Chairman says plans for new American Royal complex progressing

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A mock-up of the proposed American Royal complex, released in 2016.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The American Royal World Series of BBQ is underway at Kansas Speedway, but the price tag for a new American Royal complex in KCK will be much higher than the $160 million originally anticipated.

In 2016, the American Royal Association announced it would move out of KCMO, where it had been held since its beginning, to Wyandotte County. Since then, the annual World Series of BBQ has been held at Kansas Speedway.

“It`s a planning number for the most part,” said Charlie Tetrick, the chairman of the board for the American Royal. “We had certain plans as we were developing all this a couple years ago, and things just kind of tend to grow. And at the end of the day, it’s going to fluctuate up and down until we get the final plans in place.”

The American Royal chairman said officials have been visiting events centers and rodeos and are still working to get their final plans in place.

The new American Royal complex will cover around 112 aces northwest of Kansas Speedway. It will include an arena and educational exhibits on agriculture — as the main mission of the American Royal is all about youth education in agriculture.

The American Royal began in 1899 as the National Hereford Show. Now, along with the World Series of Barbecue, there are also six equestrian shows, a livestock show, youth and PRCA rodeos.

Tetrick said they’re getting great support from around the country from national agriculture companies and other companies interesting in helping with the funding.

“We`ve got the state of Kansas that is doing a big STAR bond program, which is estimated around $80 million, and we`re doing a private fundraiser to raise the other $100-ish (million).

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