LAS VEGAS (May 4, 2018) – WCRA (World Champions Rodeo Alliance), formed in cooperation with PBR (Professional Bull Riders) to develop new opportunities for rodeo, today announced rodeo events that will award $6 million to competitors, an innovative virtual qualification and world ranking system for athletes to qualify for high-payout rodeos, and other growth initiatives for the industry.
The announcements were made at an unprecedented Rodeo Summit open to all rodeo competitors, organizers, and industry stakeholders at South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas ahead of the WCRA Rodeo Showdown, a $400,000 rodeo at The Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV on May 5 and 6.
The $6 million in payouts will be comprised of four large rodeos each featuring a $1 million purse. Four semi-final qualifier events will provide the additional $2 million in prize money. Qualifying will be based on points, rather than dollars won, through a new world ranking points system that WCRA introduced today.
The first WCRA $500,000 semi-final event is scheduled for November at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, OK, followed by the first WCRA $1 million rodeo in Sacramento, CA in January 2019. Additional 2019 WCRA large-payout events will be announced at a later date.
Additionally, WCRA unveiled new technology, including the WCRA Virtual Rodeo Qualifier (VRQ), available for every rodeo athlete to access a mobile nomination system to qualify for the $6 million in payouts. Through the VRQ, athletes can track their own and all other competitors’ performances in rodeos and single discipline events throughout the year. This new free mobile web App for rodeo athletes was unveiled to put the administration of the sport in the hand of athletes, stock contractors, and committee members. For more information visit www.WCRARodeo.com and https://youtu.be/lVEMfk4dJiI
Each athlete’s first opportunity to qualify through the VRQ is less than 70 days away at the $1 million Komatsu Equipment Days of ‘47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo presented by Zions Bank held July 19-21, 23-24, 2018 in Salt Lake City.
WCRA also announced new multi-year alliances to bring new opportunities to rodeo athletes, grow rodeo’s fan base and increase coverage for the sport:
- •Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo: The Komatsu Equipment Days of ‘47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo presented by Zions Bank held each July in Salt Lake City will be the first $1 million rodeo in 2018 in which athletes can utilize the newly unveiled WCRA Virtual Qualifier to earn one of 20 spots in their respective discipline. The only exception is in the bull riding: due to a previously announced partnership with the PBR, only four bull-riding positions will be available via the WCRA Virtual Qualifier. Additionally, the event champions of the WCRA Rodeo Showdown at Helldorado Days (May 5 and 6, 2018) will receive an automatic invitation into the 2018 Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo. The 2018 Days of ’47 will be streamed on RidePass, PBR’s western sports digital network, providing the event expanded coverage and reach. In 2019 and 2020, the Days of ’47 will also produce a $500,000 semi-final event as part of the WCRA Major Event Series. For more information on Days of ’47 visit www.daysof47cowboygames.com
- •International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) will provide its members many opportunities to virtually qualify for the rodeo events paying out $6 million, including a path for the 2018 IPRA World Champion to enter the first 2019 WCRA $1 million rodeo in Sacramento in late January. The IPRA will hold four “Win and You’re In” events during each of four WCRA series segments, giving members a direct route into a semi-finals event. The IPRA is the second-largest professional rodeo association, sanctioning nearly 400 rodeos across the nation for more than 60 years.
- •National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA): The NBHA is the largest barrel racing organization in the world, with more than 20,000 members worldwide and over 150,000 barrel racing entries each year, each of which will provide members eligibility for nomination and opportunities to virtually qualify for the WCRA’s $6 million rodeos. Through four designated “Win and You’re In” events, NBHA event champions will automatically progress into a WCRA $500,000 semi-finals event.
- •Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) has more than 20 tour rodeos annually. More than 2,000 INFR members will have the opportunity to utilize the WCRA Virtual Qualifier at their INFR-tour rodeos to earn points towards qualifying for the $6 million rodeos. The 43rd Annual Indian National Finals Rodeo event in October 2018 will be a “Win and You’re In,” with world champions receiving a berth into the November 2018 WCRA $500,000 semi-finals event held at the Lazy E in Guthrie, OK.
Consistent with WCRA’s mission to align a fragmented sport, rodeo athletes will have instant access to a new world ranking point system based on a proprietary formula created by WCRA to rank all rodeo, worldwide, regardless of event location or sanctioning body. The formula also evaluates rodeo events by discipline, allowing athletes to earn appropriate points for their respective independent disciplines.
The new standings rank rodeos based on objective data such as athlete opportunity, strength of field, overall exposure and event history. To rank rodeos more effectively the system breaks the entire sport into four Divisions of competition with points awarded based on the appropriate Division assigned to each rodeo.
“WCRA was formed to create alliances and opportunities to help rodeo athletes earn more money at marquee events that will excite fans, while making a path to a full-time rodeo career more attractive and accessible to talented, aspiring western sports athletes,” said Gary McKinney, CEO, WCRA. “We’re very excited to bring the industry under one roof to share our ideas, seek solutions and collaborate to grow a traditional American sport that deserves a bigger fan base, more sponsors, events in all corners of the country, and expanded coverage.”
WCRA is a professional sport and entertainment entity, created to develop and advance the sport of rodeo by aligning all levels of competition. In association with PBR, WCRA produces major rodeo events, developing additional opportunities for rodeo industry competitors, stakeholders and fans. To learn more visit worldchampionsrodeoalliance.com.
About Professional Bull Riders (PBR)
The world’s premier bull riding organization began as a dream of 20 bull riders 25 years ago and now operates in five countries. On its elite tour, the organization features the top 35 bull riders in the world and the top bulls in the business. The televised 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast, along with the PBR Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour (RVT), the PBR Touring Pro Division (TPD) and the PBR’s international circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico have paid nearly $184 million in earnings to its athletes. Thirty bull riders have earned more than $1 million, including two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney who is the top-earning athlete in Western sports history with more than $7.2 million in career earnings. PBR is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network. For more information on the PBR, go to PBR.com, or follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/PBR, Instagram at Instagram.com/PBR, and YouTube at YouTube.com/PBR