The Casper City Council at a work session on Tuesday gave its initial approval to start the negotiations to keep the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper until 2027.

The current contract with the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association is set to expire on June 30, 2022. However, negotiations for a new contract must be completed by Oct. 31, 2021.

Spectra, the company that manages the Casper Events Center, has endorsed and will contribute to hosting the CNFR.

The draft contract approved by the city council is modeled after the current contract, but the insurance and credit card fees have been revised, according to the agenda.

There may be other financial commitments from local groups, council member Bob Hopkins said.

The draft said a 10-year renewal, but City Manager Carter Napier said NIRA Commissioner Roger Walters prefers a five-year contract.

Mayor Steve Freel said other cities including Boise and Las Vegas have shown interest in taking the CNFR from Casper.

Spectra general manager Brad Murphy said unlike other cities, Casper's advantage is its central location.

Freel said rodeo participants look forward not just to attending the CNFR but going to Casper. "This has become its home."

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