Marion County May Benefit from National Rodeo's Possible New Venue
Published January 23rd, 2014
"Move 'em on, head 'em up"-- a national rodeo that draws millions of people may be rollin' rollin' rollin' to Kissimmee, and North Central Florida could directly benefit from the move.
Nothing is final yet.
Local cowboys think having the National Finals Rodeo so close by would lasso a lot of money for Marion County's horse industry.
It's about taking the bull by the horns.
"It would be great for people in the ranching and farming industry to be able to see cowboys and cowgirls from all over the nation come right here to Central Florida," said professional rodeo announcer and cowboy Andy Seiler.
Andy Seiler grew up in rodeos and has been named a national champion in team roping in high school and competed at the same level in college.
He hopes the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association brings the National Finals Rodeo from Las Vegas to Kissimmee, but realizes it's not an easy task.
"When you're plowing new ground, you're always going to hit a few roots so it's tough to sometimes try new things but you never learn until you try," said Seiler.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam got the Florida Cabinet to pledge their support Wednesday to secure the National Finals Rodeo.
The ten day event attracts millions of people every year to Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 30-year-contract in Vegas is running out and Osceola County has put in a bid to provide the new venue.
They've sweetened the deal by putting in an additional $16 million into the rodeo's purse.
But there are some hurdles to closing this deal.
"The toughest part would be the logistics of getting all the roughstock down here, alot of the competitors are from west of the Mississippi River," said Seiler.
"The National Finals Rodeo hasn't been held in Florida but it's not only good for people in rodeo, it would be good for the tourism industry as well," said Lauren Lettelier, TV20 News.
"It would affect Ocala and Marion County as well as Kissimmee by virture of the fact that you have to drive through Ocala to get there and that's how most of these cowboys are going to get their horses to Kissimmee would be to come down I-75," said Denise Alexander, Facilities Manager of the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion and Marion County Extension Service.
And in Ocala, the amount of services for horses is unlimited.
Alexander manages the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion and says the facility could be used by the cowboys and cowgirls as a layover place and for other reasons.
"We could offer them a venue for them to practice or have smaller events here," said Alexander.
For the cowboys, it's a deal to lasso in.
"If you can tie agriculture and tourism together, the two things that I feel are vital to the success to the state of florida, I think that would be a great thing," said Seiler.
And a great thing-- to the horse capital of the world.
Three athletes from Florida competed in the last National Finals Rodeo.
If the rodeo was held in Florida, some predict Florida's participation will increase.
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