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Osceola County to lure major rodeo event from Las Vegas

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Osceola County is looking to bring a major event to Central Florida that promises to be a money maker for the Orlando area.

According to Orlando's ABC affiliate WFTV on Dec. 15, Osceola County officials are working on a proposal to lure the National Finals Rodeo from Las Vegas, where the rodeo has been a mainstay in that city for the past 27 years.

Osceola County commissioners voted during a special meeting on Dec. 15 to move forward with the proposal to bring the rodeo to Kissimmee.

In the agreement, Osceola County would be allowed access to the Amway Center in Downtown Orlando in exchange for the county's $1 million contribution towards building Orlando's new soccer stadium. Osceola County Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins, Jr, told WFTV that luring the rodeo would be a boon not just for Osceola County, but for Central Florida as a whole. He told WFTV:

If this could happen, the ripple effects is a windfall for the entire Central Florida region.

Pete Pace, who works for Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, told WFTV about the rodeo:

This is the Super Bowl of rodeos.

According to county commissioners, the county wants a new $100 million stadium to be built across the street from the Gaylord Palms Resort on Osceola Parkway. County officials say that the arena is needed because Silver Spurs Arena is not large enough to hold an event of the size and scope of the National Finals.

But until the proposed stadium is ready in 2016, county officials would need a temporary venue to host the rodeo, and that is where Orlando's Amway Center comes into play.

With an agreement between Osceola County, the city of Orlando and the NBA's Orlando Magic, the National Finals Rodeo would be held temporarily at the Amway Center until the stadium is complete.

The next phase in the process is a 90-day negotiation period. The city of Las Vegas has asked for 30 more days to make it's own proposal to keep the event in that city.

Stay tuned.

For more updates on what's going on in Central Florida and other political news and commentary from this author, click Subscribe or follow Kareem on Twitter, like him on Facebook, or email him your comments or questions.

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