There seems to a buzz centered on the newly founded Elite Rodeo Athletes organization.
In fact, there was so much interest in tuning in online for a rebroadcast of Wednesday’s news conference at the American Airlines Center in Dallas that association’s website was overwhelmed, and the news conference was not available for more than two hours.
Much of the news was about the ERA’s first championship event, which will take place Nov. 9-13, 2015, at the American Airlines Center. In fact, the same information was shared by the Dallas Morning News in a story that was published Tuesday. You can read it HERE. To watch the news conference, click HERE.
The ERA and the Dallas Sports Commission have entered into a five-year partnership for Dallas to host the finale, which will feature a $3 million purse.
“Dallas is no stranger to hosting world-class events,” said Tony Garritano, president and CEO of the organization. “Through the process, it became pretty evident they wanted the home to be here.”
Garritano discussed a 15-event regular season, but no schedule has been released on when and where those events will occur. According to the news conference, the ERA will focus its events on the top contestants in the game. Of those mentioned in the sizzle piece that accompanied the conference, 29 are world champions; the 21 others have been to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at least once, most multiple times.
“There is a more efficient and better way to showcase rodeo’s best,” Garritano said. “This is the first time in history that these folks here will compete the same night every event throughout the regular-season tour and be nationally televised from start to finish.”
He also indicated there will be a qualifying system to allow for rising stars the opportunity to compete with others at the ERA. Information on the qualifying system should be available to the public in October.
“You will have the same opportunity,” he said, pointing to contestants that are not part of the ERA at this time. “It is wide open for anyone who has the ability to make it to that level.”
The tour is scheduled to be aired on Fox Sports. Many who were part of the news conference pointed to that media relationship as a big step.
“I think the fans are going to be the biggest winners,” said Trevor Brazile, a 21-time world champion in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. “The sport is underdelivered to the fans; we’ve got such great fans, and they deserve more and they’re going to get more.
“There are a lot of story lines in rodeo that our fans miss out on. This is bringing rodeo to a modern day sports property, and that’s where it needs to be.”