February 3, 2014

Rodeo Insider: Fort Worth Stock Show needs to inject more quality in PRCA performances

The current mix of full-time pros and mediocre part-timers doesn’t cut it.

The best two parts of the 2014 Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo are the Super Shootout and the final round of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association show.

Those two performances offer big prize money and showcase the sport’s elite. The inaugural Super Shootout, which was Jan. 23, featured eight credentialed competitors in each event. Saturday night’s PRCA rodeo finals will feature the top 12 in each event.

For example, three-time world champion Kaycee Feild is expected to qualify for Saturday’s bareback riding finals. He was tied for second with a three-ride score of 237 after Monday’s performances at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. He also won the Super Shootout.

During the Super Shootout, the winner of each bucking stock event was scored in the elite 90s. This weekend’s finals is expected to mirror last year’s finale, in which Feild, a Utah cowboy, clinched the bareback riding aggregate title after turning in a lofty score of 88 and Straws Milan of Canada finished No. 1 overall in steer wrestling after turning in a time of 3.7 seconds.

Those are the type of performances fans should see on a more regular basis at the Stock Show. But to get there, organizers must revamp the PRCA rodeo.

The PRCA rodeo consists of 29 performances. The first 28 are qualifying rounds, which feature a mix of full-time, credentialed riders and mediocre part-time competitors. As a result, fans see way too much sluggishness.

For example, a lower-profile cowboy named Tooter Silver led all steer wrestlers with a time of 8.1 during Monday’s matinee performance. But during the Jan. 23 Super Shootout, former National Finals Rodeo qualifier Matt Reeves paced the field with a 3.99.

With that in mind, Stock Show organizers should consider making the PRCA rodeo an invitational, tournament competition that features credentialed competitors in both the prelims and the finals, similar to the lucrative San Antonio and Houston rodeos.

The Super Shootout performances were brilliant. But when the PRCA rodeo kicked off on Jan. 24, the quality sharply declined. Fans will not see an abundance of stellar rides in a two-hour performance again until Saturday night’s final round.

Stock Show organizers must be applauded for bringing in the $100,000 Shootout Rodeo this year. The next order of business is to beef up the PRCA rodeo.

Lee still No. 1

Mike Lee of Decatur, the 2004 Professional Bull Riders world champion, is ranked No. 1 in the Built Ford Tough Series world title race after finishing fifth at last weekend’s tour stop in Sacramento, Calif.

Fabiano Vieira, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, won the Sacramento show and earned $36,770.

The tour stops at AT&T Stadium on March 1.

Berry gets exemption

Organizers of RFD-TV’s The American, a $2 million rodeo set for March 2 at AT&T Stadium, announced that four-time world champion Ote Berry received an exemption to compete in steer wrestling.

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