The Race of the Circuits: Celebrating 30 Years - RNCFR

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The Race of the Circuits: Celebrating 30 Years

The Race of the Circuits: Celebrating 30 Years

You might have heard already, but the RNCFR is celebrating its 30th anniversary this April. Thirty years of bucks, champions, and stories to last a lifetime! So we thought we’d share some stories of what 30 years of champion circuits look like, and what the next 30 years might look like. We’re going to start by sharing what it means to be the Circuit of the Year.

A lot of rodeo fans don’t know, but during the five performances of the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, as cowboys and cowgirls compete and advance, we keep track of the overall purse money won by each of the circuit’s contestants to determine who takes home the “Circuit of the Year” buckle! Our contestants not only compete for themselves, they compete and represent their hometown circuits, the chance to earn their spot on the Circuit of the Year trophy, and our newest tradition, a custom Montana Silversmiths buckle, awarded at the end of the event.

The Texas Circuit currently has bragging rights, as they won Circuit of the Year in 2016 for the twelfth time. We spoke to the Texas Circuit President Johnny Van Court about what this title means to Texas: “We don’t really do anything during the year to encourage the contestants to aim for this title. The contestants’ talent just speaks for itself each year. It is an honor to hold the title! However, I guess holding the title can also make you a target. I was in Pocatello after the rodeo a few years back, when we won, and a sneaky Southeastern Circuit Manager to remain nameless paid a stock contractor and a judge to push me into the pool with all my clothes on at the host hotel. At least they let me take my boots off!”

Circuit rodeo map

Here is a glimpse back at the history of the winning circuits over the last 30 years…

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1987 – Wilderness Circuit

1988 – California Circuit

1989 – Badlands Circuit

1990 – Montana Circuit

1991 – Columbia River Circuit

1992 – California Circuit

1993 – Turquoise Circuit

1994 – Texas Circuit

1995 – Texas Circuit

1996 – Texas Circuit

1997 – Wilderness Circuit

1998 – Texas Circuit

1999 – Southeastern Circuit

2000 – Texas Circuit

2001 – Texas Circuit


2002 – Prairie Circuit

2003 – Texas Circuit

2004 – Montana Circuit

2005 – Wilderness Circuit

2006 – Texas Circuit

2007 – Wilderness Circuit

2008 – Wilderness Circuit

2009 – Wilderness Circuit

2010 – Texas Circuit

2011 – Columbia River Circuit

2012 – Wilderness Circuit

2013 – Texas Circuit

2014 – Prairie Circuit

2015 – Texas Circuit

2016 – Texas Circuit

2017 – TBD

Overall, the Texas Circuit has won the most titles with a total of twelve! Coming in a close second is the Wilderness Circuit with seven titles. The Columbia River Circuit, the Montana Circuit, and the Prairie Circuit all have two titles. The California Circuit, Turquoise Circuit, Badlands Circuit and the Southeastern Circuit each have one title. The Mountain States Circuit, Great Lakes Circuit and First Frontier have never won the Circuit of the Year title.

Who will be your 2017 Circuit of the Year winner? We hope you will join us in Kissimmee to cheer for your hometown circuit as well as your favorite circuit champions as they go head-to-head this April!