By Phillip Kitts
The month of April continued to be the big transition from the slow season, where a few big rodeos around the nation draw the dedicated cowboys and cowgirls who are deeply invested in making a bid at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. As the month gears up, many competitors get serious about competing in as many events as the rules will allow. Since Pro-Rodeo has a cap of 100 rodeos, cowboys focus on hitting as many big payout rodeos as possible with as many rodeos as they can that within their circuit system.
Many people are not really clear on the circuit system of Pro-Rodeo. In the effort to simplify it a bit more, here is how it breaks down. Pro-Rodeo is broken down into 12 circuits: Badland, which covers North and South Dakota; Montana Circuit; Columbia- covers part of Idaho, Washington and Oregon; California Circuit; Wilderness—Part of Idaho, Nevada, Utah; Turquois—Arizona and New Mexico; Mountain States-Wyoming and Colorado; Prairie— Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma; Texas Circuit; Great Lakes Circuit—Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan; Southeastern Circuit—Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and the First Frontier Circuit—Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine.
In addition to competing for a bid to the National Finals Rodeo, each competitor also focuses on attending enough “circuit” rodeos so they can qualify for their respective circuit finals. Each circuit holds a finals at the end of the season in which competitors can vie for a chance to claim their circuit championship in the event. To add to the bragging rights of being a circuit champion winner, they are invited to compete in Kissimmee, Fla., for the Ram National Circuit Finals. The “Ram Circuit Finals” is held in April and comes with a big payout to kick off the rodeo season.
To read more pick up a copy of the June 2018 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.