AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The WRCA 2022 World Championship Ranch Rodeo is less than two weeks away. They are preparing to move into the Amarillo Civic Center for the event, but without funding for the renovation and expansion, the rodeo might have to find a new home in the future.
Leman Wall, association manager for the WRCA, said the rodeo is the largest single event that happens each year in Amarillo and at the Civic Center.
“It’s the largest event for our organization but it’s also the largest single event that happens in the city of Amarillo and at the Amarillo Civic Center complex,” Leman said. “The total attendance over the four days is going to push up over 15,000 people and so it’s a major tourism event for the local area.”
With more than 100,000 square feet of shopping space, Wall said nearly every inch will be occupied by vendors during the rodeo. He said there is no entry fee for shoppers.
“You’ll be able to come buy ranch equipment. If you’re needing any new trailers, trucks, or whatever you need to run your business. There’s also stuff for the kids to come out and shop for the ladies, for the men, we’ve got one of the greatest cowboy trade and trapping show anywhere in the world. Just that room alone will have over 120 exhibitors in it.”
According to Wall, every year the rodeo gets bigger. This year, he said they have already sold out two events, faster than ever before.
“We’ve got record ticket sales happening each year. So as you plan an event like this, one of the things that you have to do as you continue to monitor the needs of your organization to grow, versus the facility that you’re holding your event in.”
The WRCA has been hosted here in Amarillo for 27 years, where its headquartered. They are under contract with the City of Amarillo to stay at the Amarillo Civic Center through 2023.
However, now that the City’s funding mechanism to renovate and expand the civic center has been found invalid by a judge, that’s all up in the air.
“What will happen in 2024 and beyond, that’s unknown at this point,” Wall said. “Those are steps that have to be taken, working with all the stakeholders within the city and our organization, but we’re very positive for the future, and are very hopeful that WRC will be in Amarillo for years to come.”
He said while many people disagreed with the City council’s move to issue tax anticipation notes for the civic center project, it is still needed.
“It’s just a matter of working together, putting all of our heads together and collecting our resources and saying, over the course of time, how does Amarillo keep a civic center that is functional, that is useful for events to come to a town like ours, and bring tourism dollars in? That’s the goal.”
Wall said right now, they are focused on putting together the best possible rodeo for this year. After that, they will sit down with their board and assess their needs moving forward.
The WRCA rodeo is Nov. 10-13. Tickets are available here.