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Life changing situation brings rodeo expert to Nebraska
Written by: Courtesy< Back to Articles
By Greg Rook, Lancaster Event Center Operations Director & 13 NHSFR experiences
Rodeo touches the lives of so many throughout the world–especially thousands of youth in National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA), known for having the world’s largest rodeo. While I’ve been a rodeo athlete, I’ve spent most of my career behind the scenes of National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) ensuring it runs smoothly and is a memorable experience for all the participants.
In 2019 my life changed when my daughter pursued a job opportunity in Omaha, Nebraska. Having successfully coordinated 13 NHSFR’s in Wyoming, when NHSRA announced Lancaster Event Center (LEC) in Lincoln, Nebraska as the NHSFR location for July 2020, 2021, 2026 & 2027, I approached LEC about potential job opportunities. Being offered the position of LEC Operations Director gave my wife and I the chance to move near our daughter and make a big impact on NHSFR and all LEC events. Ready for new adventures, we took the leap.
Our transition to Nebraska’s capital city has been great. We’ve found Lincoln to be very friendly, with a small community feel in a big town setting. Located in the middle of America, LEC is truly at the center of it all, a big reason it attracts 120+ regional and national events annually and making it your ultimate rodeo destination. Just off I-80 and near I-29, Lincoln has 70+ hotels with over 5,000 rooms, from full-service to economy options; over 900 restaurants; plenty of shopping; and numerous places offering family-friendly fun including feeding giraffes at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Plus, there’s plenty to see and do as you make the drive to Lincoln.
Transitioning to LEC has been a breeze too. My first week here was during the Lancaster County Super Fair, Nebraska’s largest county fair with 130,000 attendees, giving me my first look at the amazing LEC staff. The genuine care the entire staff has for the facility and its numerous events has impressed me the most in my first months here. They’re willing to do almost anything to ensure all events run smoothly and are successful. LEC is proud to have four NHSFR Alumni on staff, competitors from 1978 to 2017, meaning we know first-hand how it feels to compete and we’re all the more committed to providing you an incredible rodeo experience.
As Operations Director, I’m focused on ensuring NHSFR preparation is on track for July 2020. With 400,000 square feet of buildings on our grassy fairgrounds, I’m excited for the rodeo to be less spread out than previous locations. LEC received $7 Million in funding to make improvements to host NHSFR, including additional and upgraded campgrounds, expanded outdoor multi-purpose arena and new 3,500-person covered grandstand.
Driving from Wyoming to Nebraska, it was easy to see how rodeo skills continue to be an integral part of Nebraska life, as they are in mine. I’m eager to continue making NHSFR’s great for thousands of youth at LEC with this incredible, dedicated staff. We hope to see you when the world’s largest rodeo rides into Lincoln, July 19-25, 2020!
While making your plans to attend NHSFR Lincoln or if you want to volunteer, are a vendor or sponsor, reach out to us on NHSFRLincoln.org and follow us on social media @NHSFRLincoln.