National Finals Rodeo
The National Finals Rodeo, organized by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), is the premier championship rodeo event in the United States. Wrangler Jeans is the title sponsor for the 10-day event, commonly just called the National Finals or NFR, which is also sometimes referred to as the World Series of Rodeo and the Super Bowl of Rodeo. The NFR showcases the talents of the PRCA's top 15 money-winners in each event as they compete for the world title.
The NFR is held each year in the first full week of December, at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (UNLV) and is aired live on CBS Sports Network. Cowboy Christmas, a cowboy gift show, is held concurrent with the rodeo at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Since the rodeo uses 'special dirt', the dirt is stored on the UNLV campus for use in the next NFR.
The NFR is the final rodeo event of the PRCA season. World championship titles are awarded to the individuals who earn the most money in his or her event throughout the year:
- Bareback riding
- Steer wrestling - Also known as Bull Dogging
- Team roping - Divided into "Headers" and "Heelers" in 1995
- Headers - Cowboys who rope the steer's head
- Heelers - Cowboys who rope the steer's hind feet
- Saddle bronc riding
- Tie-down roping - Also known as Calf Roping
- Barrel racing
- Bull riding
The World All-Around Rodeo Champion Cowboy title is awarded at the end of the NFR to the highest-earning cowboy who has regularly competed in more than one event during the year.
In addition to world championships, an average winner is crowned in each event.
Since this event is extremely popular, it sells out all seats for all of the events. Many casinos carry the events live in their sports books or host special parties to accommodate all of the fans in town who can not get tickets for the events. Most of the major hotels and casinos book special entertainment into their showrooms with a country theme offering many of the regular shows an extended break.
Format and prize structure
The NFR consists of ten days, each of which has a competition, or "go-round", in each event with its own prizes. In addition, each event has a separate set of prizes for having the best combined results over the ten days, referred to as "the average."
The payouts are based on the total prize pool. For every $208,000 in the prize pool, the top six in each go-round receive $620, $490, $370, $260, $160, and $100, and the top eight in the average receive $1590, $1290, $1020, $750, $540, $390, $270, and $150.
In 2012, the prize pool was $6,125,000, so each go-round paid $18,257 for first, $14,429 for second, $10,895 for third, $7656 for fourth, $4712 for fifth, and $2945 for sixth, and each event's average paid $46,821 for first, $37,987 for second, $30,036 for third, $22,085 for fourth, $15,901 for fifth, $11,484 for sixth, $7951 for seventh, and $4417 for eighth.
The National Finals Rodeo (NFR), known popularly as the "Super Bowl of rodeo," is a championship event held annually by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). That organization established the NFR in 1958 in order to determine the world champion in each of rodeo's seven main events: tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, barrel racing and team roping. The world championship steer roping competition has always been held separately from the regular NFR. The National Finals Rodeo showcases the talents of the PRCA's top fifteen money-winners in each event as they compete for the world title.
The first NFR was held in Dallas in 1959 and continued at that venue through 1961. In 1962-64 Los Angeles hosted the competition.
Oklahoma City successfully bid in 1964 to be the host city. In 1965 the first NFR in State Fair Arena drew 47,027 fans. NFR remained there through 1978 and there through 1984 at the Myriad Convention Center bringing Oklahoma merchants an estimated annual revenue of $8 million.
In 1984, Las Vegas, bid for the event. Although the Oklahoma City Council considered building a new $30 million arena at the State Fairgrounds, the Las Vegas bid won. Since 1985 the NFR has been held in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The NFR has become Thomas & Mack Center arena’s biggest client, bringing in more than 170,000 fans during the 10-day event.
In 2001 a landmark sponsorship agreement was achieved and Wrangler became the first title sponsor of the National Finals Rodeo. The agreement, part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's continuing effort to elevate professional rodeo to a new level, was made by PRCA Commissioner Steven J. Hatchell.
Oklahoma City has bid to return the NFR to Oklahoma, but is always outbid by the deep pockets of Las Vegas. Starting in 2011, Oklahoma City will become the host city of the RNCFR, which is the Finals for the PRCA's semi-pro series. This was seen as a step towards proving the crowds exist to bring the NFR back to Oklahoma City when Las Vegas' contract was scheduled to end in 2014. Following the completion of the 2013 rodeo, Dallas, Texas and Kissimmee, Florida made bids to become the host city starting in 2015. However on January 24, 2014 the PRCA signed a contract extension through 2024 with Las Vegas Events, the official Las Vegas sponsor.
Impact on UNLV
The Thomas & Mack Center is the home court for the UNLV basketball team. By hosting the NFR, the basketball team plays a few of their away games for about 12 days every December while the NFR is in the Thomas & Mack Center.
The National Finals Rodeo was previously broadcast by ESPN, although its coverage was often tape delayed due to coverage of other events. In 2011, the NFR moved to Great American Country (GAC), and broadcast live. In 2014, the National Finals Rodeo moved to CBS Sports Network.
- List of Rodeos
- Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)
- Canadian Finals Rodeo
- College National Finals Rodeo
- DNCFR moves to Oklahoma City in 2011 ProRodeo.com. Feb 3, 2011.
- Bleakley, Caroline (January 24, 2014). "Wrangler NFR to Stay in Las Vegas Through 2024". KLAS-TV. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "GAC channel a perfect fit for National Finals Rodeo". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- "After rift, Vegas rekindles ‘lovefest’ with NFR". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2014.