Equine show location gallops to new home
An event center in the much-vaunted Animal Health Corridor is scheduled to move a few miles down the road and over state lines and get a lot bigger.
The American Royal Association announced last month that its new $160 million building—with two arenas for livestock and equestrian shows and pro rodeos as well as an agriculture education center—will finish in 2019 in Wyandotte County, Kansas, moving out of Missouri's West Bottoms area.
The new, larger facility will allow the venue to stable more animals during agricultural shows, offer complementary trade show space during those shows, and provide a bigger, better place to educate adults, children and families about the importance of animals and agriculture in feeding the world.
"The majority of our bused-in tours are from the urban core, and in some cases this was the first exposure these kids had to thinking about agriculture," says Lynn Parman, president and CEO of the American Royal Association. "They learned where their food comes from. They saw STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] exhibits. That's become a big part of what the Royal does."
Parman touted last year's $1.4 million in scholarships and support to youth education programs as a driving force.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback echoed Parman's high hopes for the facility in a press release: "The American Royal will serve as a focal point in helping us continue to build a vibrant animal and agriculture corridor from Wyandotte County to Manhattan, home of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility."
The American Royal Association began as the National Hereford Show in 1899 and now hosts six horse shows, a livestock show, youth and professional rodeos and educational programs as well as the world's largest barbecue competition.