Although the 20th edition of the International Finals Youth Rodeo concluded less than three months ago, officials are already looking ahead to IFYR 21 in 2013.

Although the 20th edition of the International Finals Youth Rodeo concluded less than three months ago, officials are already looking ahead to IFYR 21 in 2013.

The official dates have been set for July 7-12 next year, and Mike Jackson says planning for the 21st year is already under way. Jackson is operations director of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, site of the annual IFYR.

He also is IFYR coordinator.

A couple of items are on the agenda for this week's meeting of the Shawnee Civic and Cultural Development Authority on Thursday related to next year's IFYR.

Jackson described this year's IFYR as going well, pointing especially to the appreciation shown the longtime volunteers and also the additional Hall of Fame inductions.

"Attendance was up by 13,000 people over the previous year," he said. "There were no real problems with the rodeo," he added, terming it "one of the best rodeos we've had."

He noted that volunteers indicated they were really pleased with the upgrades to facilities, and emphasized "there were zero electrical problems."

He attributed that to the investment the city commission committed on upgrading the electrical which increased the amperage to 50 amps from 30 mps throughout the RV parking areas which needed it.

Jackson also pointed to the huge investment made in upgrading several of the parking lots.

Ticket sales once again surpassed the $100,000 figure, totaling $113,000, which was an increase over the figure of the IFYR in 2011. Attendance was up during each of the day and night performances over the previous year, Jackson stated.

Slated for improvement before next year's IFYR, actually within the near future, are three of the four comfort stations at the Expo Center. The city commission has committed $100,000 for the improvements.

Jackson said this will include new roofs and complete new exterior surfaces as well. He said the roofs on three comfort stations, built back in 1989, "are all in bad shape." The fourth comfort station, constructed during the mid-90s, is in better shape, he added.

The funds provided by the city also will allow some inside work to begin being done in those comfort stations. "The$100,000 will help get these a lot nicer both outside and in," he stated.

During Thursday's meeting of the SCCDA, Authority members will be asked to consider approving bids for the roofing, cornish work, and guttering on all four comfort stations. He said the bids requested include both composition shingles and metal roofs for the buildings.

The Expo Center will host a huge FMCA RV Rally later this month. Jackson indicated he would like to get the work started after that, estimating it probably can be done within a couple of months after it's begun.

Jackson said also that he and the board are looking at dropping pre-entries for next year's IFYR. "I'd like to do it all online, but I know some don't have that capability," Jackson explained.

However, obstacles to overcome with that idea is obtaining the required signatures of parents of the contestants and getting the entry forms notarized.

Jackson acknowledged that is an issue they have to figure out.

Some think when they are pre-entered, they are done," he said. "And pre-entries don't necessarily reflect the true numbers."