National Western, Denver, Redesigns New 10,000 Seat Rodeo Arena | Culture & Leisure

The old cowboy saying when you get kicked out of the bronco you gotta get back up and try again applies to the National Western Center Authority and the City of Denver when it comes to getting a shiny new 10 arena 000 places.

Both backed Question 2E in November, which asked voters to approve a $190 million bond measure that would have helped pay for a 10,000-seat arena and turn a stock market lounge into a community market. But Denver voters have firmly rejected it, sending backers back to the drawing board.

“It certainly didn’t help that people hadn’t been on campus for almost two years,” said Brad Buchannan, CEO of The Authority, noting that the 2021 Fellowship Fair had been canceled due to of the pandemic and that the constant construction made it difficult to visit. .

The Authority oversees the National Western Stock Show grounds which make up the National Western Complex and the Denver Coliseum off I-70 and Brighton Boulevard.

The authority was created in 2015 when the Western Stock Show Association (the people who bring the Stock Show to Denver each year), the Colorado State University System, and the City and County of Denver signed a agreement to develop the campus and revitalize the city center. Earth.

Voters passed Measure 2C in November, authorizing the issuance of bonds on the back of a 1.75% tourist tax on hotel rooms and rental cars, not to exceed $778 million.

Phases 1 and 2 of this bond-fueled construction culminated in the new Cille and Ron Williams stockyards, a 46,000 square foot HW Hutchison Family Stockyards event center, equestrian center and business exhibit area. All were unveiled for the ongoing 2022 National Western Stock Show, which runs through Jan. 23, along with the first of three buildings on the new CSU Spur campus.

“We were very supportive when the mayor asked us what we thought of the idea,” said Paul Andrews, president and CEO of the National Western Stock Show Association, of the rejected vote. “We raised money to support the idea…but it seemed like it wasn’t the vehicle voters would like to see used.”

City officials said it’s likely voters were mistaken and thought 2E was going to include a tax hike (it didn’t — the measure called for the issuance of general bonds). And they probably thought they just approved funding for the National Western Center Authority campus in 2015, said City of Denver communications director Jenna Espinoza-Garcia.

“The wider Denver community didn’t know the progress we had made,” Espinoza-Garcia said. “We hope many got to see the progress made at the Stock Show this year.

“We’re sure people were like, ‘We’ve already approved funding for this, and we haven’t seen a return on that yet.'”

Now the authority, the Stock Show Association and Denver city officials are banding together, talking with community members and trying to formulate a new plan.

“We need to go back to the drawing board with the community,” Espinoza-Garcia said. “We resume discussions and keep them informed. Clearly they want to be more involved partners.

In the meantime, construction begins this summer on the 3,500-seat Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Breeding Center.

CoBank just donated $5 million to the National Western Center, as part of the Honoring the Legacy campaign, securing the naming rights for the CoBank Livestock Arena and CoBank Livestock Auction Arena.

The 146,000-square-foot, 5,000-seat CoBank Livestock Arena “will be one of the most vital and busiest spots on the National Western Center campus during the National Western Stock Show and throughout the year,” according to A press release.

The CoBank Livestock Auction Arena hosts the popular Junior Cattle Auction on January 21st. The 10,000 square foot facility can accommodate 700 people.

This fundraising campaign is not tied to any new 10,000-seat event center, hopefully to replace the aging Denver Coliseum, built in 1952.

“These funds are to be used for the Livestock Center, which will open in 2022,” Andrews said via email.

Andrews said the National Western Stock Show owed Denver $125 million to pay for Phases 1 and 2. He transferred 90 acres of land, valued at $75 million.

“The other $50 million was meant to be a cash injection, and CoBank’s donation is part of that $50 million,” Andrews said. “The new multi-purpose building that all the partners are trying to get built will be in a different business model, yet to be determined.”

A new event center would help the Stock Show Rodeo stay competitive, Andrews said. Right now, the aging Coliseum competes with venues like the new 14,000-seat Dickeys Arena in Fort Worth, which opened in late 2019.

“The state-of-the-art facilities that cities are building allow them to stay competitive. They can attract bigger talent pools and pay more,” Andrews said. “Fort Worth is contributing $1 million. We are in the $600,000 range. … No one is really suggesting that the Denver Coliseum, built in 1952, is a place for competition across America.

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