Since may of 2018 when the WCRA (World Champions Rodeo Alliance) was launched, the organization has embraced the role as the rodeo disruptor.
This status was earned by creating million-dollar rodeos (and paying out more than $7.5 million to athletes), working with PBR to bring rodeo back to network television on CBS, and adding the rodeo discipline of Breakaway Roping to the WCRA Major rodeos. The latter, breakthrough will help grow a discipline once relegated to high school and college rodeos by adding it to popular rodeos.
With its Youth Division announcement, WCRA beat everyone out of the gate in giving young athletes a chance to compete for their portion of a $50,000 purse at new rodeos. The winner of each discipline in the WCRA youth event will advance to the May 16 Stampede at the E, a one-day $1 million major rodeo.
Now in partnership with PBR, WCRA is again rocking the western sports world. Last Saturday afternoon on the CBS Sports broadcast of the Royal City Roundup, PBR boss Sean Gleason and Gary McKinney, head of the WCRA, announced a brand new “Women’s Rodeo World Championship” to debut in Las Vegas during the PBR World Finals week, November 3-7 at South Point Arena.
Women’s Rodeo World Championship disciplines will include Breakaway Roping, Barrel Racing, and Team Roping. An All-Around Champion will be named as well.
The purse? A very attractive $750,000 will be available in prize money.
Qualifying positions will be open to all eligible women across the world. Ten riders will have direct paths to the Championship based on their final ranking on the WCRA leaderboard.
The event will begin with onsite open-qualifier rounds November, 3-5. Those ranked in the top 10 from the open-qualifier will advance to the Championship on November 6-7, where they’ll compete alongside the top 10 from the WCRA leaderboard and an additional four competitors awarded exemptions from to-be-named events. Other details about qualifying along with leaderboard information will be released at a later date as the Women’s Rodeo World Championship gets closer.
“Working with our partners at PBR to provide female rodeo athletes an opportunity like this is a game-changer,” McKinney later said in an article on PBR.COM
“Game-changer” is no hyperbole. Women in rodeo work as hard as men and deserve bigger paydays and their own world title. A high-profile, high-payout platform like this women is a significant advancement in western sports. McKinney, Gleason and their respective teams should be applauded for not only the vision but getting this done for the November title event in Vegas.
Unfortunately, other industry bodies who were approached to be part of this exciting world title and increase the purse, even more, declined to participate.
Had PBR and WCRA waited for organizations like the WPRA, we very likely wouldn’t even have an exciting new Women’s Rodeo World Championship that will give female athletes a new national stage and big-money payouts while inspiring the next generation of women athletes.
Better money-earning opportunities were once only available in barrel racing and now breakaway roping and team roping to a degree. After watching how fast some of these ladies can rope in breakaway roping, it is not hard to imagine them being just as good at tiedown roping.
Gleason, PBR’s CEO was also quoted on the league’s website as saying “We’re very proud of our partnership with WCRA, which helps us celebrate and reward talented female athletes while inspiring the next generation of young women to pursue rodeo.”
It’s a partnership that is benefitting not only riders but fans as well.
In early November, as the world’s top cowboys compete at night inside T-Mobile Arena on the famed Strip for a gold buckle and a million dollars at the PBR World Finals, how great for fans to be able to spend a few afternoons seven miles away at South Point Arena watching this exciting new women’s championship.
Fans not in Las Vegas will be able to follow the action on both RideTV along with PBR’s western sports digital network RidePass.
This is an exciting time to be following western sports, and WCRA working alongside PBR is playing the role of positive disruptor bringing new opportunity to all athletes.