OSCEOLA, Fla. - Osceola County commissioners approved an $11 million-plus contract that will move the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo to Osceola County for the next 10 years and dramatically increase the payoff for the stars of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's circuit system.
In the new agreement the contestant purse will increase 175 percent from 2014 to 2015, and contestants who compete in Osceola County will for the first time receive a $1,000 cash stipend. PRCA contract personnel and stock contractors who work the RNCFR will receive a 50 percent raise, and each of the 12 PRCA RAM circuit finals rodeos will be awarded a $10,000 sponsorship each year from Osceola County.
The contract between the PRCA and Osceola County, which was signed Monday (May 19), will move the PRCA circuit system's showcase event to Florida for a four-day, five-performance event which will feature the talents of each PRCA circuit's year-end champions and the event winners at each of the 12 RAM-sponsored circuit finals rodeos.
The RNCFR will move to Osceola County, where circuit standouts will compete for more than $1 million in cash and prizes, including buckles, saddles, RAM Truck vehicle vouchers and the coveted national circuit champion titles.
The 2015 RNCFR will be held March 25-28 at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla.
"This is going to be fantastic for fans and the community. The PRCA recognizes that Osceola County and Central Florida are a great rodeo market," said Osceola Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins Jr.
"Osceola County's efforts to bring the (Wrangler) National Finals Rodeo here earlier this year set the stage for this deal. We're excited about hosting competitors with such amazing talent at one of the most prestigious rodeos in the sport's history.
"With the county's rodeo heritage and Central Florida's nearly 60 million visitors a year, we are the perfect location for this event.
"We have the expertise to grow the fan base and draw awareness to such an exciting sport. It is also a tribute to all our partners in the community, who helped us showcase Osceola County and Central Florida to the PRCA.
"This event will enhance our reputation as a rodeo-friendly community. We have amazing rodeo fans and at the same time it will clearly show rodeo fans from around the country that we are a premier destination for them."
The RNCFR, held in Oklahoma the last four years, is one of the richest rodeos in the world.
"First, the PRCA owes a debt of gratitude to our friends in Oklahoma," said PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman. "Between Mr. Bob Funk and the good folks at the Lazy E Arena, they helped grow this event into one that has obviously become desirable to other communities.
"Central Florida, and specifically Osceola County, has a longstanding and rich rodeo heritage. The commissioners and county leaders are first-class people, and have proven so time and time again.
"We are very excited for this opportunity and their assistance in advancing the PRCA and gaining recognition and additional opportunities for all our members."
Osceola County will work with the PRCA through Experience Kissimmee to market the RNCFR in its new home.
"Being a native of southern Florida, it's exciting for this event to come here," said PRCA board member Troy Weekley.
"On behalf of myself and the rest of the PRCA board of directors, we are very appreciative of Osceola County for hosting this outstanding rodeo."
Every segment of the rodeo business is excited about the future of the RNCFR in Florida, including the event's headline sponsor.
"RAM has been a longtime supporter and title sponsor of the PRCA circuit system," said RAM Rodeo CEO Mike Orman. "We are optimistic that moving the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo to Osceola County, and what they are committed to investing in the event, will continue to grow the circuit program and bring new fans to this world-class, championship event."
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