Cowboys and the Wild West still capture the imagination of foreigners - even in the Soviet Union, a rodeo promoter says.

Stephen Gander, who once staged a rodeo for former President Reagan, hopes to have broncos bucking in a Moscow arena by the end of next year.The cowboy as profession may have been consigned forever to television advertisements, "but when you leave the borders, the American cowboy is the thing that other people identify with," Gander said. "It's the most recognized symbol worldwide for the United States."

Gander, 38, the producer of the World's Toughest Rodeo, is no stranger to extravaganzas. In 1985, he sponsored a huge beach party in the middle of Iowa by trucking in tons of sand to a grassy area off a freeway.

U.S. officials say Gander's rodeo would be one of the largest cultural exchanges between the two countries since Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed an exchange initiative in January 1986.