Osceola County negotiating for 'Super Bowl' of rodeo

Osceola commissioners meet to approve big projects

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - The Osceola Board of County Commissioners met in a Sunday session and voted to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for two groundbreaking regional projects for Osceola County.

Commissioners took the first step and agreed to enter into an exclusive 90-day negotiating period with the AMR and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which hosts the annual National Finals Rodeo.

The NFR is currently in Las Vegas but is considering leaving after selling out their 10-day event for 27 straight years, officials said.

The PRCA met Sunday to decide whether or not to stay in Las Vegas or begin a new chapter for their storied event.

Officials said the NFR is the premier rodeo event and considered to be the Super Bowl of rodeo. Osceola County officials said they are  ready to welcome the world's best cowboys to a county that has hosted rodeo for decades and is known worldwide for the Silver Spurs Rodeo.

The AMR is a complete destination resort located adjacent to the Gaylord Palms Resort.  The AMR will start with the construction of a 24,000 seat arena that will be used to host the NFR in 2016, officials said.

Because of the prudent oversight by the Osceola Board of County Commissioners, the Osceola Tourist Development Tax has sufficient funds available to jump-start this project with a commitment of $50 million toward the construction of the 24,000-seat arena and a yearly commitment toward the rodeo purse.  

This public/private partnership with the AMR is made possible because Osceola County is America's 10th largest collector of Tourist Development Tax dollars and brings in over $37 million a year, officials said.

Working together with the city of Orlando and the Orlando Magic, Osceola County plans to hold the NFR in 2015 at the Amway Center.

"We are grateful to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Magic's Alex Martins for working with us in such a cooperative and quick fashion. Today would not be possible without great regional partners like them," said Osceola County Commission Chairman, Fred Hawkins.

Before completion of the AMR the Gaylord Palms will play host to "Cowboy Christmas" a one-of-a-kind and the longest running "Original" gift show of the NFR.  With over 300,000 square feet of exhibit space and 400 plus vendors from across America and Canada, Cowboy Christmas is the ultimate shopping experience for those wanting anything from customized jewelry to the latest spurs and boots.

While negotiations are not complete, Osceola County Commissioners are cautiously optimistic that an agreement can be reached that will be mutually beneficial to the AMR, PRCA and Osceola County.

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