Changes await rodeo circuits in 2019

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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Rodeo competitors and fans have exciting new developments to look forward to in 2019.

On the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit, the earnings from the RFD-TV’s The American at AT&T Stadium in Arlington and the Houston Livestock Show Rodeo at NRG Stadium in Houston will count in the world title races.

Since its inception in 2014, The American has been an independent rodeo, which invited the top riders on the PRCA circuit and paid them very well. However, the prize money has not counted toward qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo. That will change during the this year’s March 2-3 event that is now sanctioned by the PRCA.

For many years, the Houston Rodeo was one of the PRCA’s largest rodeos of the regular season that helped competitors qualify for the NFR. But in 2011, the two entities parted ways. In 2019, the organizations will reunite for RodeoHouston, which is scheduled for Feb. 25-March 17.

The Professional Bull Riders circuit will collaborate with the World’s Champions Rodeo Alliance to produce a lucrative rodeo in the Chicago area Jan. 11 called the WRCA Windy City Round-Up. The rodeo will feature high-profile riders and will be held in conjunction with the PBR’s traditional stop, the Chicago Invitational slated for Jan. 12-13 at the All-State Arena in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill.

In recent years, the PBR and RFD-TV have worked together at AT&T Stadium in Arlington to produce the PBR’s Iron Cowboy show in conjunction with The American. The Iron Cowboy performance was conducted on a Saturday night at the Iron Cowboy was on a Sunday afternoon.

In 2019, the PBR and RFD-TV will not collaborate at AT&T Stadium. Instead, the PBR will conduct its annual Global Cup, a big international competition, at AT&T Stadium on Feb. 9-10. The PBR will conduct its traditional winter higher-paying Iron Cowboy competition at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Feb. 22-23.

The PBR also has made a change on the location of its Last Cowboy Standing tour stop. In recent years, the Last Cowboy Standing was in May in Las Vegas in conjunction with the city’s traditional Helldorado Days Rodeo. This year, the Last Cowboy Standing will be in Cheyenne, Wyo., on July 22-23 during Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.


The National Finals Rodeo celebrated its 60th edition Dec. 6-15 at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus in Las Vegas.

The NFR had its humble beginnings at Dallas’ Fair Park Coliseum in Dallas in 1959. The NFR also was conducted in Dallas the next two years.

The NFR was in Los Angeles in 1962-64. The NFR experienced burgeoning growth while in Oklahoma City from 1965 through 1984.

In 1985, the NFR was moved to Las Vegas where it has remained.

PRCA chief executive officer George Taylor said the National Finals historically has been a successful rodeo that’s underwent big changes. One big change was in 1985 when the NFR’s purse jumped to $1,790,000 during its first year in Las Vegas. The purse was $901,550 in 1984, the NFR’s last year in Oklahoma City.

“When you look at all of the changes that have been made to rodeo and that move from Dallas, the move from Oklahoma to Vegas, those were very uncertain times,” Taylor said. “But by all of us pulling on the rope at the same time together, we’ve been able to make it successful. And we’ve got a great partner in Vegas now and we want that to continue to grow.”

Today, the NFR’s purse is $10 million. A contestant receives $10,000 for a qualification in each event and $8.8 million is paid throughout the 10 performances.


Wise County competitors finished strong in the 2018 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world title races.

After earning $101,525 throughout the 10-day WNFR in tie-down roping, Trevor Brazile of Decatur clinched the PRCA 2018 world all-around title with $335,679. Tuf Cooper of Decatur finished second in the all-around race with $310,357. Cooper also finished second in the tie-down roping world title race with $205,268 after pocketing $70,500 at the WNFR in tie-down roping.


Ed Knocke, 79, who reported on rodeos for the Dallas Morning News, passed away Dec. 3. Knocke, who had residences in Bedford and in the Phoenix area, was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in the Fort Worth Stockyards in 2007.

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades.

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