Lancaster Event Center hit by microburst tornado ahead of National High School Finals Rodeo

Lancaster Event Center hit by microburst tornado ahead of National High School Finals Rodeo
The damage was done as Event Center staff raced to put finishing touches on the facility ahead of the 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR).
July 12th, 2021 | RRN Staff

Huge tents were crumbled and outdoor horse stalls were crushed as a powerful storm hit the Lancaster Event Center Fairgrounds early Saturday morning.

The damage was done as Event Center staff raced to put finishing touches on the facility ahead of the 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR).

The rodeo, the largest in the world by contestants, begins welcoming competitors from around the world on Thursday. More than 1,600 high school students are expected for this year’s event.

“We lost a good portion of our outside (horse) stalls and our tent areas that we were getting set up,” said Kendra Ronnau, president of the Lancaster County Agricultural Society. “There was a lot of devastation early, early Saturday morning. It was hard to see.”

Volunteers began working to clear the grounds on Saturday morning and their work continued on Sunday.

“We had people walking in from Lincoln, we had people coming from Hastings and Ogallala. As the word got out… We had a lot of folks come.”

Ronnau said the rodeo will proceed as scheduled. Public performances begin Sunday, July 18, and continue through July 24. Tickets are available for pre-purchase or can be purchased at the event. Find more information at nhsfrlincoln.org.

Event officials are seeking additional volunteers this week.

  • Monday: Planting flowers and placing signs
  • Tuesday: Preparing contestant welcome buckets
  • Wednesday: Placing 2,050 stall tags

As the rodeo begins, the remaining open volunteer roles include:

  • Rodeo performances gate ticket taker/monitor
  • Rodeo Ticket sales
  • Parking lot guides
  • RV guides during check-in (driving golf cart, 19 years plus)

Details and volunteer sign-up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/nhsfrlincoln2021

Audio: Kendra Ronnau, president of the Lancaster County Agricultural Society

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