The Reno Rodeo has plans to replace its aging outdoor arena with a new 15,000-seat arena. Its plan to break ground within three years got a boost during the 80th legislative session. Lawmakers approved $1 million for planning and feasibility studies.

"I'm told by our engineer folks that it's about 30 percent design, all the site-planning and schematic drawings," Mike Torvinen, Reno Rodeo President said. "So we can really put our pencil to the paper and estimate what the cost is going to be and time tables and those types of things." 

Architects and engineers will study things like traffic and create the renderings and drawings. Torvinen says this is a major step forward because it will create a concrete plan moving forward.

"We are the largest stakeholder at this facility but it is an events center that can bring back events that were here in the past and new events," Torvinen said. "We think that outdoor arena is a perfect venue for outdoor concerts in the summertime."

Torvinen says the Reno Rodeo has been saving money for the project for the past few years. It wants to have a significant contribution by the next legislative session. He hopes the state will help fund the project.

"This is a piece of state property, leased to the county, run by the convention authority but we need to put this property to it's highest, best use," Torvinen said.

Along with the outdoor arena, the plan includes a 52,000 square-foot exhibit hall, a 72,000 indoor arena, and a parking structure which includes 1,600 animal stalls on the ground level. The existing Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center is the only building that would remain in place. Torvinen says the Reno Rodeo has outgrown its current facility and that the new plan will make Reno a top tier destination for other rodeos. 

"With the new facility, I think there would be no stopping us," Torvinen said. "I think we could just expand and be bigger and better, and yes, the crown jewel of rodeos in the western United States. It is a good project for northern Nevada and we believe that in our hearts that it's an events center that will benefit all of northern Nevada."

The Reno Rodeo celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The event begins Thursday, June 20. Torvinen says ticket sales are going strong, showing the popularity of the annual event. Tickets are still available but fans are encouraged to buy their tickets early. The most affordable way to get your tickets are in-person at the north side of the livestock events center.

"That way, they can avoid the fees and that kind of stuff and it's run by the UNR ticket office, actually, and those guys know exactly what seats are open and what are available when you walk up to the window," Torvinen said.

Tickets range from $11 to $27 but online sales include those additional fees. Third-party online sales can increase prices well above $100. Officials say the most tickets are available during the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday events. Each event is not considered to be sold out until the only seats left have obstructions. Many tickets are also set aside for corporate sponsors. If those are not used, they go on sale every evening of the event.

"There will be some but I can't guarantee that there will be very many and those typically get released about 3:00 every day," Torvinen said.

Torvinen says the 10-day Reno Rodeo brings $57 million in economic impact to the Truckee Meadows.