The first National Finals Rodeo was held in Dallas in 1959. Three years after that they moved to Los Angeles for three years. From there, they moved out to Oklahoma City, where they maintained a home through 1984. In 1985 the National Finals rodeo packed their bags once more and headed out to the entertainment Mecca of America—Las Vegas.
The NFR has remained in Las Vegas ever since and has drawn crowds of thrill seekers from around the world and pumped millions of dollars into the local economy there year after year. For 10 days in December, the NFR fills hotel rooms and pumps money into the economy of Southern Nevada in what is traditionally the slowest time for tourism of the year for the region. But this year the NFR came back home to Texas and that has some folks in Las Vegas worried.
Accompanying the National Finals Rodeo to Texas is a delegation of 12 representatives from Las Vegas who are there to do only one thing—make sure that the NFR returns to Las Vegas next year.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRACA) is locked into a contract through 2025 for the National Finals Rodeo and the associated events surrounding the moneymaker. But that could change and the should things in Dallas go off without a hitch this year at the last minute, the temporary move to Dallas might provide the PRCA with a bargaining chip when the next round of negotiations come up to the table.
With the National Finals Rodeo set to begin in Dallas on Thursday, the folks in Vegas are more than just a little bit concerned about what the future will hold for them and their cushy relationship with the organization.
Officials with the PRCA have declined much comment on the future status of the rodeo in Las Vegas, but they have gone as far to hint that there is at least some conversation about stripping the strip of their annual cash cow event.
Most of that depends on one simple thing—if Texas can pull off the big show and pull it off big even among the coronavirus pandemic?
PRCA officials are noting the state’s every single move and many of those who bank on the event are excited to have the event back on its native soil. Event sponsors have even shown interest in making a move out of Las Vegas if Texas can properly welcome the hard hitting and star studded event back home. For Texas, the cards are on the table and the flop is somewhat in their favor. Only time will tell if the state and the region can pull it off big enough to pull the NFR away from the tightly held grasp of the Vegas tourism cartel.