PRCA’s circuit system and help the sport continue to grow.”
Fallon native and back-to-back world champion heeler Jade Corkill said he was upset the NFR could have switched to Florida. Corkill, though, was distraught with the lack of representation by the athletes.
“I don’t care where it goes but we wanted another seat on the board so contestants have a say in things and some other stuff,” he added. “We didn’t get any of that. Nothing changed other than a little bit more money.”
As for the event staying in Nevada, Corkill said, “That’s all it does is make it easier for someone from Nevada to watch.”
Las Vegas, meanwhile, outbid Orlando to keep the NFR in Sin City.
“For nearly 30 years, Las Vegas has built a strong partnership with the PRCA and its contestants,” said Bill McBeath, chairman of the Las Vegas Events Board of Trustees. “This new agreement clearly demonstrates the commitment that Las Vegas has to the PRCA, to the overall growth of the sport of rodeo and to the contestants. We feel that the new agreement is beneficial to all parties, and we’re very pleased to continue to host this iconic event for an additional ten years.”
“This is truly a historic day for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the sport of professional rodeo,” said PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman. “The PRCA Board of Directors and this administration has been through a long and at times painful process of due diligence and careful consideration in looking out for the very best interest of every member of this association and this great sport.”
The Wrangler NFR, known as the richest and most prestigious rodeo in the world, has sold out 270 consecutive performances and attracts the top 15 contestants in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Qualification is based on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Standings.
In 2013, the event had a total attendance of 176,558 over the ten days of competition in Las Vegas, resulting in a non-gaming economic impact of $87.9 million for the destination.
“Since 1985, more than one million visitors have traveled to the world’s premier destination to experience the energy and excitement of two great brands – Las Vegas and the NFR,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “This new agreement will ensure NFR and its loyal fans will be back to Las Vegas for another decade of unrivaled experiences.”
In 2014, the Wrangler NFR will run from Dec. 4 through 13 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Thomas Ranson contributed to this report.