News & Notes from the Rodeo Trail, September 21

Tickets for the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, go on sale to the public Friday, Sept. 25.

The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is the season-ending championship event for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and is widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier rodeo. For the first time since 1985, the National Finals Rodeo will host the championship event in Texas, showcasing the best cowboys, barrel racers and livestock in the world. The 10 days of performances will run Dec. 3-12.

Tickets for the public can be purchased at beginning at 10 a.m. (CT).

Wrangler NFR season ticket holders currently have access to presale tickets.
Tickets will be sold in blocks of four seats.

Bull rider Rowdy Lee Swanson passed away Sept. 17 following injuries sustained that night while competing at the Palo Pinto County Livestock Association’s PRCA Rodeo in Mineral Wells, Texas. Swanson was 20.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Rowdy Swanson at the ProRodeo in Mineral Wells, Texas,” PRCA CEO George Taylor said. “The hearts of the entire rodeo community go out to Rowdy’s family in this tragic time. We will continue to keep Rowdy and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Swanson was bucked off while riding Rafter G Rodeo’s Gritty.

Swanson is a PRCA permit holder who is from Duncan, Oklahoma. He was studying animal sciences at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

Palo Pinto County Livestock Association posted the following on its Facebook page Sept. 18:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Rowdy Swanson following injuries sustained at the Palo Pinto County Livestock Association’s PRCA Pro Rodeo,” said PPCLA Rodeo Chairman Scott Fenner. “The entire rodeo committee and our rodeo family extend our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to Rowdy’s mother Venessa, his brother Roper, and his entire family.”

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is working on its game plan for the 2021 season with a focus on keeping everyone safe.

Next year’s rodeo is scheduled for March 2-21.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo leaders are preparing for multiple scenarios where COVID-19 is concerned with several options.

The multi-pronged plan includes:

• Several task forces of staff and volunteers have been working on the final plan since June. The Health and Well-being Task Force is working with medical experts to review rodeo policies and procedures and to develop new ones needed to keep everyone safe.
• Working with Houston and Harris County leaders to ensure they are following best practices
• Getting input from the public and private sectors on key issues that could impact the 2021 rodeo.
• Soliciting community feedback through a survey that included 4,400 rodeo fans. A separate survey was sent to NRG Park employees.
• Participating in Houston Clean, which allows them to collaborate with local sports teams, venues, special events and management groups to suggest health and safety guidelines for each group.
• The #StaySafeForRodeo Pledge encourages the community to do their part: wear a mask, continue to social distance, and follow local, state and national health guidelines.
• Take the #StaySafeForRodeoPledge

The coronavirus pandemic forced the 2020 Houston Rodeo to shut down two weeks early.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has awarded several Houston-area community colleges and technical institutions with $300,000 in vocational scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year, according to a press release.

The seven Houston-area programs that received money from the Vocational Scholarship Program include Houston Community College, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lee College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, Texas State Technical College and Wharton County Junior College.

Each program that receives educational funding through the rodeo’s Vocational Scholarship Program will manage the selection and distribution of its scholarship funds.

The rodeo has allocated more than $1.4 million in educational funding to this program since it began in 2015. This year, more than $27 million has been committed to scholarships, junior show exhibitors, educational program grants and graduate assistantships. Since 1932, the rodeo has committed more than $500 million to the youth of Texas and education.

Marty Barnes built a career in rodeo, as a competitor and a business owner providing bulls and bucking horses for events across the U.S.

Barnes is seeking to build a rodeo team as coach of the new Buena Vista University rodeo team in Storm Lake, Iowa.

“It’s a great opportunity to build a rodeo program at BVU,” said Barnes, who directed his daughters Micah Barnes, a 2020 BVU graduate, and Mary Barnes, a fourth year BVU student, in rodeo competitions for the Beavers. “I’ve been coaching competitors in the sport on an unofficial basis for 25 years. I also spent 25 years competing in professional rodeo. Now, I get the chance to put all that experience and knowledge to work in getting student-athletes at BVU to excel in something we’re passionate about.”

Barnes, who owns and operates Barnes PRCA Rodeo Company, will make the Barnes Ranch near Peterson, Iowa, available for practice sessions, as well as providing space for students to house their horses. The ranch is about 30 miles northwest of Storm Lake.

“We have 300 acres here for students to work their horses,” Barnes said. “This will be a place where we’ll work to improve on our rodeo skills. It’s also a place where students can come ride and relax as their horse gets exercise.”

The rodeo program is an outgrowth of BVU’s new Agriculture Institute, a focused-growth strategic initiative led by business and science professors, including Landon Sullivan, Instructor of Animal Science and a former rodeo competitor who coached rodeo teams at the collegiate level for nearly a decade.

BVU will compete in the Great Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association with about half of the competitions occurring within a 200-mile radius of Storm Lake.

As the world’s destination for all things PRORODEO, the PRCA on The Cowboy Channel Plus App will keep fans up-to-date with their favorite PRCA rodeos and athletes, as well as provide behind-the-scenes access to livestreamed and on-demand PRCA rodeo events from around the country.

The content can be accessed via the mobile app (available on Android and iOS), as well as any browser, smart TV or device. Viewers will be able to enjoy free access to up-to-the-minute news, bios, rodeos and highlights.

Those with a subscription will unlock premium content such as up to six simultaneous live rodeo feeds, classic PRCA archived rodeos, The Cowboy Channel video-on-demand programming, and the only place viewers can stream the National Finals Rodeo.

The Cowboy Channel Plus App is available for only $9.99 a month or save up to 25% and purchase the whole year for $89.99. To sign up for the PRCA on Cowboy Channel Plus app, visit

Courtesy of PRCA

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