Greg Rook, Lancaster Event Center Operations Directors & 13 NHSFR experiences

The "Good Life" Attracts Rodeo Expert to Nebraska

Published: November 2019

By Greg Rook, Lancaster Event Center Operations Director & 13 NHSFR experiences

LEC Grounds aerialRodeo touches the lives of so many throughout the world–especially thousands of youth in National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA), known for having the world’s largest rodeo. While I’ve been a rodeo athlete, I’ve spent most of my career behind the scenes of National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) ensuring it runs smoothly and is a memorable experience for all the participants.

 

In 2019 my life changed when my daughter pursued a job opportunity in Omaha, Nebraska. Having successfully coordinated 13 NHSFR’s in Wyoming, when NHSRA announced Lancaster Event Center (LEC) in Lincoln, Nebraska as the NHSFR location for July 2020, 2021, 2026 & 2027, I approached LEC about potential job opportunities. Being offered the position of LEC Operations Director gave my wife and I the chance to move near our daughter and make a big impact on NHSFR and all LEC events.  Ready for new adventures, we took the leap.

 

Our transition to Nebraska’s capital city has been great. We’ve found Lincoln to be very friendly, with a small community feel in a big town setting. Located in the middle of America, LEC is truly at the center of it all, a big reason it attracts 120+ regional and national events annually and making it your ultimate rodeo destination.  Just off I-80 and near I-29, Lincoln has 70+ hotels with over 5,000 rooms, from full-service to economy options; over 900 restaurants; plenty of shopping; and numerous places offering family-friendly fun including feeding giraffes at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, which my wife has loved.  Plus, there’s plenty to see and do as you make the drive to Lincoln. We both can’t wait to get our kayaks out on Nebraska’s lakes and check out tanking down the Niobrara River!

 

Transitioning to LEC has been a breeze too.  My first week here was during the Lancaster County Super Fair, Nebraska’s largest county fair with 130,000 attendees. This gave me a good grasp on just how great of service the LEC is known for. The genuine care the entire staff has for the facility and its numerous events has impressed me the most in my first months here. They’re willing to do almost anything to ensure all events run smoothly and are successful. LEC is proud to have four NHSFR Alumni on staff, competitors from 1978 to 2017, meaning we know first-hand how it feels to compete and we’re all the more committed to providing you an incredible rodeo experience.

 

As Operations Director, I’m focused on ensuring NHSFR preparation is on track for July 2020. With 400,000 square feet of buildings on our grassy fairgrounds, I’m most excited for the rodeo to be less spread out than previous locations. LEC received $7 Million in funding to make grounds improvements to host NHSFR, including additional and upgraded campgrounds, expanded outdoor multi-purpose arena and new 3,300-person covered grandstand.

 

Driving from Wyoming to Nebraska, it was easy to see how rodeo skills continue to be an integral part of Nebraska life, which I’ve learned is ranked #1 beef on feed state in the USA. I’m eager to continue making NHSFR’s great for thousands of youth at LEC with this incredible, dedicated staff. We hope to see you when the world’s largest rodeo rides into Lincoln, July 19-25, 2020!

Whether you plan to watch, shop and eat at NHSFR Lincoln or want to get involved as a volunteer, vendor or sponsor, be sure to reach out to us at and follow us on our social media @NHSFRLincoln.