PRCA Futures; New Year's Resolutions for Professional Rodeo
During the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas, Nevada, every December, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) takes the time to meet, present and educate rodeo committees and employees throughout the country at the PRCA’s Annual Convention. Join the That Western Life Podcasting team as they dig deeper into new hires and unofficial resolutions of the PRCA in 2019!
The PRCA Convention starts with the Chief Executive Office, George Taylor, giving his first ever address. His vision is very big, bringing in new people to help grow the PRCA, members and fans.
Numbers were down last year.
This concerning with the PRCA’s membership, the PRCA rodeos, even.
Money was up from PRCA’s sponsors.
This is exciting as this is what adds purse monies into our finals and into individual rodeos which, in turn, increases contestants.
There were more fans here and there.
New areas where we can watch rodeo such as the ProRodeo TV streaming app.
Returning permits are going up.
We aren’t losing out on contestants that are getting injured and moving forward.
Prediction: Membership will increase with the semi-retirement of Trevor Brazile, the King of the Cowboys.
George Taylor definitely comes across as more CEO, whereas his predecessor, Karl Stressman, came across as more cowboy. Both gentleman have worked very hard in their positions to promote the professional sport of rodeo. TWL Host Rachel was our on the ground correspondent at the convention thanks to the Lakeside Rodeo of San Diego.
George Taylor; the CEO’s Address at the PRCA Convention
For his first time addressing the entire membership that he’s been at the helm of, George Taylor is taking PRCA and his job as CEO by storm. He appears and looks to be fearless, one foot in front of the other to get things done. While there may have been a lot of conversation and uncertainty on social media as Taylor doesn’t come to the CEO position as a former rodeo athlete.
Just like the NFL or NBA, whose commissioners didn’t compete at the professional level for the sports that they have, Taylor can walk the walk and talk the talk. He’s coming in with an outside perspective it is giving him the ability to think outside of the box to the future of the PRCA.
Karl Stressman; Career in Review
Karl Stressman’s initiatives were to support contestants being able to stay local or regional and making it less of a financial burden to be a PRCA cardholder and have success. He promoted the 12 regional Circuit Finals and the National Circuit Finals.
A champion of the All American ProRodeo series, which was an association in the rodeo heavy states of Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, Stressman was able to get larger purses for those finals. For a rodeo to count, it must be $30,000 or less added money to any rodeo in the country. Contestants got 50 points for competing in an All American ProRodeo and then a point for every dollar won at those. Their finals, held in Waco, Texas, the second week in October but 2018 was the last year of those finals.
Finals dollars from the 12 Ram Circuit Finals, the Ram National Circuit Finals, and the All American ProRodeo Series counted in the world standings as of the 2017 seasons, but will no longer count in 2019. The 2018 season was the last of the two seasons that the finals money counts toward the world standings making it a very small “wink in time.”
These smaller finals allowed contestants to win more money to gain access to the limited-access rodeos like Rodeo Houston.
Mexican Rodeo Federation Addition
Stressman assisted creating the Mexican Rodeo Federation into the Ram National Circuit Finals as if they are their own circuit. When Stressman left office last year, he had Rodeos sanctioned in Brazil, Mexico and Canada that counted towards the world standings. Two contestants from each event came to Kissimmee, Florida, to compete for those finals.
Marcus Costa was the first Brazilian to win the tie-down roping in the 2017 world title. He also won the Top Gun award that year, joining Junior Noguiera (team roping heeler) to push for Brazilian success in timed events. It’s great to see rodeo expand and to watch people find success in professional rodeo.
What’s next for Karl Stressman?
Currently working with USTRC, we are interested to see what he will do with that association. They have over 30,000 members and over 100 qualifying events. It’ll be fun to watch to see how that grows and changes in the future. They have already joined forces with the WSTR, proving that being united in the sport of rodeo is the way to grow exponentially, which you can see through their discount in getting the memberships together.
New Hires to the PRCA: Anthony Bartkowski
Anthony Bartkowski has announced a focus on recruiting the grass roots organizations into the professional ranks and athlete development. Being an educator, host Lisa Lageschaar is a former teacher and firmly believes in the youth as the future of the PRCA. This will go hand-in-hand with the PRCA’s youth camps.
Director of Athlete Development and Animal Welfare
Bartkowski comes from all the rough and tumble sports like boxing and wrestling, he’s an outside force to be reckoned with when it comes to professional athlete events. A unique thing for him, is that he’ll be overseeing the operations of the livestock welfare - it should be interesting to see how he handles protestors before Houston or the NFR. Protestors have been seen at a variety of rodeos, even smaller Texas circuit rodeos not just in large, typically liberal cities.
We know the great care our animals receive and having someone like Anthony to be taking care of it. As the new CEO, Taylor needs to stay on top of the avalanche as Ringling Brothers ended their over 100 year run. How do we make sure that this fate doesn’t fall to rodeo? Is rodeo facing the same fate?
