With the popularity of series like Yellowstone and The Mandalorian, the western is experiencing a renaissance. And surfing on this wave of popularity is rodeo. Interest in rodeo is not specific to certain geographic areas of the United States. With the help of digital media and broadcasting, rodeo audiences are growing and may become even more popular than ever. Paul Woody, Vice President of Business Development at PRCA (Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association), spoke with Ben Thomas about the exciting potential he saw for rodeo today.
Rodeo grew out of the day-to-day activities of ranching, and the people who live their lives love to see it perform at the highest level. And call it curiosity, interest or a call for a different life, but Woody said people moving from cities to more rural areas also want to experience rodeo. “They’re learning, and they’re looking, and they’re finding out why we’re doing these things, and so there’s more people watching,” Woody said.
The body of the PRCA is made up of more than 700 rodeo committees across the country. And although these operate independently of each other, they use the resources of the PRCA to put on the best rodeo show in their communities every year.
Woody said the top ten flagship rodeos across the country are key opportunities to use broadcast media because they generate a lot of fan interest, boosting interest in rodeo across the country. And the uniqueness of attending a rodeo in person makes a lasting impression.
“There are some incredibly traditional rodeos that you won’t find with pyrotechnics and loud music,” Woody said. “It’s about the purse aspect of rodeo competition. And then other rodeos figured out that you can have 20 days of top performances, and people will come to see this artist, and by the way, there’s this two-hour rodeo before the gig starts. No matter the flavor, the rodeo is here to entertain.