Osceola County seals deal to bring in major rodeo event



OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Commissioners sealed the deal Monday evening to bring a major rodeo event to Osceola County.

The Ram National Circuit Finals are moving from Oklahoma to Kissimmee, and officials said it's bringing millions of dollars with it.

"This just takes it to another level. This rodeo is the champions of the champions now that they're coming," Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins, Jr. said.

In early 2014, Osceola County was competing with Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo but lost out on the bid. Since then, county leaders have been working to bring another rodeo to the area.

Karl Stressman, commissioner of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, said the best of the best is now coming to Osceola County.

"We put on some tremendous rodeos, but not a championship event like this one," Stressman said.

The event is expected to bring around 25,000 visitors to Osceola County each year. But the Silver Spurs Arena holds roughly 8,500 spectators so WFTV asked if the arena is big enough for the rodeo.

"Right now we have all intents of holding this at Silver Spurs and growing it there," Hawkins said.

Officials said no expansion proposals for Silver Spurs Arena are being considered. But the county is looking at plans to invest $100 million into a new arena next to the Gaylord Palms.

The rodeo championship is considered the second-largest in the country. The state is contributing $1 million to the deal, and another $1 million to the county in sponsorship and tourist tax dollars.

The return will be a four-day event expected to generate upward of $25 million a year, and the county is signing a 10-year deal.