Perhaps you are wondering how contestants from across the US and Mexico actually make it here to Kissimmee, Florida to compete at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo? The path for rodeo contestants to compete at the RNCFR is very different than how contestants simply enter most local rodeos. It can be a little challenging to understand the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) circuit rodeo system. Here’s a little look at the road the contestants take to get to the RNCFR in Kissimmee!
The Circuit System
In 1975, the PRCA created a format that divided the United States into 12 circuits, and in 1987, the circuit system was incorporated. The circuit system is a way for the weekend warrior cowboys and cowgirls or those who rodeo full time to have a means to get to a national championship event, in addition to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. In 2015, the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo was moved to Kissimmee, Florida and is now hosted every April at the Silver Spurs Arena.
The 12 Circuits and the Mexican Rodeo Federation
Below are the 12 circuits and the regions or states they encompass, so you can see which circuits cover which regions of the US and Mexico.
Every Rodeo Counts
Contestants will compete within their respective regions throughout the year based on where they reside in the US or Mexico. Each of the twelve regional circuits and Mexico (outlined above) have many rodeos during a year that contestants must enter, attend and compete in. For the most part, contestants must compete in approximately 15 PRCA rodeos in their region to be eligible to advance to their regional circuit final rodeo. Required participation counts vary per circuit and per year based on the PRCA Rulebook. (PRCA Rule B18.104.22.168)
The Circuit Rodeo Calendar Season
The PRCA circuit season, generally speaking, runs September or October through September of the following year. All of the circuit finals for each region are concluded by January, and the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo is held a few months later in April.
The Circuit Final Rodeos
From September through January of the following calendar year, each of the 12 circuits plus the Mexican Rodeo Federation will host their regional circuit final rodeo. Contestants will enter, participate in their rodeo event and must either win the average or simply win the event to be given a chance to advance to the RNCFR. At the end of each circuit final rodeo, the top two contestants in each of the seven traditional rodeo events will be able to advance to the RNCFR. Approximately 200+ circuit champions will be heading to Kissimmee!
Five Performances, Four Days
During the RNCFR, five action-packed performances are held over four days. Each performance has a theme to go along with it.
- Thursday, April 5 is Rodeo Preview Day
- Friday, April 6 is Wrangler National Patriot Night
- Saturday, April 7 is Family Day – day performance
- Saturday, April 7 is Tough Enough to Wear Pink – evening performance
- Sunday, April 8 is Showdown Sunday
Tournament Style Rodeo
The RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo is hosted tournament-style. Each contestant who comes to Kissimmee will get the opportunity to compete in two preliminary rounds or performances. From there the top eight contestants advance to the semifinal round with all previous times and scores thrown out. Then, the top four will move on to the final round which turns into a sudden death competition that will determine the national circuit champion in each event. Sound intense? With each passing performance, the competition certainly heats up!
Most contestants have one goal they are trying to achieve when they make it to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, and that is to WIN! The money that contestants win at the RNCFR now counts towards the PRCA WEATHER GUARD World Standings. Contestants come to Kissimmee vying for the $1 million in cash and prizes hoping to be the next to make history.
We hope this helps explain the uniqueness of how contestants get to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo a little bit more in depth.
Still confused or have questions? Don’t be afraid to chat with us on our live chat feature on our website. We are always happy to educate our rodeo fans!