ProRodeo’s elite cowboys, cowgirls are ready to battle for National Championship
OKLAHOMA CITY – The stars are aligning for a magnificent spring week to kick off April in Oklahoma’s capital city.
From concerts by Thompson Square and Chris Cagle to the hottest action from the biggest and brightest luminaries in professional rodeo, the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo is packing quite a punch during its run from April 4-6 at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City – performances are set for 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
That type of party is just what’s been ordered for springtime in the Sooner State.
“I think what’s going to draw people to the Ram finals is that the format is different than most rodeos,” said Bobby Mote, a four-time world champion bareback rider from Culver, Ore. “The format is more exciting.
“Plus fans will still get to see the top cowboys in the nation go against a lot of the top stock. This is not your average rodeo. This is a big event for us, and I think fans will realize that.”
This is ProRodeo’s National Championship, where cowboys earn the right to compete by how well they performed in their home circuits. For instance, Mote earned the right to compete in Oklahoma City by winning the year-end championship in the Columbia River Circuit, which is made up of rodeos and contestants primarily in the Northwest United States.
“It’s exciting for us because we’re getting a chance to win around $30,000 and a voucher for a Ram pickup,” said Mote, who has qualified for the RNCFR 10 times in his storied career. “The group of guys you compete against is a little different, but there are still a lot of the top guys in rodeo. Plus you’re getting on good stock.”
How big is this championship? The last time Mote competed inside State Fair Arena, he won the coveted championship. Because of the event’s relationship with Ram Trucks, the winners in all eight categories of competition will win a $20,000 voucher toward the use of a new vehicle in addition to the thousands of dollars available in the purse.
That’s why NFR qualifiers and world champions alike are happy to be part of this prestigious competition. A year ago, for example, two-time world champion barrel racer Brittany Pozzi outran a pack of top-ranked cowgirls to win the title. She returns this year to defend her title, but so do team roping-header Spencer Mitchell and tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa, all of whom have competed multiple times at the NFR.
In addition to Pozzi and Mote, world title winners scheduled to compete at the RNCFR are two-time reigning bareback riding champion Kaycee Feild, three-time and reigning steer wrestling winner Luke Branquinho, 2007 steer wrestling champ Jason Miller, two-time saddle bronc riding titlist Taos Muncy and reigning world champion bronc rider Jesse Wright, who owns two national titles.
The field also includes dozens of NFR qualifiers as well as part-time cowboys and cowgirls who qualified by performing so well in the circuit.