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Photo/cavecreekrodeo.com Cody Glover

Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association athletes are in the process of going back to work.

The world's top pro rodeo circuit has been shut down since mid-March because of coronavirus concerns. But the PRCA has targeted the May 22-24 Cave Creek Rodeo Days in Cave Creek, Arizona (in the Phoenix area), for a return to competition. The rodeo, which is a closed-for-TV-only competition, will be broadcasted on the Cowboy Channel beginning at 9:30 p.m. each night.

The Cave Creek Rodeo has drawn numerous world class competitors such as defending PRCA world all-around champion Stetson Wright and four-time world champion Tuf Cooper.

PRCA chief executive officer George Taylor said organizers are focused on creating safe working environments at rodeo sites.

“We all recognize while we're all eager to return pro rodeo to our arenas, we also recognize that we have a substantial responsibility that comes with returning to competition,” Taylor said. “From a production standpoint, you will see a great rodeo, obviously, and we’re going to broadcast that on the Cowboy Channel.

“But you’re also going to see more people wearing masks and more disinfecting of the environment than we would historically, more sanitation stations, those types of things that just allow for both the production personnel and the athletes to compete safely. We are also going to screen participants beforehand. It’s those types of those things that will make it feel differently than a traditional rodeo.”

The Cave Creek Rodeo is the only PRCA show that’s scheduled for this weekend.

Some of the world’s larger summer rodeos have been cancelled or rescheduled because of the coronavirus concerns. For example, the Reno (Nevada) Rodeo in late June, which traditionally is the first major summer pro rodeo, has been cancelled. The iconic Calgary Stampede Rodeo in Alberta also has opted to cancel this year.

But the Greeley (Colorado) Stampede, which is a larger traditional July 4 week rodeo, has been rescheduled for Sept. 11-13. The higher paying California Rodeo Salinas, which was scheduled for July 16-19 in Salinas, California, has been rescheduled for Oct. 8-11.

PBR update

During this challenging time of the coronavirus worldwide pandemic, the Professional Bull Riders has conducted closed-for-TV-only events at the Lazy E Arena near Oklahoma City that have been broadcasted on CBS Sports Network on three weekends in April and May. The massive venue is in a quieter remote area near Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Fabiano Vieira, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, clinched the title at the April 25-26 tour stop at the Lazy E Arena and earned $11,000. Jose Vitor Leme, another Brazilian who lives in the Decatur area, clinched the title at the May 9-10 tour stop and pocketed $21,875.

At the PBR tour stop on May 16-17, Lucas Divino, a Brazilian, clinched the title and earned $18,250. He turned in scores of 84.25, 82.25 and 90.75.

In the PBR's 2020 world standings, Leme is ranked No. 1 with 778.5 points. Two-time PBR world champion Jess Lockwood is in second place with 543.5. Joao Ricardo Vieira, another Brazilian who lives in the Decatur area, is in third place 522.25.

Dalton Kasel, a Muleshoe cowboy who finished third at the May 9-10 PBR tour stop at the Lazy E Arena and pocketed $10,250, said it was a very different environment for competitors.

“It really felt like a practice pen in the sense that there were just a few people there and they’re the ones cheering you on,” Kasel said. “I really miss fans. The fans bring a different kind of level of intensity to everything. It was really quiet. You could hear absolutely everything.”

The PBR also has announced a new 40-hour televised team competition. The first part is a series of closed-for-TV-only competitions on the CBS Sports Network that will run on weekends from June 5-28 at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas. The competition will culminate with a championship weekend that will welcome fans to ticketed events at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on July 10-12.


Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than 35 years. Email him at bchoffman777@earthlink.net.

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