PRCA announces launch of Jr. Rodeo Association, The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR
LAS VEGAS — The PRCA is proud to announce Dec. 3, the introduction of the Jr. Rodeo Association to provide youth, ages 8-19, an opportunity to learn and participate in core rodeo events. The Jr. National Finals Rodeo, title sponsored by The Cowboy Channel, will make its debut March 3-7 in Texas at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth with the finals to be held on March 7 at AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas.
Jr. Rodeo, the new youth initiative for the PRCA, is created to identify the next generation of contestants through education, fundamental development and a one-of-a-kind competition series. The online membership portal opened on Dec. 3, and youth may join by visiting http://www.jrrodeo.org. The first 1,000 Jr. Rodeo members to join will receive a gift card from National Roper’s Supply.
“The Jr. Rodeo initiative is important for the future growth of rodeo, and it is important for us to develop the future stars properly,” PRCA CEO George 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.”
Members will be able to select a membership level that best suits their interest. Jr. Rodeo members will have a number of benefits available, including membership card; competition opportunities; secondary accident insurance; free registration for Jr. Rodeo Camps; ProRodeo Sports News online subscription; and more.
The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR returns in 2020 and will feature the best-of-the-best contestants from the major youth rodeo events. Jr. Rodeo will feature the Junior American and Patriot events as one of the major qualification pathways. The Junior American and all of its qualifiers are being folded into The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR, effective immediately. Jr. Rodeo will continue to attract other youth rodeo events as potential qualifiers.
For 2020, The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR includes more than 1,900 contestants eligible for a gold buckle. The top place winners from the events below also qualify in 2020 for The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR and must be Jr. Rodeo members.
• 2019 National High School Rodeo Association Finals
• 2019 Little Britches Rodeo Association Finals
• 2019 International Youth Finals Rodeo
• 2019 Junior World Finals
• 2019 Junior American
The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR will guarantee at least $200,000 in added money. Jr. Rodeo’s focus is on core rodeo events and will feature bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping (header/heeler), girl’s breakaway roping and girl’s barrel racing.
The Cowboy Channel will provide a year-long national television platform in support of Jr. Rodeo. The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR is the only youth rodeo event on cable TV in 2020 and will be telecast exclusively on The Cowboy Channel, which reaches 42 million homes.
“We are so proud to join forces with the PRCA to expand and grow the opportunities and exposure for youth rodeo,” said Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of The Cowboy Channel. “We are all in. Encouraging more young people and their families to participate and enjoy the sport of rodeo is a win for everyone. The Cowboy Chanel is here to promote, cover and support the Jr. NFR all year long.”
The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR is a tournament-style format rodeo where qualifiers will compete in the long go-round with the top 15 contestants advancing to the semifinals. The championship round will be held at AT&T Stadium with the top 6 place winners competing before RFD-TV’s The American. The winners in the timed events also advance to RFD-TV’s The American Semi-Finals for a chance to win $1 million. The Jr. NFR will feature contestants between the ages of 14-19 who must still be in high school.
“The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR is the showcase event for all of youth rodeo,” said Anthony Bartkowski, PRCA director of Athlete Development and Welfare. “We are proud to partner with The Cowboy Channel in hosting The Cowboy Channel Jr. NFR in one of the best sport stadiums. This participant experience and being able to compete alongside the best cowboys in the world is unrivaled.”
Jr. Rodeo will continue to provide the popular Jr. Rodeo Camps program to members who are interested in learning about rodeo and further advancing their rodeo event techniques. National Finals Rodeo qualifiers typically serve as instructors at Jr. Rodeo Camps. The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo will host the first 2020 Jr. Rodeo Camp on Jan. 26.
Throughout 2020, Jr. Rodeo will work with individual PRCA Rodeos to showcase the sport to future cowboys and have an impact in identifying the next world champions. PRCA Rodeos will be able to qualify contestants directly from their rodeos for the 2021 The Cowboy Channel Jr. National Finals Rodeo. ❖