PENDLETON — On Sept. 19, 2015, Trevor Brazile solidified his name in the Pendleton Round-Up record books by earning his fourth consecutive All-Around championship and fifth overall.
In doing so, Brazile became the winningest all-around cowboy in Round-Up history in his 19th trip to Pendleton. However, it appears as that day could be the last time that Brazile steps foot on the Round-Up grounds as a competitor.
Brazile became one of numerous cowboys and cowgirls that departed the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for the newly-formed Elite Rodeo Association that kicked off its inaugural season this March. Several competitors grew tired of the long season and constant travel of the PRCA schedule, which led to the formation of the new association.
“The regular season of rodeo is terrible,” said Team Roper Clay Tryan to KTVQ-TV in Billings, Montana in Feb. 2015. “It costs so much money to make money. All your heavy money is made at NFR, and I know it’s been that way forever, but to me it just doesn’t make sense.”
There have already been 211 rodeos associated with the PRCA this year, while the ERA tour has only nine events spread out from March through October before the World Championships, which will take place on Nov. 9-13 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
The PRCA followed up the formation by releasing new bylaws aimed at cutting the cord with competitors that have ties to competing associations, denying them memberships, permits, or renewals with the organization.
“When we look at the membership-the rodeo committees, contestants, stock contractors and contract personnel-we decided to put in place a couple of items that will better serve the quality and popularity of our sport,” said PRCA Board Chairman Mark Keith in a press release.
“What the board did is look at our history and what has made the PRCA the most successful and popular rodeo-sanctioning body in the world. Accordingly, we have taken steps to ensure the future generations of fans and members will continue to enjoy the highest quality rodeo events for years to come.”
Aside from Brazile, Round-Up fans will miss out on seeing many other big-name cowboys and cowgirls this year such as bareback riders Richmond Champion and Kaycee Field, saddle bronc riders Spencer Wright and Jesse Wright, steer wrestlers Luke Branquinho and Hunter Cure, tie-down roper Tuf Cooper and barrel racers Fallon Taylor and Lisa Lockhart.