Sponsored by WCRA

The World Champions Rodeo Alliance has provided millions of game-changing financial opportunities for professional rodeo athletes—literally 9,758,698 of them, in dollars that make sense—since the first event in May 2018. What’s ultra cool about the WCRA is that center stage is available to all cowboy and cowgirl comers with the talent to rise to these rodeo-riches occasions. The WCRA door is wide open to young guns and underdogs, world champion veterans who no longer wish to burn up the rodeo road, people with families and jobs at home who want to rodeo part time, and gold-buckle big dogs alike.

Tripling Down for the Triple Crown

Texas teen Riley Webb took his shot at becoming the youngest cowboy millionaire in rodeo history at the WCRA’s $562,500 Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo in Salt Lake City this summer. The WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo is the first $1 million bonus ever offered to any athlete who wins three consecutive WCRA majors. And with wins at the world-famous Lazy E Arena’s Stampede at the E in Guthrie, Oklahoma, last summer, and Rodeo Corpus Christi on the Texas coastline this May, 17-year-old Webb was one run away from winning a cool cowboy million.

World Champions Rodeo Alliance athlete Riley Webb
Riley Webb during the Triple Crown Round of the Corpus Christi WCRA rodeo. Photo by Bull Stock Media.

“To have that opportunity at my age was unbelievable,” noted Webb, whose previous career highlight was winning the tie-down roping title at the 2020 National High School Finals Rodeo. “The WCRA has allowed me to compete at the highest level at an early age.”

To put his shot at superstardom into perspective, four-time World Champion Cowboy Tuf Cooper became the youngest millionaire in rodeo history when he hit that magical milestone at 23 in 2013.

“I think it’s the coolest thing ever for a 17-year-old kid to get to rope for a million dollars,” Cooper said. “That this industry has come up with a way for someone that young to have a chance to win that much money—wow. Bravo to the WCRA for giving cowboys that chance.”

In the end, his loop came up empty and Webb’s million-dollar quest fell short. But that packed Cowboy Games house was on its feet while the entire rodeo world was watching.

“A lot of people never win a million dollars in their whole career,” said a disappointed, but gracious Webb. “I wasn’t nervous. I was excited. The whole experience was unbelievable. I don’t like losing, but all you can do is your best. To even think that there are chances like this in rodeo today is amazing.”

Moving Major Mountains for Rodeo Women

The inaugural $750,000 Women’s Rodeo World Championship was held in the fall of 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. The second annual WRWC was held across town last week at the South Point, and was worth another whopping $750,000. The World Champions Rodeo Alliance has been busy blazing a trail for women in rodeo by offering equal pay on the same stages as their cowboy counterparts.

“This is life-changing money,” said Hope Thompson, who was the big winner at the 2020 WRWC with $99,660 at that one rodeo.

Jackie Crawford and the WCRA in Salt Lake City
Jackie Crawford during the fifth perf of the WCRA in Salt Lake City. Photo by Bull Stock Media.

Cowgirl superstar Jackie Crawford made a $34,539 deposit at her bank in the Cowboy Capital of the World in Stephenville, Texas, right after being crowned the all-around champ at the first-ever WRWC. She was pregnant with her baby girl, Journey, at the time, and only dreaming of where women’s rodeo might be by the time her daughter’s old enough to enter, thanks to the WCRA.

““It’s such an exciting time to be a part of this sport,” said the ecstatic rodeo mom. “This is big money, and it’s real money. A girl can now win a quarter of a million a year pretty easily, thanks to events like this one. I want women to know that they can have it all. It’s hard, and it’s challenging. But don’t cut yourself short in life and what’s after this career. I can do it, and so can you.”

From Underdogs to Wonderdogs

A couple short rodeo seasons ago, no one had ever heard of the likes of South Dakota saddle bronc rider Shorty Garrett or Nebraska bareback rider Garrett Shadbolt. They’re all taking notice now. Garrett qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo last year, and Shadbolt’s headed there next month.

“I was winning big money at WCRA events before I was ever winning big money in the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association),” Shadbolt said. “I really like rodeoing in the WCRA. They’ve always treated me good, even when I first showed up and they didn’t even know who I was. I’ve been riding in the WCRA since the beginning when it was new and kind of wild west. And I’ve been on a lot of really good bucking horses at these events.”

World Champions Rodeo Alliance athlete Garrett Shadbolt
Garrett Shadbolt aboard 232 Uptown Flash during the fifth perf of the WCRA in Salt Lake City. Photo by Bull Stock Media.

The WCRA tore a page out of the PBR playbook there. Back in the day, rodeo was way too much of a drawing contest, with cowboys’ chances of winning highly dependent on the luck of the draw. The PBR stepped up and proved that by going the extra mile to bring in the best bulls in the business, it really can be a fair riding contest where the best man wins. The #AllForRodeo WCRA has applied that progressive thinking to every event.

“Bareback riding is growing massively, and all this opportunity keeps us coming back for more,” world-class bareback rider Richmond Champion said at the WCRA event in Salt Lake City this summer. “Thanks to TV, a lot of kids are getting to see the rush of our event, and are excited about it. More and more bareback riders are coming out of the woodwork, because young cowboys are getting to see us riding for big money at these big events on these big stages. Like I tell the kids who try it, like it, realize it’s fun and that they can make a living at it, ‘I have the best job in the world.’”

The next WCRA major—the $360,000 December 15-18 Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo—is coming in hot at the historic Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth. The festively-timed event will fittingly air on CBS on Christmas Day.


Write A Comment