It was announced earlier today through a letter from WCRA (World Champions Rodeo Alliance) President Bobby Mote that the May 12-16 Stampede at The E in Guthrie, Oklahoma would be canceled based on recommendations from the CDC and regulations against “social gatherings” of large groups of people.
Read the letter released this afternoon below:
On March 13, WCRA stated a desire to continue with all scheduled events unless directed by state and local officials; this included an event for a broadcast-only audience. Such closed events are something several other companies in the entertainment industry have shifted to, to continue to make television shows such as professional wrestling events.
In fact, PBR had a closed event recently in Duluth, GA. PBR was the only major pro sport in action on North American soil on the weekend of March 14-15, but the CDC then reduced public gathering limit to 10 people or more, rendering another no-fan bull riding event almost impossible to pull off.
With hundreds of competitors going into the semifinals, the WCRA is an even bigger production than PBR.
And getting to Guthrie for a rodeo athlete requires preliminary qualifying events to establish the WCRA leaderboard. These have been canceled. There have basically been no events for athletes to enter.
Today’s WCRA announcement takes into consideration the health and well being not only of the fans, but competitors and staff required to put the event on.
It is another a blow to how the cowboys and cowgirls of the rodeo world make their money. These competitors do not sign multi-million dollar contracts or endorsement deals to fall-back on when they are unable to compete. Nor do they have down-side guaranteed money if a situation like this occurs when rodeos are outright canceled.
No, instead each athlete (and trust me each cowboy and cowgirl in the rodeo world are professional athletes), earns every cent they win. They earn money by competing in rodeos across North America, traveling up and down the highways and interstates to make the next rodeo. If they do not win or place in their given discipline, they do not earn money…and that’s now the harsh reality with the rash of rodeos being canceled until further notice.
The cowboys and cowgirls and stock contractors who provide the animals for these athletes to compete on could use some prayers.
Yes, a host of reasons justify the events being canceled. That is not in dispute. Everyone’s health comes first, and the organization should be applauded for taking this precaution rather than putting one person at risk of becoming infected.
The WCRA will endure through this and will bounce back and fire back up once these times pass. No doubts there.
The folks who need your prayers here are the competitors and stock contractors who are out of the money this event would have provided to them.
So if you’re the praying type, please add these cowboys and cowgirls to your list. And let’s hope that eventually, we can get back to enjoying our rodeos and western sports as a whole.