COVID News For Finale XV
When the COVID variant caused concern and some states issued mask mandates - Nevada in particular - team roping and rodeo-related social media exploded with questions of vaccination cards, mask mandates, and moving the Ariat WSTR Finale to a new venue. The phones at the roping office lit up and the customer service team had a lot of chances to meet many of you on the phone and have some great conversations. Questions were asked, laughs were had, and opinions were shared. At the end of these conversations, the one thing that was overwhelmingly apparent is that we are all ready to go nod our heads in high-stakes competition at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As of the date of this letter, Oct 1, COVID cases in Las Vegas have been on a steady decline. The peak for Clark County was right around the end of July and since that time cases and hospitalizations have fallen drastically. Along with following the health trends in Nevada, we are also in constant contact with our partners at Las Vegas Events as well as our friends at the South Point Hotel and Casino getting weekly, if not daily, updates on the proceedings of state mandates and the residual effects felt by the hotels, casinos, shows, concerts, and large sporting events. Outside of some slight compliance requirements imposed from the state, venues are open for business and Vegas is feeling a rapid rebound, despite any indoor mask rules.
It would be naive to think that our shared western background and the subculture around team roping doesn’t lean a little towards thinking that “it is not about the mask, it is about control.” Let’s remember, the 2021 requirements don’t come close to the shutdowns in 2020. While many of us can agree with that, there is also the fact of the matter that is set in reality. That reality is that there is nowhere else in the United States that brings all of us together, from all over the country, Canada, Mexico, and beyond like Las Vegas. The atmosphere of the Finale coupled with the excitement of the NFR, the trade shows, autograph signings, life-changing money, and Resistol cowboy hats everywhere, has made Vegas the absolute, without a doubt home to cowboys and ropers in December – masks or not.
With that being said, between now and December, things may continue to loosen or there may be some rules that we all have to follow indoors, not unlike many locations, but do not let those little inconveniences take away from the fun, freedom, and enjoyment you will have with your friends and partners.
Currently, masks are not required on horseback, while eating or drinking, anywhere outside and rarely seen in the indoor stall area. Proof of vaccination is NOT REQUIRED. With reference to outside, one of the welcome benefits to the newly constructed outdoor Farnam arena behind the South Point indoor stalls, is more horseback opportunities to enjoy additional warmup space, a three-arena setup and spending a lot more time on our horses. The outdoor qualification events will also be a big attraction; looking forward to a pleasant December in Vegas.
VEGAS IS A GO! We are as eager as you are to crack the Priefert Chute on day one and get the Ariat WSTR Finale XV off and running.
Continue to check WSTRoping.com for updates. See you in Las Vegas!