COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. â€“ The National Little Britches Rodeo Association Finals is moving to the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., beginning in 2016.
â€śWe are extremely proud to be selected as the host facility for the NLBRA Finals and look forward to growing our partnership,â€ť said Dan Wall, general manager of Lazy E Arena. â€śWe are excited to welcome NLBRA and its members into the Lazy E family.â€ť
The change in venues comes after an 11-year run at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colo. The NLBRA found a home in Pueblo beginning in 2004 and brought 545 youth rodeo contestants that year. Since the inaugural year, the event has grown to nearly double the contestant base, with nearly 1,000 youth rodeo contestants competing in 2014.
â€śMoving the NLBRA Finals to Pueblo was a positive for the NLBRA,â€ť executive director Kimber Solberg said. â€śThe Pueblo community provided an opportunity for the NLBRA to produce a quality Finals for many years; however, since moving to Pueblo in 2004, the NLBRA contestant membership base has grown by 33 percent and some of our needs have changed.â€ť
The 2015 NLBRA Finals will be July 20-25, 2015, in Pueblo. It will move to the Lazy E from 2016-2020
Although the National Little Britches Finals Rodeo is relocating, the NLBRA is working with Pueblo and four other communities across the United States to host NLBRA Qualifier Rodeos, where the goal is to have 300-400 contestants competing in a three-day rodeo event.
â€śOver the years, weâ€™ve built a strong bond with Pueblo,â€ť Solberg said. â€śI can only compare it to a child going off to college. Itâ€™s hard to let them go, but you know itâ€™s the best move. And like kids going off to college, you donâ€™t lose them, the relationship just changes. The NLBRA certainly intends to keep Little Britches Rodeo alive and well in Pueblo, Colorado.â€ť
The Lazy E Arena opened its doors in December 1984 in time for that seasonâ€™s National Finals Steer Roping to coincide with the National Finals Rodeo, which took place in downtown Oklahoma City. The grand plan orchestrated by then owner E.K. Gaylord III was that the two Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association championships take place at the same time in the same metropolitan area, and the plan worked â€¦ for one year.
Since its inception, the building has hosted world champions, world championships and personalities galore. The main arena floor is 440 feet-by-160 feet, making it the largest indoor rodeo arena in the world and home of the Timed Event Championship.
â€śThis is the only indoor arena that allows us, the NLBRA, to produce our finals with three arenas running simultaneously for the viewing audience,â€ť Solberg said.
In October 2013, the property was purchased by the McKinney Family from Midland, Texas. The Family has committed to maintaining the Lazy E as the worldâ€™s premier Western entertainment facility. Many updates and renovations are taking place at the arena, which will only enhance the lure of the Lazy E.