The Need for New Facilities Could Cost Amarillo a Long-Standing Rodeo

Local News

For the next few years, the World Championship Ranch Rodeo will call Amarillo home.

The Working Ranch Cowboy’s Association and the city agreed to keep the event here until 2020.

This new agreement would make the Yellow City the host city through the event’s 25th anniversary. The 23rd WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo runs from November 8 to the 11.

While this is good news in the short term, WRCA said that the Amarillo Civic Center will need to be upgraded if the World Championship Ranch Rodeo is going to stay in Amarillo past 2020. 

WRCA’s World Championship Ranch Rodeo is the largest event at the Amarillo Civic Center each year, with a direct economic impact of $5 million. It has grown significantly since it began here in 1996.

Mayor Ginger Nelson said it has continued to grow each year, and now, she says the event has outgrown the Amarillo Civic Center Complex. She said in order for the city to continue to grow with WRCA, we need to have a conversation about our civic center needs. 

WRCA Association Manager Leman Wall said these next two years will be a period of uncertainty until a decision is made about the civic center. 

“We know that the city is committed to us being here, but that’s also going to mean that we need our citizens to be committed. When the time comes, there are going to be decisions to be made about the work that’s going to be put into this facility,” said Wall.

The civic center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and while it has made improvements and renovations over the years, Wall said it is time to look at what the next step of growth will be. 

The director of the civic center told us that after completing a needs assessment, the civic center would need growth in both the convention center as well as a larger arena. 

At this point, no land has been selected for that expansion. 

This would be the second rodeo to leave Amarillo if they do not renew the contract in 2020.

The American Quarter Horse Association Adequan Select World Championship announced it would be leaving Amarillo back in April.

Mary Bagwell with the City of Amarillo says the funding of civic center improvements could be a bond election, but not until November 2018. 

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