Most people are getting excited for the holidays, doing their Christmas shopping, setting up their trees…but when it comes to folks in the western industry, we are all headed to Vegas…or are already here! Not only do we look forward to the granddaddy of them all, but there are so many other events going on around town that you can’t miss. One of those events is the Junior World Finals!
The Las Vegas Convention Center’s famous second level arena is again hosting the Junior World Finals from December 5th-14th Starting on the 5th, over 750 contestants will compete for prize money, awards and scholarships in each event. The all-around title is just an added incentive. There are four age divisions, riders from ages 6 through 17 compete in nine different events.
There are several changes to this year’s event, one of which is the name change from last year’s title, “Jr. NFR” to “Junior World Finals”. This event will now serve as a qualifier for the Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR in March. In addition to that, Las Vegas Events has added more seating and other slight changes to the arena itself.
“We are moving the live-viewing area to accommodate more seating,” Gardner said. “There will be seating and a food court, and we have new LED boards and instant replay. And the Junior World Finals Boulevard will be bigger and better than ever.” – Bo Gardner
You may notice that pole bending has been added to the event roster as well this year. Kelly Kaminski, the Director of Barrels and Pole Bending is beyond excited to add the new event.
“I’m excited to bring poles to Vegas and really bring it to the forefront,” she said. “It is such a good event because it has speed, it has finesse, and it has horsemanship. There’s just a lot to it. A good pole run is amazing to watch. I would like to see pole bending grow and this is a great way to start.”
Unlike in years past, there will be a $5 charge per day to watch the Junior World Finals, but there is an option to buy a $20 pass that is good for the whole event. The per-day charge is good for the whole day and fans are welcome to leave the arena and return without having to pay again. Bo Gardner, Vice President of Corporate Marketing for Las Vegas Events and General Manager of the Junior World Finals, believes the cost is not only a bargain, but the money is for a good cause.
“We are charging $5 per day or $20 for a five-day pass,” he said, “but 120 percent of that money goes back to the prize money for the contestants. Las Vegas Events is not doing that to pay for anything or to put more money in our pockets, it’s to give it back to the contestants.
For more information and the full Junior World Finals schedule, you can check out their website.
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