Jimmie Munroe was 26 years old when she was elected president of the then-Girls Rodeo Association (now WPRA) for the first time. She served in the position for 16 years, and says, “For 10 of the 16 years, I was really competing and qualifying for the NFR, then slowed down the last few years that I was president.” The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and National Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee had her reservations when she ran for president, but she notes that she had a lot of help. “The whole time I served I was so blessed to have the group of women I served with over those years.”
On her decision to run for office a third time, she says, “I felt the need to give something back to the association and the sport of professional rodeo. Both have been very good to me and provided a lot of opportunities for me in my career. It’s my hope that I would be able to contribute again and give something back to the association.”
There are several initiatives she’s working on for the WPRA, one being safer ground for the horses in the barrel race. Another important initiative she is working on is having breakaway eventually be featured at the NFR. She is very excited about the rapid growth of the event. “For the women to have two such popular events at professional rodeos is nothing short of phenomenal.”
It may be hard to believe, but there weren’t always electric timers at the professional level. Jimmie and the board worked with stock contractors to develop a program to provide more electric timers. They also worked endlessly to bring in national sponsors to the event when there were no programs or corporate sponsors at the time. Jimmie was instrumental in getting equal pay for barrel racers, which she credits as her proudest accomplishment. It wasn’t something that happened overnight. The board came up with a multi-year plan that started in 1981, where they required all the committees to add at least one half of the amount they added to the PRCA events.
Of the monumental feat, Jimmie says, “It wouldn’t have worked had it not been for the directors’ dedication. We did surveys at rodeos and a lot of times it was the second most popular event. We worked personally and stayed in touch with the committees in their circuits to make sure this was going to happen. We decided in 1985 that we would not approve anything that wasn’t equal pay, and would not make an exception.”
Major winter rodeos like Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston have contacted the board about adding breakaway next year. “The purses are going to be really good. Rodeo Houston is going to be one of the largest breakaway ropings that we’ve approved. It’s just moving along so fast. It’s great, and I think the future looks phenomenal for it.”