For the first time since the Calgary Stampede's first rodeo in 1912, the event will add team roping to its competition, helping to fill its qualification to officially become a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event.
In the team roping, Calgary will invite the top 25 in the PRCA world standings—as of May 11, 2020—to compete for $35,000 per side in added money, with entry fees at $500 per man, PRCA team roping event director Matt Sherwood said. The top 5 in the Canadian standings from 2019 will also be invited for a total of 30 teams, pushing the payout to $50,000 per side, Sherwood said.
The team roping will not be part of Calgary's rodeo performance. The committee will host the roping on July 7 after the rodeo's regular performance, with two rounds and a short round, Sherwood said.
Team ropers will compete at the Nutrien Western Events Centre—an indoor arena on the same grounds as the Stampede's large outdoor arena that hosts the rodeo itself, according to PRCA spokesman Scott Kaniewski in an email March 3.
"It's great for us," Sherwood, a two-time world champion who happens to be the reigning Canadian champion header, said. "As more Canadian guys do well in the U.S., that helps the sport grow in Canada. With Jeremy (Buhler)and Levi (Simpson) winning the world in 2016, and Kolton Schmidt having done so well, that brings more recognition to the team roping in Canada."
The event will not count toward the Canadian ProRodeo standings and will not be CPRA co-approved, Sherwood added.
[Listen: The Score with Kolton Schmidt]
Schmidt, a former Canadian Champion and NFR qualifier himself, has long been a part of Canada's roping scene advocating for inclusion in the Stampede.
"We’ve been waiting a long time for Calgary to finally recognize our event," Schmidt said. "It’s a great rodeo and a great platform, and it’s cool we finally get to be a part of it to make it a full rodeo."
"I’ve never been to the Calgary Stampede and never wanted to go unless I got to compete," echoed Simpson. "Having an event or roping that will give the cowboys an opportunity to win more money is great. I would imagine everyone will try really hard to get there, but there will be somebody who doesn’t, depending on where they’re entered and where they’re at and if they can get horse papers and drive up to Canada. If it was going to pay $100,000 a man, you’d have everybody go to it."
The rodeo will not count toward the Wrangler Tour Standings, but it will join RFD-TV's The American and RodeoHouston as the latest mega-payday rodeos with huge paydays counting toward the PRCA's world standings.
"There are more and more rodeos that pay a lot," Sherwood said. "That makes it harder on guys without a big win to make it. If you come out of winter without a lot won, you are trying to make that ground up $2,000 a time." TRJ
Top 5 Already Qualified from 2019 Canadian Standings: