THE SPORT OF Professional Rodeo
Today’s rodeos are an offspring of the Wild West Shows of the 1800s that featured great cowboys such as Buffalo Bill Cody and Bill Pickett, who invented bulldogging. Many believe the first true rodeo was in Deer Trail, Colo., in 1869. However, Prescott, Ariz., is credited with formulating rodeo to what we know today. Its first rodeo was held on July 4, 1888 and the committee established protocols still used today including – prizes awarded, rules for competition, admission charged, cowboys invited to compete and a committee to organize.
1929 – The Rodeo Association of America was formed.
1936 – The cowboys decided to create their own organization after striking at the Boston Garden Rodeo. This organization was named the Cowboys’ Turtle Association because while they were slow to organize, they weren’t afraid to “stick their neck out,” and get what they wanted.
1945 – The Cowboys’ Turtle Association changed to the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA).
1946 – The Rodeo Association of America became the International Rodeo Association (IRA).
1955 – The IRA recognized the Rodeo Cowboys Association as superior and closed down.
1975 – The RCA became the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., the PRCA is the largest (more than 5,000 contestant members) and oldest rodeo-sanctioning body in the world. Total prize money in 2014 was over $41 million. The recognized leader in professional rodeo, the PRCA is committed to maintaining the highest standards in the industry in every area, from improving working conditions for contestants and monitoring livestock welfare to boosting entertainment value and promoting sponsors. The PRCA also proudly supports youth rodeo with educational camps. Most PRCA rodeos are produced by local volunteer committees who donate proceeds to charity. More than $25 million a year is donated to charity from PRCA rodeos. For more information visit www.prorodeo.com.