County Officials Planning Livestock Show For Gables Park
Written by Eric Kalis on June 1, 2006
By Eric Kalis
Miami-Dade County officials are organizing the Miami International Livestock Show, a cattle fair at Tropical Park in Coral Gables they hope will generate revenue and trade opportunities with Latin America.
In February, Commissioner Javier Souto presented the idea of bringing a cattle show to the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center at Tropical Park, often a site for horse-related events. The county commission voted April 25 to back the fair.
Citing a need to share ideas with cattle traders in Central and South America, which export more than 400 million pounds of cooked beef to the US, Mr. Souto pushed for the commission’s support.
"I got the idea for a cattle fair at Tropical Park after attending one in Houston last March," Mr. Souto said. "It could be a big moneymaker for the county. We could bring in goats, horses and cows of different breeds."
The county parks and recreation department is in charge of planning the event. If the fair is organized in time to debut next year, Mr. Souto said, there would be forums with cattle importers, livestock auctions and performances to attract family audiences.
"We will probably have rodeos for people to enjoy," he said. "There will be demonstrations. This is not just to make money. We want to entertain."
Mr. Souto said he has generated interest from state officials, including Gov. Jeb Bush.
"When I mentioned this idea to Gov. Bush, he started reminiscing about the shows in Houston he used to attend," Mr. Souto said. "Miami is so well-located internationally that this could attract business in Central and South America."
Bernardo Escobar, an assistant to Mr. Souto, said the county is exploring potential operators for the fair who would be in charge of gathering the livestock and attracting participants.
"This is an opportunity for the parks and recreation department to make money at literally no investment by the county," Mr. Escobar said. "We would bring in an operator and make a percentage of the revenue. The goal is to establish Miami as a point of entry in the cattle trade."
Of all the farms and open land in South Florida, he said, Tropical Park is most conducive to a cattle fair.
"Tropical Park is an ideal spot," Mr. Escobar said. "The Equestrian Center is already there, and we have $15 million in General Obligation Bonds to expand the facility."