PRCA and South Point Announcements
PRCA put out a press release on August 21st concerning the NFR and South Point followed on August 21st with their own press release concerning their “Cinch Western Gift Show.” These announcements have the potential to start another round of rumors and speculation that no doubt could be of interest to those of you who have and/or will enter the WSTR Finale.
First, the PRCA basically announced that “spectators” would not be allowed at the NFR if they stay in Las Vegas. In other words, all the festivities associated with the NFR like Cowboy Christmas, the various gift shows would also be gone. In the press release they also announced that South Point has graciously offered to let them have the “non-spectator” NFR at South Point. What was not announced was they were told that the NFR would have to go either before or after the WSTR Finale. But to be truthful, SP just graciously provided a safety net for the NFR.
In reality, the reason that so many rumors have revolved around the PRCA is that Las Vegas Events has released them from their obligation to hold the finals in Vegas for one year only. They are frantically trying to find a place in the country where they can have spectators, the convention, award ceremonies, etc. What is not mentioned is the money!
Without spectators there is very little money available in Vegas for NFR purses. Among the other things PRCA is shopping besides a new venue out of state, is a source of additional purse money. But the one thing that PRCA is very clear about, they will be crowning World Champs this year, one way or another.
The PRCA announcement spawned the South Point’s August 21st announcement to all their Gift Show vendors that they would be cancelling the 2020 Cinch Western Gift Show. All of your WSTR sponsors, and all of the South Point Sponsors and their booths, will still be on the concourse. The good news for the WSTR event is that all of our sponsors and their products will be available on the concourse. You can bet they will get lots of traffic!
As announced last week, WSTR Finale entries are at the same level YTD as they were last year. Qualifiers have been up all year, make-up qualifiers were added, the PPQ has continued to be a successful option. Realistically, we believe, some of the direct entries might be off a little in late September based on the usual first time Finale contestants that will not make the trek to Vegas without the rodeo in town. Time will tell, but it’s possible with the additional availability of direct entries, we could see those teams, who are regulars goers, get in one more time. Given the COVID situation in Mar, Apr and May, we would have expected all of our qualifiers to be down all year long and the opposite is true. Nobody really knows how this season will finish out, but we will keep you informed every step of the way.
Obviously, one of the positive impacts of no spectators for the NFR and no western gift show, is additional hotel rooms that will open up to WSTR contestants at South Point allowing all of you to get that extra room or extra nights to cover late entries.
In any case, the WSTR Finale is moving ahead at full steam and we do expect the hard-core roping enthusiast in Vegas in December. There are two questions that come up over and over that need to be briefly discussed. First, “will we have spectators at the Finale and how will many spectators will be allowed?” The Finale is considered a non-spectator event since we do not sell tickets, and definition for who and how many are allowed in the stands is very doable. For those of you that have attended the Finale over the years we have never had very many fans in the stands during the day. The Short Rounds of the Finales have become “must-see” for the NFR goers and consistently have filed the stands from the Open to the #8.5. The gift show routinely each year has about 150,000 attendees, many of whom walk thru before or after the short rounds. With the NFR gone and the Western Gift Show closed, we don’t anticipate short round attendance to be an issue. No doubt the seating will be arranged to promote physical distancing, but we do not anticipate any spectator problems.
MASKS; those persistent questions about masks? I think it was pretty clear in our Facebook response last week that some of our staff are getting a little tense with the question of whether there is a mask requirement in Vegas for the Finale or FT Worth for the USTRC Finals. There is a mask requirement indoors everywhere in the United States and the world. For the horse events that have moved to Oklahoma, South Dakota, Idaho and a few other places, the perception exists that those requirements don’t exist there. Some states are allowing their cities to set mask requirements. They do exist there, but some facilities like Lazy E are not within a city. Some states are publicly stating that they are not strongly enforcing, or attempting to enforce those rules. The people who are putting on the events are still required to comply with their staff and make public announcements to encourage participants to follow the rules.
When anyone asks if there is a mask requirement, they are essentially asking if the CDC rules will be enforced. Let’s be honest here, those putting on the events, the cities, the counties, the states, the federal government all know that even within the states that have adopted a 3rd degree misdemeanor for violators, enforcement is not possible. Their only option is to prevent events and none of us want to see that happen. That doesn’t mean that an employee or security officer somewhere won’t continually do their job and ask individuals to comply, as there is a CDC recommendation and declaration in nearly every state.
There is a pandemic going on and obviously some take the threat more seriously than others. So, whether a person chooses to ignore the pandemic or not, there is a growing consensus that, at a minimum, good manners should prevail. Good manners dictate that reasonable people should consider our fellow man, and most certainly never disparage or debate those whose responsibility is to attempt to remind the public of the requirements. They are just doing their jobs.