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Riders after the opening of Core Arena at the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The permanent outdoor equestrian center will also host other outdoor events when the National Finals Rodeo is not in town. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Riders after the opening of Core Arena at the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The permanent outdoor equestrian center will also host other outdoor events when the National Finals Rodeo is not in town. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto

By Richard N. Velotta / Las Vegas Review-Journal

It must be rodeo season in Las Vegas. Operators of the 1,000-room Plaza in Las Vegas made a bid to reclaim downtown’s western heritage Tuesday by officially opening Core Arena, downtown’s first permanent outdoor equestrian center.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and 2017’s 13th-ranked rodeo cowboy Matt Shiozawa presided over a ribbon-cutting event for the facility opening two days before the start of the 10-day 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center and a day before a downtown hoedown on Fremont Street.

The new facility will feature two outdoor arenas for roping practice and exercise during NFR. After the rodeo concludes, the Plaza’s equestrian center will become the city’s newest outdoor event venue which operators say will diversify the downtown experience and attract more business and people downtown year-round.

Plaza officials are ripping a page from the successful South Point on Las Vegas Boulevard South that features an indoor equestrian arena that stages scores of events every year. South Point annually hosts a team-roping competition separate from the National Finals Rodeo that attracts attention for its rich prize pool of $13 million.

“The Plaza always had a great name in the rodeo, but for us, it wasn’t always such a busy time down here,” said Jonathan Jossel, CEO of the Plaza in remarks to a crowd of about 100 people.

Jossel said the Plaza experimented with a temporary arena last year and decided to commit to a permanent facility. “With the evolution of our arena now and what happened last year and what we’ve grown to this year, I think it’s only going to get bigger and better,” he said. “Where else in Las Vegas can you kiss your horse goodnight and then go inside and gamble and have dinner? There is one other place, but this is downtown Las Vegas and this is a little different.”

© Las Vegas Review-Journal, Inc. (2018), used with permission.

Find out more about other Equestrian Centers in our section on Arenas, Event Venues, Show Facilities.

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