I’m not sure it’s fair to expect rodeo’s young people to really grasp just how much opportunity and earning power they have compared to generations past. But make no mistake, kids, you’ve got it good. And while I’ve been chuckling with the breakaway ropers on the new necessity of a day planner and a travel agent to map it out and make it all work, it’s looking like rodeo families might need to borrow that number and stick it on speed dial. Enter the World Championship Junior Rodeo, July 27-31 at the cowboy-hub Lazy E Arena, with $10,000 added per event.
I’ve been that mom in the motorhome trying to balance kids activities, work and the family checkbook. I was lucky to have my mobile office, where I was able to keep up with work deadlines between slacks, perfs and cooking for cowboy kids. I guess if I had to pick and choose in today’s booming youth rodeo market, it would make sense to me to consider each of these events’ financial upsides. With $115,000 in guaranteed added money, the World Championship Junior Rodeo is stepping straight up into the big leagues of young-guns rodeo.
“We’re a stand-alone event, not an association, and we’re here to help grow the industry, not compete with existing organizations,” said Lazy E General Manager Dan Wall. “We wanted to do something different, and to create a contestant-friendly junior rodeo that’s an additional opportunity for kids who rodeo.”
The 19-and-under WCJR will include bareback riding, breakaway roping, steer wrestling, team roping, goat tying, saddle bronc riding, pole bending, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Entries are open now, and all entry and stalling information can be found at wcjrodeo.com. Entries close July 1, and late entries will be accepted until July 15 with a $50 late fee.
The WCJR format will include two long rounds, with the top three contestants from each round and the top eight in the two-head average advancing to the Semi Finals. The top two in each event from the buyback round also will advance to the Semifinals, for a total of 16 contestants per event in the Semis. The Semi Finals will start with a clean slate, with the top eight moving on to the Finals. The WCJR World Champions will be determined sudden-death style by the fastest times and highest scores in the Finals.
“The way we see it, any kid can have a tough day,” Wall explained about the theory behind the WCJR format. “With our format giving every contestant multiple ways to win money and advance to the finals, kids who, say, break a barrier or rope a leg in one round won’t necessarily be out of it. There are all sorts of opinions on this subject, but we feel good about trying new things for the right reasons as we try to help grow the sport from the grassroots level.”
The World Championship Junior Rodeo is the only qualifier for the 2022 Jr Ironman—which will again be held in conjunction with the Cinch Timed Event Championship at the Lazy E next March.
“If the Lazy E has the goal of being the richest junior rodeo out there, I believe they’ll accomplish it,” said reigning Jr Ironman Champ Briar Teague, who knows firsthand that the E goes first class or not at all. “They think big at the Lazy E, and the World Championship Junior Rodeo will prove it again.”
Visit lazye.com for more on all things Lazy E.