by ProRodeo.com | Sep 29, 2014
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Heading into its second full year, the Wrangler Champions Challenge, presented by Justin Boots, has added three rodeos and an 11th team while maintaining its full complement of team sponsors and TV coverage. (Prize money remains $124,000 at most events in 2015 other than Kissimmee, Fla., where the committee has added an extra $1,000 for each event. Contestants took home more than $950,000 from the 2014 series’ eight stops.)
Not only did all of the 2014 WCC hosts return to the lineup for 2015, three more committees have signed on for the new season: Logandale, Nev.; Cody, Wyo., and Pueblo, Colo.
“We are thrilled to have more and more people interested in hosting the best cowboys and cowgirls at Wrangler Champions Challenge events,” said PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman. “It’s a great event for the hosting committees – growing into new cities shows that the star power of the Wrangler Champions Challenge boosts rodeo attendance. It’s also the future of ProRodeo on TV, because that same star power means the TV consumer can follow the same faces on TV each broadcast. Creating star power is one of the ways we parallel other mainstream sports and position ourselves for even more growth.”
There’s also a sense of excitement in adding another team to the Wrangler Champions Challenge structure, said PRCA Director of Properties Sara Muirheid, because it gives contestants an additional chance to gain admittance to the elite tour.
“With two seats coming from the 2015 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, and two seats coming from the standings of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour, presented by Justin Boots, fans can count on watching who is at the top of their game next season,” Muirheid said.
Under the new format, there will no longer be a team made up of venue champions from the previous year, but instead the host committee will be able to field a “home team” by signing a sponsor.
Over the course of the 2014 season, RAM, ProRodeo Gear and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame joined initial team sponsors Wrangler, Justin Boots, Coors, B&W Trailer Hitches, Pendleton Whisky and the PRCA itself. Sponsors for 2015 teams will be announced in December, before those sponsors compete for players at a public draft in Las Vegas Dec. 14.
CBS SportsNet will televise all 2015 Wrangler Champions Challenge events.
The Wrangler Champions Challenge is “a great opportunity to compete against 10 guys and have a chance at $5,000,” said bulldogger Trevor Knowles, among the top money-earners over the 2014 Wrangler Champions Challenge series with more than $28,000, and one of only two contestants to win three 2014 Wrangler Champions Challenge events in 2014. (The other was Ryan Jarrett.) “We’re always going after the opportunity to win good money, and expanding (the series) gives us more opportunities. The more we can win, and the more sponsorship dollars the sport can produce, the better off we all are.”
2015 Wrangler Champions Challenge Schedule
Oct. 4 Kissimmee, Fla.
Feb. 4 Rapid City, S.D.
Feb. 26 Scottsdale, Ariz.
April 12 Logandale, Nev.
May 16 Redding, Calif.
May 30 Spanish Fork, Utah
Aug. 16 Cody, Wyo.
*Aug. 25 Kennewick, Wash.
Sept. 2 Pueblo, Colo.
*Sept. 23 Amarillo, Texas
*pending committee board approval Oct. 1
Courtesy of PRCA