By the PRCA
WACO, Texas – The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has signed an agreement with the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo Committee that will keep the All American ProRodeo Finals, presented by Pendleton Whisky, in Waco for the next three years.
The Extraco Events Center in Waco has been the home of the season-ending championship since its beginnings four years ago – first as part of the Heartland Series and for the past two years as the $500,000 finale for the All American ProRodeo Series – and has enjoyed increased fan support each year.
The recently completed Oct. 7-15 event had record attendance, up 5 percent from a year ago.
“The All American ProRodeo Series was created to provide opportunities for our members,” PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman said, “and the Finals in Waco have been a big part of that. We have had some real success stories there, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Heart O’ Texas committee for years to come.”
All PRCA rodeos with added money of $30,000 or less – more than 400 rodeos this year – are automatically part of the All American ProRodeo series and the finals in Waco are a big incentive for up-and-coming professionals while also helping rodeo committees increase participation throughout the year.
“We take pride in the role we play in helping contestants and committees,” said Wes Allison, president/CEO of the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo. “From our standpoint, the format fits so well with our (Heart O’ Texas Fair), and we are excited to continue our collaboration with the PRCA. It’s been great for our fans and great for our committee.”
The final round of this year’s All American ProRodeo Finals amply demonstrated the role the series can play in developing new stars in the cowboy sport. The team roping was won by 2011 PRCA/Resistol Rookie of the Year Header Joshua Torres and his brother Jonathan. Rookie Riley Duvall, 19, won the steer wrestling and 20-year-old Jacob O’Mara won the bull riding and a rodeo-best $16,413.
“It’s a great series,” Duvall said. “It gives guys like me, who are just starting out and can’t go to some of the bigger rodeos a chance to learn and get better and compete at a big-money rodeo like Waco. Wes and his committee do a great job. They get great stock and treat everybody well. It’s a real good deal. It helped me out a bunch. The money I earned (at Waco) will now get me into some of the big winter rodeos coming up.”
Great American Country’s television coverage of the All American ProRodeo Finals will air at 9 p.m. Central Oct. 30, with rebroadcasts at 12:30 a.m. Oct. 31, 9 p.m. Nov. 27 and 12:30 a.m. Nov. 28 (Dish Network, Chanel 167, and DirecTV, Chanel 326). GAC will also broadcast the finals in 2012.