The sport of rodeo is going digital and the fans hold all the power.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the postponement or cancellation of PRCA rodeos, the PRCA Digital Rodeo Tournament presented by The Cowboy Channel is giving fans the opportunity and the power to vote for their favorite cowboys and cowgirls in a tournament-style format.
In the tournament, the top 16 competitors in the 2020 PRCA | RAM World Standings in each event – bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding – will be matched up in a head-to-head bracket, with competitors seeded in their respective spots.
The cowboy or cowgirl in the top spot in the standings will open the tournament against the No. 16 competitor. For example, in bareback riding, Tim O’Connell is seeded No. 1 because he leads the standings, and he’ll go up against Logan Patterson, 16th in the standings.
Because team ropers switch partners, we’ve paired headers with their numerical heeling partner. So No. 1 header Luke Brown and No. 1 heeler Joseph Harrison go into the tournament as the top seed in the team roping, despite them not roping together on a regular basis.
And no, competitors aren’t going to meet up somewhere to compete against one another. That wouldn’t be feasible in this time of social distancing.
This is where the fans come into play. It’s going to be up to you to decide who advances to the next round, who advances to the semifinals and the finals, and ultimately, who is crowned the champion of the Digital Rodeo Tournament.
Fans and competitors alike can vote daily at ProRodeo.com beginning Monday, April 13. The competitor with the most votes in each matchup advances to the next round. Voting for each round runs Mondays through Thursdays.
The tournament will be released in stages. In the first week, bareback riding and steer wrestling will be open for voting for the first round. Over the next couple of weeks, the other events that are featured at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo will be released for voting.
After that, it’s on to the quarterfinals.
The goal here is to have fun. Fans can also share their picks with the PRCA on its social media platforms. In addition to sharing and tagging the PRCA (#WeAreProRodeo, #StayHomeCowboyStrong, #StayHomeCowgirlStrong), fans are encouraged to tag their favorite cowboys.
Hopefully, by the time the virtual dirt clears and digital champions have been crowned, ProRodeo will be back to real-life rodeo.”