The American Royal Pro Rodeo is returning home.
After conducting its 2011 championship at the Sprint Center downtown, the organizers are moving the storied rodeo back to the American Royal complex. That’s just one of the changes in store for the event.
“Our 2011 rodeo was among the most successful in recent years, showcasing a quality performance, a premiere concert event and a state-of-the-art venue,” said Bob Petersen, president and CEO of the American Royal.
The Sprint Center was a showcase for the rodeo, which was one of just nine Gold level events part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour. It featured some of the greatest contestants in ProRodeo, both from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
It also featured three after-the-rodeo concerts, Pat Green, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Saturday night headliner, Reba McEntire.
But it wasn’t home. To allow for the overflow number of competitors while dealing with the logistics of the downtown arena, organizers utilized Lone Wolf Arena in Cleveland, Mo., about 35 miles south of the Sprint Center. The move back to the American Royal complex will allow for ample parking and adequate space for slack.
The 2012 rodeo will take place in the 5,000-seat Hale Arena while folks at the American Royal push forward on plans for a new Agricultural Events Center. Under the plans, Kemper Arena will be razed, and the state-of-the-art facility for livestock, equine and rodeo will be erected in its place.
Organizers are calling for the 2012 rodeo to take place in September, but the date is not official just yet as the American Royal staff hammers out an exact schedule with the PRCA – the Royal rodeo is also not expected to be part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour. The 2012 rodeo season runs Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2012.
If the Royal rodeo takes place prior to that end date, the money won in Kansas City will count toward qualifications for this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. If that happens, both the 2011 and 2012 Royal rodeos will count for the 2012 standings.
The important factor for the American Royal is celebrating a storied history and projecting the organization’s mission during each of its events. In 2011, the Royal contributed more than $1.7 million in scholarship and educational awards to youths who participate in agricultural programs.
“With the rodeo’s return to the West Bottoms this September, we anticipate no scheduling conflicts for the American Royal or the Sprint Center,” Petersen said. “In coming home to the West Bottoms, we look forward to celebrating a cost-effective, tradition filled celebration of the American Royal’s 113th anniversary season.”