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      WRCA World Championship Rodeo brings $2 million to Amarillo

      Starting Thursday, the Amarillo Civic Center looked less like a civic center and a lot more like rodeo grounds.

      That's because it's time for the 16th Annual World Championship Ranch Rodeo sponsored by the Working Ranch Cowboy Association. As usual, it's sure to be a weekend full of the rodeo's usual western flair.

      "We've got all kinds of things like our trade show, our trade and trapping show, our ranch expo, we've got the Budweiser Clydesdales here," said WRCA President, Randy Whipple. "We have a huge amount of all kinds of vendors from all over the place."

      But this annual event, native to Amarillo, brings a lot more to the city than just a good time. The rodeo is also known to give the city of Amarillo a healthy economic boost.

      "Conservatively, about two million dollars gets infused into our economy this weekend," said Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Director of Communications, Eric Miller.

      "There are thousands of people here in Amarillo," said Whipple, "buying meals, buying tanks of gas and diesel fuel, staying in hotels and enjoying Amarillo."

      Because the rodeo is so good for Amarillo's local economy and, let's face it, a lot of fun, the WRCA and Chamber of Commerce are already negotiating another contract to keep the rodeo in Amarillo.

      "Our contract goes through 2012," said Whipple. "We have to look at other things sometimes but Amarillo does so much for us and it's such a great facility, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it's stays here," he added.

      The Chamber plans to "work together, find out the plan that'll fit everybody's needs and keep this important event here where it started, in Amarillo," added Miller.

      You can still buy tickets for rodeo events going on this weekend through Panhandle Tickets online, or by calling their office at 378-3096.