Today, the largest collection of Rodeo World Champions and the sport’s most elite athletes announce their decision to make the Elite Rodeo Athletes (ERA) their primary focus in 2016 and beyond. With a collection of over 70 top professional rodeo athletes and over 133 World Championships between them, this group not only includes current World Champions, an impressive roster of past World Champions, but also includes the best rodeo professionals in the sport today.
As a group, these athletes have decided to limit their professional rodeo schedules to compete in the ERA Tour that begins in March of 2016 and concludes with the ERA World Championships in Dallas, Texas, November 9-13, 2016. Although they will still compete in professional rodeos across the country, the ERA Tour will become their main focus and define their schedules.
“As professional rodeo athletes, every year we have to decide what rodeo events we will compete at and what is best for our careers and families. This group of athletes have decided to concentrate on the ERA in 2016 and we feel the future of professional rodeo, at its highest level, is the ERA Tour,” said Kaycee Feild, four-time World Champion Bareback Rider and ERA Athlete.
Traditional rodeo events will still be part of their rodeo schedules, however this group has decided to not participate in other tour formatted events. “The only tour formatted events that our group will compete in is the ERA Tour,” said Bobby Mote, four-time World Champion Bareback Rider and ERA Athlete.
The contestants believe that the ERA will bring professional rodeo in line with other professional sports. Lisa Lockhart, ERA Barrel Racer, said, “We want rodeo fans to experience what other professional sports fans enjoy, which is being able to watch the best competitors compete against one another through a regular-season format until a world champion is crowned. With the ERA, fans will be able to follow each event on FOX Sports and watch professional rodeo at its highest level. We believe this format will help the sport of rodeo overall.”
The ERA is unique in that, for the first time, rodeo will operate as a modern-day professional sports property where only the best will compete during each performance. The contestants will have to earn their way on tour through a qualifying system, which will ensure that the best current rodeo athletes in the world are competing at each ERA event.
Information about the 2016 tour including the announcement of the tour roster, event dates and details on the qualification system will be coming soon and will be released through ERArodeo.com and ERA’s Facebook and Twitter feeds (@ERArodeo).