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September 20, 2013

BRETT HOFFMAN: Rodeos moving to new format to spice things up for fans

AMARILLO — Lately, there has been compelling news about single-day, all-star pro rodeos that pay big bucks.

Earlier this month, Fort Worth Stock Show organizers announced they will feature a single-performance rodeo on Jan. 23 called the Super Shootout. It will feature the sport’s elite and the purse is $100,000.

And on Sept. 18, the Amarillo Tri-State Fair featured a lucrative, one-performance show called the Wrangler Champions Challenge. The competition featured the elite of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association such as 10-time world all-around champion Trevor Brazile.

Last month, organizers announced plans to conduct a new rodeo called RFD-TV’s The American that’s scheduled for March 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The world’s top competitors will ride for $2 million, a record single-day rodeo payout.

One reason rodeo organizers are going to one-day competitions is because fans are accustomed to attending sporting events that feature high-profile athletes and an immediate winner.

The January National Western Stock Show in Denver has conducted a similar rodeo as Fort Worth’s Super Shootout during the past two years, and Leon Vick, a former NFR steer wrestling qualifier who currently serves as rodeo director for the Denver Stock Show, said it has been a hit with fans.

“It’s paving the way for the future of rodeo,” Vick said. “Society is ever-changing and this is a step that rodeo must take to keep up.”

Both the Denver Stock Show and the Fort Worth Stock Show also conduct traditional, long-running PRCA shows that feature a mix of mediocre part-time and accomplished full-time competitors.

But unlike the Fort Worth Stock Show’s PRCA show that determines single-event champions by aggregate results at the end of an exhausting 21/2-week run, the Super Shootout will determine each event winner within a two-hour performance.

“Fans do not need to see a rodeo performance and then and have to come back two weeks later to see who the winner is,” Vick said. “We live in a day when society wants entertainment and they want it now.”

This week’s Champions Challenge in Amarillo was the PRCA’s newest effort to showcase its elite during a one-day show. When the PRCA conducted the inaugural Champions Challenge on April 18 in Redding, Calif., fans saw defending world champion Mary Walker of Ennis finish No. 1 in barrel racing, and three-time world champion Will Lowe of Canyon win the bareback riding title.

The Amarillo-based Champions Challenge was held in conjunction with the Sept. 19-21 Tri-State Fair Rodeo, which is Amarillo’s traditional PRCA rodeo.       

Brazile roping tough

After earning $14,215 in roping events at the Sept. 11-14 Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up, Trevor Brazile of Decatur was ranked No. 1 in the Sept. 16 PRCA world all-around standings. Brazile has regular season earnings of $209,698, $88,603 more than No. 2 ranked Tuf Cooper who has $121,095. Brazile signed up to compete at Amarillo in both the PRCA’s Champions Challenge (in team roping) and the Tri-State Fair Rodeo (tie-down roping, steer roping and team roping).

Alves riding tough

Silvano Alves, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, was ranked No. 1 in the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series Sept. 15 world standings after finishing second at the Sept. 13-15 tour stop in Springfield, Mo.

After finishing runner-in Springfield, Alves had earned 10,101.25 points, 2,467.25 more than No. 2 ranked J.B. Mauney.

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram over the past quarter-century. Email him at

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