History of the Mesquite Rodeo
The Mesquite ProRodeo is a rodeo located in Mesquite, Texas that operates during rodeo season (roughly June through August).
Founded in 1958 by Neal Gay as a permanent rodeo (as opposed to many other rodeos that would move from town to town), the rodeo struggled in the early years, but grew as the city of Mesquite grew. By 1970, Interstate 635 was constructed, allowing everybody in the Dallas area to be able to easily visit the rodeo .
By the mid 1980s, rodeo performances at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo began to be broadcast on ESPN and then later TNN and Fox Sports Net Southwest. On Fox Sports Net Southwest, the rodeo has reached over 8.3 million households, to date, the most televised rodeo in the world next to the NHSRA 20X Rodeo telecast on RFD-TV.
In 1985, ground was broken for the Mesquite Arena, a new facility for the Mesquite Rodeo, located near Interstate 635 and Scyene Road. By 1998, the facility was expanded to include a Convention Center, Exhibition Hall and a Hampton Inn & Suites.
In 1999, Tom Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars, purchased Mesquite Championship Rodeo. By 2001, attendance had grown to 200,000 during the season. In 2009, a group of investors formed a company called Camelot Sports & Entertainment and purchased the Mesquite Championship Rodeo from Hicks and renamed it the Mesquite ProRodeo. Camelot has reportedly invested nearly $1.5 million by adding high definition video boards over the bucking chutes, remodeling and refurbishing many of the suites in the arena and adding a private restaurant called the 8-Second Club, which its members can use throughout the year.
The facility has hosted Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush and Prince Rainier III of Monaco.