Fan Festival Debuting at National Finals Rodeo

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(from Sports Business Journal, December 3, 2012) The 28th Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) anticipates another sold out event this week in Las Vegas. This is the first time the event has ever been held in Vegas, and is being held at the Thomas and Mack Center. In previous years the competition has attracted almost 200,000 fans, 45,000 of those fans coming from out of town.

A new aspect being brought to the competition this year is the Cowboy FanFest, located in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The festival will consist of several stages showcasing live auctions, music, booths, and western demonstrations. This new festival will be paired with the annual Cowboy Christmas Gift show, which brings in nearly 400 different vendors.

Another addition to the competition is the TV coverage from Great American Country. This is only the second year the competition has been broadcasted. With the television broadcast the competition airs in about 60 million households.

With 5,300 active competitors and 600 events annually, Karl Stressman, PRCA governing body commissioner, called the past year PRCA’s strongest. Within the year, PRCA had a net gain of 19 rodeos in its season. The annual payout also increased an extra $1 million. This success has caused sanctioning fees and to increase, however, there still remains a positive response to the fees in a down economy.

The rise in attention and participation to PRCA isn’t benefiting just the association itself. To accommodate just the non-ticket holders who come to the National Finals, over 40 hotels and casinos throughout Las Vegas plan to host viewing parties.