Director of Athlete Development
What can professional rodeo do for their contestants?
Rodeo really wants to go into mainstream sports but, unlike mainstream sports, rodeo doesn’t have teams with individual public relations teams to help them. Will there be an online platform to help educate those contestants remotely to help them carry themselves into the new era of rodeo?
At the PRCA convention they talked about the new website with in-depth information on contestants, the bucking stock, and the analysis of what a match up could look like. These stats can help you have prediction and game analysis going into an event which allows fans to have more investment into each match-up or a loyalty to a competitor. A lot of work, but it’ll be well worth it.
PRCA Rodeo Additions
The American Goes PRCA
Thanks to George Taylor, the famous 2-day one million dollar rodeo is now sanctioned with the PRCA as of 2019. Slated for March 2nd and 3rd, it’s going to pay out a lot of money to now count for the world standings.
Contestants can still qualify in through the qualifying events in all events.
As a qualifications based rodeo, money won won’t count for the current Ram Texas Circuit Finals.
If a cowboy has purchased a PRCA card before the American, they are now eligible to count their winnings at the American towards the world standings.
Only $50,000 for first place will count for the world standings.
Any place below that, all of their money earned will count towards the world standings.
February 25 through March 1 is the qualifier; that isn’t a PRCA rodeo. AT&T Stadium winnings will count.
How does this factor in? Look at the event of steer wrestling, one of the most evenly distributed standings, the number 16 cowboy for 2018 was around $80,000 won for the year. Can you imagine what $50,000 is going to do right there? It’s almost going to solidify them a spot in the WNFR.
Prediction: It’ll take more money to qualify for the 2019 National Finals Rodeo.
Rodeo Houston (Texas) and Pike’s Peak or Bust (Colorado) rodeos have both come back to the PRCA.
New Permit Cardholders
JB Mauney and Jess Lockwood, two very successful Professional Bull Riders, got their permits for the 2019 season. Unfortunately, they can’t get in to these limited entry rodeos with big money. This will be the a heated Resistol Rookie of the Year battle. Once they have won the $1,000 on their permit to get their Rookie card, the money will count towards the world standings. Will they stick it out?
The follow the track of Shane Proctor who came back to PRCA full time with saddle bronc and bull riding after riding in the PBR. Increasing entries, he’ll be competing for the All Around title which is unique on the roughstock end. The last one to do so was Ty Murray, who won 7 all around titles and 2 bull riding championships, the last one in 1993.
PRCA’s New Safe Sport Initiative
Seventeen pages front and back, this is something that the PRCA is taking very seriously. A code of conduct of how you should be acting when you are representing the professional sport of rodeo and the PRCA, with the actions if you break those rules. Outlining all the types of misconduct, it allows the PRCA to take further action from there.
It’s not just PRCA members, it’s also contractors, volunteers, internal committee members, PRCA rodeo committee members, sponsors, event attendees, and more. The first case example may be the Cody Nite Rodeo Association with a story that broke right after the 2018 WNFR.
Wrangler Steps Down from Exclusive Clothing Sponsorship
In 2018, Wrangler was still the title sponsor of the PRCA and the NFR but they stepped down from the exclusivity clause. Competition is healthy and keeps us striving and working for the next level. This now gives us some room for growth, and gaining the partnership with Cinch and more, it opens up healthy competition shows that we are going to grow money and, in turn, grow the sport. It takes money to grow in every aspect.
Cinch jumped in to be a sponsor immediately, which has been fun to watch how that develops and changes the marketing schematic for prorodeo. Not just that, Cinch had six endorsees that became world champions in 2018.
If you could make one rule for the PRCA?
Lisa Lageschaar: Jerk down rule clarification.
Did Tuf Cooper really jerk the calf down between ten and two? It was hard to tell, the announcers didn’t explain that on the television, and it needs to be analyzed and looked over to make sure it doesn’t put limitations on our sport. This look would be great for both our contestants and our animals.
Tuf did a great job explaining what happened for everyone at home on his Facebook.
Eliminating gray area is very important for the preservation of our sport.
Katie Schrock: Ground money should count in the NFR only for all events.
Bull riding is the only event at the WNFR where ground money counts. What this means, is that if not all six payout slots are filled after the round with only 1 to 5 covered rides, than the additional money is spread out throughout the contestants that got a qualified time. This added money doesn’t count towards the All Around standings, just that event.
In the team roping at the NFR in round six, there was only five legal catches in one run, and if ground money had counted it potentially could have shook up the standings. (Further investigation says that it wouldn’t have in this particular rare case, but, theoretically, it could in the future!)
If you could make up a rule for the PRCA and WPRA, what would it be?
Drop it in the comments below or send us a message on any social media platform or email us at email@example.com! Give us five stars in a review, tell your friends, and help us get bigger and better for you the fans!
Theme Song: Doin’ Me by Trevor Tagle