Rodeo dollars bolster economy, drive development in Wyoming – VIDEO
CASPER, Wyo. — The lights flicked off and the crowd roared. World-famous rodeo announcer Boyd Polhamus’ voice ricocheted off the walls. Spotlights arced their way onto a young rodeo competitor. He sang a no-frills rendition of the national anthem
Goosebumps crawled up Kynzie McNeill’s arms.
“It’s the best of the best competing right here in Casper,” said McNeill, a sophomore barrel racer and goat tying competitor at Texas Tech University.
This was McNeill’s first College National Finals Rodeo, but she’s been coming to Wyoming since high school. Rock Springs and Gillette alternate every two years as hosts of the National High School Finals Rodeo.
Rodeo is a tourism draw throughout the Cowboy State. Nearly every county holds professional rodeos, from Cheyenne Frontier Days to the Cody Stampede. The events draw out-of-towners into local hotels, restaurants and downtown shops.
The infrastructure required to attract rodeos also positions towns to hold various entertainment year-round.
In Casper, local officials have installed new seats, scoreboards, heating and air conditioning and a roof to keep the Casper Events Center in prime shape for events like the College Finals.
“It’s a very cool arena,” said freshman Jacey Hupp, a goat tying competitor from South Dakota State University. “It holds a lot of people. It gets loud, and you can feed off that energy.”
Read Story by TOM DIXON Senior Communications specialist, Wyoming Business Council. Photo courtesy of the Wyoming Business Council