Q: What is the difference between ERA and other professional rodeo associations?
A: ERA is a private company that is owned by many of the contestants and provides an avenue for future contestants to earn ownership as well.
Q: Will rodeo athletes stop competing in other professional rodeo associations?
A: The ERA’s goal is to provide additional opportunities for professional rodeo athletes to enhance what is already in the professional rodeo industry. Each rodeo contestant will have to decide his or her own schedule and career path while competing.
Q: Will this association work like PBR?
A: There is commonality with the PBR structure in that it focuses on the very best rodeo athletes in the world and has its own season-long tour ending with a World Championship Event. The ERA will also have its own rules and regulations.
Q: What are the membership rules, how do you enter and qualify?
A: Check out the qualification system here:
Q: Where and when will the events occur?
A: The ERA Season will begin March 25-26, 2016 in Redmond, Oregon and its World Championship Event will take place November 2016. Click here for the complete tour schedule.
Q: What events will be included in this new organization?
A: It is very important to the founding ERA members to ensure the integrity of the sport of rodeo, which includes the traditional 7 events in rodeo.
Q: How will contestants earn ownership in the ERA?
A: The ERA will always be owned by its contestants.
Q: How will you be working with other industry partners?
A: The ERA’s overall goal is to enhance the sport of rodeo and it will engage the entire rodeo industry by working with various entities to create a mutually beneficial partnership that will enhance rodeo.
Q: How can I apply to be considered for a contract personnel position or to become a supplier?
A: Please visit our Employment page to submit an application. If there is interest we will contact you.
Q: Where are you located?
A: ERA is a Texas based corporation with its headquarters in Boerne.
Q&A with Bobby Mote
Bobby Mote, Four-Time World Champion Bareback Rider, answers questions about the Elite Rodeo Athletes and his involvement as a founding member.
Q: Why do you feel the formation of the Elite Rodeo Athletes is necessary?
A: In my nearly 20 years of being involved in rodeo, I’ve had a lot of great experiences, I’ve also had my share of near death and certainly career ending injuries. The ERA has created a system that will be better for elite rodeo athletes’ family lives and finances. Also, by consolidating the number of events contestants compete at into a meaningful tour, we believe this will extend the life of their careers as well. When we started working on solutions over a year ago, I said that I wanted to see a day when a Professional Rodeo Athlete could have a lucrative career and end it on his own terms and finally have something to show for it.
Q: How do you think the ERA will help your event of Bareback Riding?
A: When I look at the future of my event, I see some promising talent but I don’t see very many of them. Let’s face it, if there were a healthy group of rising stars in the bareback riding someone would have taken my spot by now, but the bareback riding remains the lowest membership. High school rodeo in many states has less than 4 bareback riders. There are however lots of bull riders and there has been ever since the PBR made the youngest millionaires for everyone to see on TV every weekend. So it’s easy to see that if you give the stars of tomorrow incentive and the promise of a real career they are capable of doing amazing things and the event will grow. It is true that everyone who aspires to be an elite rodeo athlete will not make it, just like in every other professional sport (less than 1%). But those who come up short will still have many options to professional rodeo at a different level and will also benefit from the added exposure that the ERA will bring.
Q: How will the ERA impact the rodeo fans?
A: This is what I might be the most excited about because I think the rodeo fans will be the biggest winners in this. The ERA tour will provide events like nothing the fans have ever experienced before, bringing only the top professional rodeo athletes to every event and every performance. Today if a fan buys a ticket at their local professional rodeo they might see a few of the top cowboys in each event during the performance. At ERA rodeos we can guarantee the fans that they will see the top rodeo athletes every time.
Q: Some might say that you and the other founding members started the ERA for selfish reasons or because you were unhappy with the current professional rodeo structure. Can you address that?
A: Myself just like the other 11 who worked to found the ERA may not be able to compete in it for long, if at all. So you can mark selfish ambitions off of your list.
We just want to see professional rodeo grow. We owe all that we have to professional rodeo as contestants and we are confident that the management of those organizations has always wanted the best for rodeo. Unfortunately, the rulebooks and structure of the associations have prevented them from creating events that showcase its greatest athletes on the same stage at every event ending in a World Championship Event that will crown its world champions. So, a tour such as the ERA must be created outside of those rulebooks and structures to accomplish that goal.
Currently, there are large rodeos that have chosen to be open and stand-alone. The main reason they are open is simply because they wanted to make some changes that they felt would benefit their individual rodeo, but in most cases those changes couldn’t happen according to the rules and bylaws in place. So you ask, why not change the rules? If it were that simple it would have been done.
These rodeos have gone open because of the rules that are geared towards a large membership instead of showcasing the best in the world. Professional rodeo organizations are now basically membership driven organizations. Any time that you have a system based on volume you sacrifice talent.
The rodeo cowboy who travels to 30 or more rodeos makes up the smallest portion of these large memberships. These groups consist of members who have vastly different objectives when it comes to their rodeo careers. ERA is about a smaller elite group that has the same objectives in mind. The ERA contestant is the same contestant who is attempting to make a living in rodeo since he or she is on the road 180-200 days a year and is not able to have other employment. That is why this group is the most passionate as well as impatient about the issues that affect their sport.
It is the goal of the ERA to work with the open rodeos and form a mutually beneficial relationship. It is also our goal to formulate a system that ensures that the very best talent will be provided to the fans, sponsors and committees as well as a clear path for the rising stars of tomorrow to be involved.
Q: You say, “a clear path for the rising stars of tomorrow to be involved,” can you elaborate?
A: The qualification system has been put into place, whereby anyone in the world will have the opportunity to get on the tour, however it will be ability based and you will not be able to pay a fee to join. Similar to PBR or even the PGA, your performance will dictate if you get on the tour..
Q: How do you think professional rodeo compares to other professional sports organizations? What is your vision for the future of professional rodeo?
A: If you look at any professional sport you will see that they were built on the stars of their sport. Because of the popularity and value of those professional athletes more rising stars will be on the field, court or gym every day trying to make their skills good enough to go pro. Will they all make the “big leagues?” No, but look at how many kids are attempting it and how many are dreaming about it and look at how many are participating in those sports. We hope that rodeo will see the same benefits.
Rodeo needs to see the growth that other professional sports have seen. The only way that the sport of rodeo will expand overall is having a true professional league that highlights the strongest athletes. Take for example the NBA, it has expanded internationally because of the way it has packaged and highlighted its top-level athletes. We all know their names and are in awe of their talent. The sport as a whole, all the way down to youth basketball has benefited from the popularity of those top athletes. Rodeo numbers are at a steady decline, so it’s clear that the way we’ve been doing things needs to change.
The ERA wants to see rodeo grow to the level of other professional sports and I feel that it’s up to the stars of today to take the lead to provide a better career for the stars of tomorrow. The ERA will provide future contestants more opportunities for their families, finances and a format that will extend the life of their careers by requiring less wear and tear on their bodies.