Professional rodeo riders call them the “building rodeos.”
Events conducted during the winter months that are often held in conjunction with a traditional, high-profile stock show.
They pay the big bucks. A strong finish can help a cowboy or cowgirl get off to a remarkable start.
The main reason they are called building rodeos is because they are conducted at an indoor venue. For example, the Fort Worth Stock Show’s traditional Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show is conducted at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. The purse at the 2016 edition in late January and early February was $645,256.
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A win at the Fort Worth rodeo can be worth $10,000 to $15,000, and it can make a huge difference toward qualifying for the PRCA’s December Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
But there are other large building rodeos in Texas not sanctioned by the PRCA that lure the sport’s elite. A prime example is RFD-TV’s The American, which has been conducted at AT&T Stadium in Arlington the past three years.
The American, which offers a $2 million purse, is Texas’ highest paying rodeo so far. It’s also the world’s highest paying single performance rodeo. However, there will be an event Nov. 9-13 at Dallas’ American Airlines Center that will likely offer the state’s highest purse at $3 million — the Elite Rodeo Athletes’ championship.
At the American, a competitor can earn up to $1.1 million. Bareback rider Richmond Champion pocketed $1.1 million at the inaugural event in 2014, and saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell earned $1.1 this year.
The RodeoHouston Super Series, which concludes Saturday at NRG Stadium, is the state’s second highest paying rodeo. For 2016, the purse is $1,748,000 and each event winner will earn $50,000.
Riders perform before huge crowds at the Houston rodeo. Organizers use a popular recording artist to draw fans, and the concert is held in conjunction with the rodeo.
On Sunday, the Houston Rodeo’s Banda Los Recoditos and Los Huracanes del Norte concert broke the all-time paid rodeo/concert arena attendance record with 75,508 fans.
RodeoHouston is not sanctioned by the PRCA, which means that the earnings do not count toward qualifying for the National Finals or earning a PRCA world title.
Each single event winner at this year’s San Antonio Rodeo earned about $25,000. That’s a great stride toward earning a National Finals berth, considering that it might take $65,000 to $70,000 to qualify in a single event.
Texas’ third highest paying rodeo so far is the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo at AT&T Center. The 2016 event offered competitors $1,480,500. It recently has served as the PRCA’s highest paying regular season event.
On the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Tanner Byrne of Canada won last weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series tour stop in Duluth, Ga. Byrne clinched the title after earning 482.5 points. Paulo Lima finished second with 410 points.
In the world standings, Lima, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, is No. 1 with 1,845 points. Shane Proctor is No. 2 with 1,811.66, and defending world champion J.B. Mauney is third with 1,695.
This weekend the tour stops in Albuquerque for the Ty Murray Invitational, named after the seven-time world all-around champion from Stephenville.