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Florida county launches bid to attract National Finals Rodeo

Cody Teel, of Kountze, Texas,  rides Wish This for a score of 76.5 during the Bull Riding Event on the final day of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas. Saturday, December 14, 2013. (Glenn Pinkerton | Las Vegas News Bureau)
Cody Teel, of Kountze, Texas, rides Wish This for a score of 76.5 during the Bull Riding Event on the final day of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas. Saturday, December 14, 2013. (Glenn Pinkerton | Las Vegas News Bureau)
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Updated: 12/16/2013 6:32 am
KISSIMMEE, Fla.– Not wanting to waste a single day, the Osceola Board of County Commissioners met in a Sunday session today and voted to enter into a memorandum of understanding for two groundbreaking regional projects for Osceola County.

Commissioners agreed to enter into an exclusive 90-day negotiating period with the American Music Resort (AMR) and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), which hosts the annual National Finals Rodeo.

The NFR concluded its 29th year in Las Vegas on Saturday. It has a contract with Las Vegas that runs one more year.

The PRCA was reported to have met Sunday to discuss its contract with Las Vegas or other options.

News 3 was unable to reach Michael Mack of Las Vegas Events for his comments about negotiations.

NFR officials are said to be considering leaving after selling out their 10-day event for 27 straight years. It is expected that the NFR will announce a decision about its future in coming days.

The AMR is a complete destination resort located adjacent to the Gaylord Palms Resort.

The AMR will start with the construction of a 24,000-seat arena that will be used to host the NFR in 2016.

The Osceola Board of County Commissioners say the Osceola Tourist Development Tax has sufficient funds available to jump-start the stadium  project with a commitment of $50 million dollars toward the construction of the arena and a yearly commitment towards the rodeo purse.

This public/private partnership with the AMR is made possible because Osceola County is America’s 10th largest collector of tourist development tax dollars and brings in more than $37 million a year.

Working together with the city of Orlando and the Orlando Magic, Osceola County plans to hold the NFR in 2015 at the Amway Center.

“We are grateful to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Magic’s Alex Martins for working with us in such a cooperative and quick fashion. Today would not be possible without great regional partners like them,” said Osceola County Commission Chairman, Fred Hawkins.

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