Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rivera ropes Richardson

Just weeks after Colorado Springs fought off New Mexico's attempt to woo the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association and Hall of Fame to Albuquerque, Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera (left) found himself standing face-to-face with none other than New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (right), who led his state's effort to attract the PRCA.

Rivera was attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual convention in Las Vegas in early June, and Richardson was a speaker who did a grip-and-grin session afterward.

"It felt good to shake his hand and look him in the eye," Rivera said of the encounter. "He said, 'How are you doing mayor? Good to see you'." No, Rivera added, the two didn't discuss the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association. "It was on my mind," Rivera said.

The PRCA said in February it was moving to New Mexico and accepting the state's $17 million in incentives. But after Springs officials and rodeo supporters put their own incentives package on the table, the PRCA walked away from New Mexico in May -- although it stopped short of formally accepting the Springs' offer.

Since then, local officials have been waiting to hear if the PRCA will commit to a long-term stay in the Springs. Rivera said one member of a community task force has been in contact with the PRCA, while the mayor has spoken with a representative of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy. Both have been in the Springs since 1979.

The PRCA board next meets in August, Rivera said.

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