Elite Rodeo Athletes tour reveals 2016 slate in midst of rival NFR

ELITE RODEO ATHLETES ANNOUNCE 2016 TOUR SCHEDULE

Premier tour to pay out $4,600,000 at major markets across the country. 

 BOERNE, TX (December 9, 2015) – Today, the Elite Rodeo Athletes (ERA) is proud to announce their 2016 tour schedule featuring 80 of the top rodeo athletes in the world. This premier tour will consist of 15 regular-season performances in 8 cities beginning March 25th in Redmond, Oregon and concluding with its 2016 ERA World Championship in Dallas, Texas. All tour events will be televised during primetime on Wednesday nights, on FOX Sports 2.

 “We are excited to announce our inaugural tour schedule, which includes traditional and non-traditional rodeo markets like New Orleans, Atlanta and St. Louis. The ERA selected each venue to provide the rodeo fan the opportunity to experience the excitement of ERA.  We are pleased to provide greater exposure for the sport of rodeo through this national schedule,” said Tony Garritano, CEO and President of ERA.

 The rodeo athletes will compete for $1,600,000 in prize money during the regular-season tour and an additional $3,000,000 during the 5 day World Championship in Dallas, for a total of $4,600,000.

 The ERA presents the greatest collection of rodeo champions with 42 hours of programming on FOX Sports.  For the first time in the history of rodeo, fans will be able to follow the entire ERA tour culminating with the crowning of its eight World Champions.

 With the biggest names in rodeo packing the roster, fans will find that each stop is a must see event. Fred Whitfield, eight-time World Champion Tie-Down Roper commented on being a part of the 2016 ERA Tour, “I’m delighted to be a part of this list of talented guys. There’s so much talent, that you’re going have to bring your “A” game to every rodeo event.” 

Information on purchasing tickets to upcoming events will be announced on the ERA’s social media channels and erarodeo.com.  

By Scott Breen - MTN Sports

LAS VEGAS -

Timing is everything, and the new Elite Rodeo Athletes (ERA) tour is using it to make a point.

The ERA Wednesday morning announced its 2016 tour schedule, smack in the middle the rival PRCA's National Finals Rodeo. The ERA is currently in a legal battle with the PRCA over whether members will be able to compete on the PRCA as of January.

The schedule includes Sheridan, Wyoming, on September 3, 2016, at the fairgrounds, but no Montana stops.

Last month, share owners of the ERA filed a lawsuit against the PRCA, claiming 'unfair and illegal bylaws' passed by the PRCA. The antitrust class action suit is officially filed as The Elite Rodeo Association, Trevor Brazile, Bobby Mote, and Ryan Motes vs. the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Inc.  

The PRCA released a statement in October announcing new bylaws for the 2016 season. Within the new rules is a measure to make sure cowboys and cowgirls "are not pursuing interests in Conflicting Rodeo Associations while receiving the benefits of PRCA membership."

Several current and former PRCA world champions announced earlier this year that they would collectively form the ERA to ensure less travel while hoping to earn more money. Last month, the ERA announced its cowboys and cowgirls would cut back on PRCA rodeos to focus more attention on the new tour. 

The PRCA responded by announcing that "any person applying for PRCA membership who is an officer, board member, employee or has an ownership or financial interest of any form in a Conflicting Rodeo Association shall not be issued a membership, permit or renewal of membership with the PRCA."

The ERA features 80 of the sport's top rodeo athletes including world champions Clay Tryan, Kaycee Feild, Bobby Mote and Trevor Brazile. Its tour will consist of 15 regular-season performances in 8 cities beginning March 25th in Redmond, Oregon, concluding with its 2016 ERA World Championship in Dallas. All tour events will be televised Wednesday nights in primetime on FOX Sports 2.

Tryan was asked by Q2 Sports Tuesday night in Las Vegas after Round 6 of the Finals if there's a strange vibe here between ERA cowboys and the PRCA,

"You'd have to interview them (PRCA)," he said. "They confuse me. I've always said it's about the guys I've roped with and competed against through the years. And sometimes they (PRCA) act like they're the ones who started it. And they didn't start it."

Tryan said the ERA's goal is allowing fans to follow their favorite athletes more easily.

"I love watching the Golden State Warriors right now," he said. "I know where to find them. I have League Pass. And that's what we're trying to do so fans at home know where to find us. Follow their favorite cowboys. We want to make it more professional regarding how to follow top cowboys and cowgirls. It won't be a situation like now, where we might run slack at 7 a.m. or 9 a.m., and I won the rodeo but nobody got to see it. To me that's always been a problem with the sport a little bit."

The ERA schedule opens March 25 in Redmond, Oregon, then hits Boise and Salt Lake City before a five week break. It picks up May 20 in Albuquerque but not again until September 3 at the fairgrounds in Sheridan. St. Louis, Atlanta and New Orleans round out the regular season. The world championships start November 9 in Dallas.

CEO and President Tony Garritano said in the ERA's statement released Wednesday morning, “We are excited to announce our inaugural tour schedule, which includes traditional and non-traditional rodeo markets like New Orleans, Atlanta and St. Louis. The ERA selected each venue to provide the rodeo fan the opportunity to experience the excitement of ERA.  We are pleased to provide greater exposure for the sport of rodeo through this national schedule."

Athletes will compete for $1,600,000 in prize money during the regular-season tour and an additional $3,000,000 during the 5 day world championships in for a total of $4,600,000. The seasons adds up to 42 hours of television programming.
 
“I'm delighted to be a part of this list of talented guys," said eight-time tie down world champion Fred Whitfield. "There's so much talent that you're going have to bring your "A" game to every rodeo event.”

Ticket information will be announced on the ERA’s social media channels and erarodeo.com