What Makes the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee Unique?
Every year, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) co-sanctions about 600 rodeos on the continent, in 40 states as well as four Canadian Provinces and three Mexican states. As a membership-driven organization, the PRCA works to ensure that every event they sanction is managed with fairness, competence, and the livestock are cared for to the highest standard. Of these 600 rodeos, few major rodeos serve as championships, national championships, or even the national finals rodeo. So, what is the difference between these headlining rodeos? What makes the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee unique?
Every year the PRCA, in conjunction with other rodeo committees, puts on the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, and the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour. Each of these rodeos varies slightly from one another in terms of how contestants can qualify to enter, compete, and what happens should they win a title at that rodeo.
Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (“The Super Bowl”) – Wrangler NFR
Held annually in Las Vegas since 1959, the Wrangler NFR is the season-ending grand finale that takes place every December. The payout for the Wrangler NFR is the highest payout of any rodeo. Contestants earn $10,000 for simply qualifying, and during the ten days of competition, up to $10 million gets paid out to contestants who place in their events or win. Those contestants that get the chance to compete at the Wrangler NFR are the top 15 contestants in each of the standard rodeo events: bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping (headers and heelers), saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, WPRA barrel racing, and bull riding. Contestants will qualify to compete at the Wrangler NFR based on money won during the regular season. Cowboys can count only a limited number of rodeos toward their NFR-qualifying earnings (bareback 100, steer wrestling 100, team roping 75, saddle bronc 100, tie-down roping 100, and bull riding no limit). Experienced rodeo contestants will plan their rodeo season to maximize potential winnings and minimize travel expenses. At the conclusion of the Wrangler NFR, the world champions are determined based on total season earnings – what they win during the Wrangler NFR added to what they won during the regular season, before the Wrangler NFR.
The RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (“The Play-Off to the Super Bowl”) – RAM NCFR
Since 1987, the PRCA has hosted 12 circuit finals rodeos in 12 different regions across the US every year. Cowboys compete for circuit points throughout the year by winning at rodeos within their circuit they chose at the beginning of the rodeo season. Top earners in each circuit compete at their circuit finals hosted in their region, and those that win advance to the prestigious annual RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo held in Kissimmee, Florida. The RAM NCFR competition field is unique because it includes reigning world champions as well as top regional cowboys. For some contestants, this is their “Super Bowl,” and for others, the RAM NCFR might help them pave the way to the Wrangler NFR to compete for a world title. The PRCA’s circuit system enables cowboys who are not full-time the ability to compete locally, regionally, and then, possibly, nationally. At the RAM NCFR, contestants who qualify to compete automatically earn $1,000. The RAM NCFR will pay out $1 million in cash and prizes to the winners of each event over the course of five performances.
Wrangler ProRodeo Tour
The Wrangler ProRodeo Tour standings is a points-based system for contestants who place in all go-rounds, including the long rounds, average, and the finals at each qualifying Tour Rodeo. Points will be distributed according to payoff placing. For example, if a round pays 12 places, then the first place will receive 120 points. If a round pays eight places, then the first place will receive 80 points with each subsequent placing reducing in point value by an increment of 10. Contestants will then be ranked in the standings from highest accumulated points to least accumulated points. The 2018 Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Finale will take place in Puyallup, Washington. The top 24 contestants in each competition event in the 2018 Wrangler Tour Standings will qualify for competition. All fill positions will be taken from the next highest contestants. The Finale format will be a two go-round, back-to-back rodeo with a finals performance consisting of an eight-round and four-round. The winner in each competition event of the final four-round will be considered the 2018 Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Champion.
Each of the above-mentioned rodeos takes place in different parts of the US. If you have never experienced any of them, perhaps you can place this on your bucket list. If you live in Central Florida, we’d love for you to visit us here in Kissimmee, Florida for the 2019 RAM NCFR, March 21st-24th!