National Finals Rodeo Contestants Chose Florida Over Vegas For Prize Money Increase
Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association BOD member Bret Tonozzi said that National Finals Rodeo contestants met on Saturday and "instructed their representatives" on the board to "reject a Las Vegas Events offer to keep the NFR in Sin City because the prize money was not enough," according to Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Tonozzi said, "Las Vegas sent them a contract. They read it. They told us, 'Don't approve the contract.' There's not enough money for them. They said they couldn't survive on that for the next 10 years. They truly want to go back. They can't afford it." Snel notes Osceola County (Fla.) is "offering more money to the PRCA in hopes of luring the prized rodeo to Kissimmee." Team Roper Charly Crawford said, "We need to get in there and try to get our association on track and where it needs to be going for our industry, our fans and our competitors. Now is the time. This is the first time the cowboys have actually been informed. We need to get our association together." Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson said that his organization's proposal of $15M per year included $6.2M "in prize money for the contestants." He added that the Osceola County offer was $4M per year "more than the Las Vegas Events offer" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 12/18). In Las Vegas, Ed Graney wrote, "The world's best cowboys have every right to seek and demand the biggest paychecks for entertaining those who cheer them." If that means "leaving Las Vegas for Florida or Finland or Fiji or wherever, so be it." It is "hard to knock the cowboys for setting up camp elsewhere." But it "doesn't mean ours should become fiscally irresponsible to keep them by beginning to price out those who have been the most devoted souls" (REVIEW-JOURNAL.com, 12/17).