By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (September 23, 2015) — The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association took its best shot Wednesday at preventing the new Elite Rodeo Athletes from ever getting off the ground.
Eight days after Elite Rodeo Athletes issued a press release stating more than 70 professional rodeo athletes who have combined for more than 133 world championships would be making ERA events “their primary focus in 2016 and beyond,” the PRCA responded with a new bylaw prohibiting interests in what it deems conflicting rodeo associations.
The PRCA board of directors approved a bylaw stating:
“In order to ensure that PRCA members – whose popularity and success are the result of participation in PRCA-sanctioned rodeos and related PRCA promotional efforts and activities (and the associated costly investments the PRCA has made in promoting PRCA events and rodeo sports in general) – are not pursuing interests in Conflicting Rodeo Associations while receiving the benefits of PRCA membership and are putting forth their best efforts on behalf of PRCA, any person applying for PRCA membership who is an officer, board member, employee or has an ownership or financial interest of any form in a Conflicting Rodeo Association shall not be issued a membership, permit or renewal of membership with the PRCA.”
According to its website, ERA board of directors include Stephenville team roper Martin Lucero, a 16-time qualifier for the PRCA’s National Finals Rodeo, and Stephenville bareback rider Bobby Mote, a four-time world champion headed to his 15th consecutive NFR. Other directors also belong on a who’s who list of rodeo athletes – 21-time world champ Trevor Brazile, a team roper and tie-down roper living in Decatur, and San Angelo bronc rider Bradley Harter, a qualifier for nine of the past 10 NFRs.
If no concessions are made by either side, this would mean no PRCA membership renewal for these stars, who according to the September 15 ERA release are committed, along with dozens of other professional athletes, to the 2016 ERA Tour.
The September 15 release from the ERA says its 2016 tour begins in March and concludes with the ERA World Championships at American Airlines in Dallas Nov. 9-13, 2016.
“As a group, these athletes have decided to limit their professional rodeo schedules to compete in the ERA Tour…Although they will still compete in professional rodeos across the country, the ERA Tour will become their main focus and define their schedules.”
In other words, the cowboys competing in the ERA still hope to also compete in PRCA events. Below is a list of local athletes listed on the ERA website as ERA competitors who are also known PRCA stars.
Team Roping (headers):
Team Roping (heelers):
Saddle Bronc Riders:
On his board of director’s bio, ERA CEO and President Tony Garritano says, “Professional rodeo needed an elite tour showcasing only the best talent in the world. We believe that a regular season format, ending in its own world championship event, will be exciting for rodeo fans to follow. Fans will benefit by watching the most competitive rodeo action the sport has to offer.”
The ERA has a television partnership with Fox Sports.
“A partnership with FOX Sports will allow us to bring professional rodeo to a national platform and finally give the fans what they want to see and deliver it to them on time,” said Mote, according to a Tweet from the ERA.
Calls to Mote, Lucero and Ohl were not immediately answered Thursday morning, and a message left for Mote was not immediately returned.
The Flash Today will continue to follow this developing story and will share reactions of local professional rodeo athletes. Stay tuned to The Flash.