Dear WCRA Rodeo Athletes,
We recently wrapped up the last WCRA major of the year at the Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo; I’d like to share some highlights from 2022 and what we have to look forward to in 2023.
Leading up to Rodeo Corpus Christi in May, we all held our breath in anticipation to see if Tacy Kay Webb would be the first to win the WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo presented by Lazy E Ranch and Arena. At the point she competed, the fans in the American Bank Center were electric, only to be stunned silent when she was knocked out of contention by not advancing to the Showdown round. The following day in the Bareback riding, RC Landingham quietly secured his first WCRA major win.
Our partners at Rodeo Corpus Christi did a fabulous job producing a top-notch event. They have already indicated more positive changes for 2023, all to improve the experience for the athletes. We truly value them as a partner.
Immediately following Rodeo Corpus Christi, we headed to the historic Fort Worth Stockyards for the third $750,000 Women’s Rodeo World Championship (WRWC). For the first time, in addition to the event winners taking home $60,000 and the All Around taking home $20,000, the event awarded $5,000 World Championship cash bonuses. The World Champions were ladies that worked throughout the segment to earn the most points in their classification and discipline. We were pleased with the results of the World Points Scale that used a 4x multiplier for the efforts made at WRWC, and we plan to use it again in 2023. What this means to you is; even if you are not in the top few spots going into the WRWC, the points are worth 4X at WRWC, which gives you a chance to catch up and win one of the cash bonuses. Our newly named commissioner, Linsay Rosser Sumpter, was there to lead the event along with the WRWC Competition Committee, which was created to listen to all feedback from the athletes at the event. In summary, the competition was fierce, and I’d like to congratulate the WRWC Event Title Champions, World Champions, and All-Around Champions on your wins.
We rolled right into rodeo’s busiest part of the year for rodeo at Salt Lake City, UT. We saw more champions crowned and specifically RC Landingham, who secured his second major championship. During our partnership with the Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo, we received lots of feedback from those who rodeo full-time that the event’s timing made it challenging. We tried for two years to convince the PRCA to sanction the event to no avail. Holding true to our mission not to cause rodeo athletes to make a choice, we felt it best to look at other opportunities for a different date for a TCR event and to shift our attention in July to focus on growing the Division Y (DY) program. We appreciated our time with Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo, but it was clear that our missions didn’t quite align.
We have partnered with our sister company, the Lazy E Arena, to join them in producing the Cinch World Championship Junior Rodeo on July 25-29, 2023. In 2022, WCJR paid out $271,000 in prize money. In 2023, there will be over $200,000 added prize money, and a second age division will be added to let athletes compete against other athletes of similar age and experience. Athletes will also be able to earn seeded competition positions via the WCRA DY23 leaderboard. Another new addition in 2023 features World Champion cash bonuses paid out in both the Junior and Youth divisions.
We are finalizing the plans for our new TCR event for 2023. Rodeo Carolinas will be a great new opportunity to fill the void created by DO47. Billed as “The richest rodeo east of the Mississippi” the $400,000 event will take place on October 6-7 at the world-famous Tryon International Equestrian Center. This venue has it all and should prove to be a great family destination. For reference, the distance from Fort Worth, TX, is 1,000 miles to Tryon, NC, versus 1,200 miles to Salt Lake City. A large percentage of WCRA athletes reside in the central and southern regions. As part of our mission includes a growing rodeo, it is vital to hosting a major in the eastern United States to give those folks more opportunities to participate in a TCR-level event without traveling across the country. The Rodeo Carolinas segment opens on March 20. We will have all the details posted to the website before this segment opens.
We closed out 2022 with a bang!! Over 680,000 people watched the WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo on CBS sports on Christmas day. They saw RC Landingham become the first athlete to earn the Triple Crown of Rodeo $1 Million bonus. While RC closed out his Triple Crown of Rodeo journey, eight other athletes started their journey and are looking forward to their next win in May.
After each event, we send out a post-event survey, thanks to all who have submitted survey responses. Our team looks over each individual response and discusses how or if we should make changes to what we are doing. We have made some changes and are actively considering others. Please note to those of you who think we may make changes too often that since our system is set up in segments rather than a year-long season, we have a much smaller window to consider, apply and announce changes. This also allows us to be more flexible in making positive changes rather than waiting until a year later. These changes are based on feedback that we receive from you. Some of the changes that have been applied are:
- We changed the Triple Crown round format in Barrel Racing to ensure that barrel horses only made one run in performance.
- We introduced the DY showcase and held the first one during the Cowtown Christmas. Largely it was a success. We were able to host 88 youth athletes to a media day which included media training video interviews and still photos. We will use this content to promote these youth athletes between now and the Cinch World Championship Junior Rodeo. We continue to review feedback from this event and will apply it to future DY events.
- In 2022 we announced the Reliance Ranches VRQ bonus, hoping to add incentives to those top point earners. At Cowtown Christmas, we awarded $225,000 in bonus money ($25,000 per discipline) to the top VRQ point earners in each discipline, along with a leather tooled briefcase.
- In 2023 the Reliance Ranches VRQ bonus payout jumped to $405,000 and will pay four places in each discipline:
- The 2023 Reliance Ranches VRQ Champion bonus started on Monday, November 28, 2022, and will run through Sunday, November 26, 2023. This leaderboard will be the cumulative total of all VRQ points earned throughout the year, including World Points earned at the majors.
In closing, 2022 was a good year. There will always be things that we will work to improve, i.e., stock, formats, points, etc. Every day the WCRA team is working to improve what and how we do it. You are our customer, so if you’re not happy, our business doesn’t work. We value each and every one of you and hope that you like what we are doing and that you’ll encourage others to try WCRA. If you don’t like what we are doing, feel free to let us know what options we should consider. To date, we have paid out over $14,000,000 to rodeo athletes, which is a huge deal. Imagine what we could do if more athletes participated in the WCRA system.
We hope that you all have a prosperous new year!
WCRA President Bobby Mote