So you want to run in the PRCA? You want to become a superstar at the National Finals Rodeo or win a million dollars on the top circuits? First you have to become a professional and then you have to qualify; let me explain how all of this happens.
Note #1: If the rodeo is sanctioned with the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association (PRCA) then it is a professional rodeo. Any other rodeo is just going to be an amateur rodeo regardless of if money can be won or not.
Becoming a bona fide professional:
If you feel as though you are ready to go Pro then you will need to purchase your permit from the PRCA. What this permit allows you to do is to compete in PRCA sanctioned rodeos for one year with the expectation that you will win a minimum of $1,000.00 and, by doing so, you will then become a PRCA Card-Holder (aka you are one of the cowboys). If the permit-holder is unable to fill their card requirements they must purchase a new card in the next year and do it all over again. The pains of being a permit-holder is numerous with many rodeos not accepting the rookies and the PRCA Card-Holders always attaining priority standing.
Qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo:
The “points” that you win that control your official standings as a professional cowboy or cowgirl is the dollars that you win. This system is known as the Money Ranking System. If you are one of the Top 15 money-earners for your event for the sanctioned PRCA year, you will be invited to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada in December. Usually it would take just short of a career-ending injury to keep qualifiers from competing as the cash payouts to the Top 8 finishers in each of the 10 rounds of the final are an extraordinary amount.
Other places to qualify:
Check out my other blog post about the Dodge National Circuit Finals to understand how the circuit system works.
Seems pretty simple right? Wrong. The system outlined is very simple but the amount of hard work, dedication and finances necessary to compete at the highest level of rodeo is nearly impossible. This is why it is so hard to break not only into a card-holder position but to even qualify for the National Finals Rodeo.