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Abilene Hopes to Lasso the High School Rodeo Finals for Years to Come

The Expo Center will host the State High School Finals Rodeo through 2016, however, the Expo Center is facing stiff competition come the next bidding process.
"When they talk about the State High School Finals right now, Abilene, Texas is what comes to mind", explains rodeo parent, Chris Wolfe.

The State High School Finals Rodeo has been held at the Taylor County Expo center for 25 years and this year is the first year of a three year contract, but bringing large events like this to town is getting to be more difficult.

"We have Waco that has bid against us for the state 4H show, there is also Brazos County that has just built a really nice facility," explains General Manager and Executive Director of the Expo Center, Rochelle Johnson.

With new competition, Johnson says she has a list of things she wants to accomplish before the next bidding time.

"The new stalls that we would like to have are a lot more costly than these are...these are kind of homemade stalls,if you will," says Johnson.

Improvements will certainly cost, but so would losing the bid.

"What we all need to recognize is that high school rodeo has been here for 25 years. if we lost this contract, we aren't going to lose it for 3 years, we are going to lose it for 20 years."

This event alone generates more than a million dollars in revenue each year and attracts around 1,800 people to the area according to the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Although there is room for improvement, one rodeo parent that has been coming to Abilene for this event for ten years says that the Expo Center is hard to beat when it comes to facilities.

"There's newer facilities out there, and they are state of the art, but this is able to have the facilities this close, the stalls, you are able to park, the two arenas, it makes it really nice," explains Wolfe.

As for the Texas High School Rodeo Association,who will make the final call as to where the event is held, says they love the people of Abilene and have built a good relationship with the folks at the Expo Center, however, each bidding process they try to wipe the slate clean to weigh pros and cons.

"Every time the bidding comes around, we always re-evaluate, whats going to be best for Texas High School Rodeo and our event and for our families and contestants," explains Holly Delaune, the marketing director for Texas High School Rodeo Association.

For more information on the rodeo, click here.
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