The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is targeting youth ages 8 to 19 with a new league that will hold its first finals event at a major football stadium in March.
Thanks to a new association initiative, the next generation of professional rodeo athletes is going to have a lot of experience on the big stage at a young age.
Last week, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) announced the introduction of a subsidiary organization, the Jr. Rodeo Association, that will offer rodeo opportunities to youth ages 8 to 19. The group’s debut will coincide with a televised event, the Jr. National Finals Rodeo, which will air for the first time in March from AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play. The event, targeted at high school age competitors, will air on The Cowboy Channel, a cable outlet dedicated to Western sports.
“We are all in,” Cowboy Channel President Patrick Gottsch said in a news release. “Encouraging more young people and their families to participate and enjoy the sport of rodeo is a win for everyone.”
The new association will feature a variety of rodeo events, including bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, girls’ breakaway roping, and girls’ barrel racing. Competitors for the first finals event, who must be Jr. Rodeo Association members, will be pulled from winners of the 2019 editions of a number of existing youth rodeo events.
The parent organization aims to help create a farm system of sorts for the rodeo field, building the sport’s popularity with a budding age group while giving future pros a chance to shine on a real-world scale, says PRCA CEO George Taylor.
“The Jr. Rodeo initiative is important for the future growth of rodeo, and it is important for us to develop the future stars properly,” Taylor said. “Our new association is fundamentally built to embrace and grow youth participation in rodeo events. All rodeo starts here, and Jr. Rodeo is responsible for providing opportunities for kids to learn, improve, and compete alongside the best cowboys in the best arenas like AT&T Stadium.”
And just like the adult league, a lot of money is up for grabs for winners: At least $200,000 in additional guaranteed prize money will be added for The Cowboy Channel Jr. National Finals Rodeo.