National High School Rodeo Finals expected to bring in $16 million to Lincoln

The National High School Finals Rodeo getting underway in the capital city, and it took all hands on deck to put everything together for these high schoolers.
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:23 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The National High School Finals Rodeo is underway in the Capital City, and it took all hands on deck to put everything together for these high schoolers.

Lancaster Event Center staff say it took five years of preparation in order to get to where we are today. The process began in March 2016 when cities from around the United States placed their bids for the rodeo finals, and Lincoln ultimately became the winner in January 2017.

Since then, building the campground and the grandstand have been the priority, with the community stepping up over the last couple months.

“There’s not enough thank you to give to the community that’s come out and helped. From laborers, organizers, volunteers to just spreading the word, even if they’re not physically able to come out and help us but letting everyone know that this is going on sure helps,” said Lancaster Event Center manager, Hoyt Kraeger.

Volunteers from around Lancaster County came together to clean-up and re-assemble equipment after the storms hit Nebraska just weeks before the rodeo began.

This event is the largest rodeo in the world with over 1,600 contestants. According to Lancaster Event Center staff, the rodeo is expected to bring in $16 million in economic impact to the city. This revenue is expected to go further than the rodeo itself impacting restaurants, grocery stores and hotels.

“When we shared with the High School Rodeo voting members that we had over 900 restaurants in Lincoln, jaws hit the floor. They really wanted to come experience what Lincoln had to offer and we’re going to show them. These folks will probably stop in on the way to other rodeos, or they have other activities they’re passionate about and will consider Lincoln as a place to do those things as well,” said Kraeger.

The rodeo will be in Lincoln until Saturday, July 24.

For reference, the $16 million in revenue the rodeo is expected to bring in is the equivalent of four Husker home football games.

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