(Editor's note: PRCA media release)
COLORADO SPRINGS - ProRodeo is targeting Memorial Day Weekend for a return to competition, PRCA CEO George Taylor told The Cowboy Channel in an interview Saturday. Taylor addressed several topics in the interview, including the affect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on PRCA rodeos and a timetable for the possible return of rodeos.
“You know, sooner is better, for sure,” Taylor said. “We’re really hopeful Memorial Day weekend (May 23-25) that we can get something started. We’re working very closely right now with Fort Smith (Ark.) and the local officials there in order to have a rodeo. Whether that means it is a fan-less event or reduced occupancy style of event, that’s really our direction and what we are going to try to pull off because we do need to get the rodeo engine going and have everybody in these communities see some encouraging things. We are really excited about the potential of starting that on Memorial Day weekend.”
The “Kick Open the Chutes” PRCA incentive plan, which will help rodeo committees, is also something Taylor discussed.
“The big focus of this is, ‘How do we get going?’” Taylor said. “What we are going to do as the PRCA is we’re looking to partner with PRCA rodeo committees to begin to understand what they can do to just say, ‘Yes.’ … These are challenging times. How can we supplement some of the things the local committees are trying to do, whether they have lost sponsors, their gate might be reduced substantially, or maybe we are just helping to try and give them a backstop of some additional funds.
“The PRCA wants all our committees and communities to know that we are very flexible, that we work with them on the format, the number of days, but we really want to get going and create some good for all of our membership, for the committees and the communities they serve, as well as their charities. We are starting out looking through June initially just to provide some incentive and some additional stimulus to get rodeo going.”
Taylor also touched on the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Dec. 3-12.
“We’re having regular conversations with them and we have gone to weekly meetings,” Taylor said. “We’re really working on what’s the format going to be in terms of additional entertainment we might have and how do we make this NFR even better than the last one. We’re beginning to have some of those discussions now and (are) working with them. Obviously, it’s really critical for Las Vegas to open back up. We’re hearing some rumors that in May, early June, we will start to see some of the casinos open again. We can just hope and pray that there’s no additional spikes of activity relative to the virus and that we can get that planned and have our season and have that crowning of our world champions on our normal schedule.”
Taylor also talked about the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) and encouraging members to apply with new stimulus money available.
“The President (Donald Trump) just signed nearly another $500 billion into stimulus that will help fund that,” Taylor said. “Our membership, much of it, is eligible for those types of forgivable loans as they go forward. So, we’re really wanting to make sure that our members are utilizing those things and pursuing them. The money had run out, but now it has been replenished, and we need to act fast and keep everybody with money and food on the table, if you will.”