LINCOLN, Neb. -- The Lancaster Event Center (LEC) in Lincoln, Nebraska, has been selected to host the 2020 and 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR). The National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) board of national directors voted unanimously (47-0) on Saturday morning at their Mid-Winter Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.
The event has rotated the past nine years between the Wyoming communities of Gillette and Rock Springs; making Lincoln only the third location to host the event in recent years. The selection is pending successful final contract negotiation over the next 45 days.
In a second vote, the NHSRA board chose Lincoln to be included in the next NHSFR site rotation with the two existing Wyoming locations. A second rotation at the LEC would be planned for 2026 and 2027.
“This will be a game changer for Lancaster Event Center, Lincoln and Lancaster County,” said Jamie Bauman, recently elected to the Lancaster County Agricultural Society which runs the Lancaster Event Center.
“We are very excited to be able to show how great a facility and community we offer here,” said Ron Dowding, Agricultural Society board president and board member for over 18 years.
The NHSFR is the world’s largest rodeo from a contestant standpoint with 1,700 high school rodeo athletes competing in 13 rodeo specialties and two shooting competitions. Forty-three states, five Canadian provinces and Australia each send its top four qualifiers in each specialty. Contestants travel in mid-July each year to the NHSFR with their families. It is estimated the rodeo will bring nearly 50,000 visitors to Lincoln with many staying multiple days.
“Nebraska's central location and all the local community support were appealing factors in the decision to bring the finals to Lincoln. It will be exciting to share ‘The Good Life’ with the NHSFR contestants!!” said Tricia Schaffer, NHSRA national director for state of Nebraska who is based out of North Platte.
The 13 NHSFR rodeo specialties are Bull Riding, Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Tie-down Roping, Breakaway Roping, Steer Wrestling, Goat Tying, Pole Bending, Barrel Racing, Boys Cutting, Girls Cutting, Reined Cow Horse and a Queen Contest. The two shooting competitions are Trap Shoot and Light Rifle.
The High School Rodeo World Champions in each specialty will be crowned after 13 rodeo performances which will be open to the public over seven days at the Lancaster Event Center and shooting facilities in Lincoln.