Colorado Pro Rodeo Association History

The Colorado Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) was originally organized in 1975 for the purpose of promoting a more professionally oriented rodeo circuit in Colorado. The CPRA is the leading rodeo association in the state today. Over the years, the CPRA has expanded in all aspects. Starting with less than five rodeos in its first year, the association now sanctions thirty rodeos per year while maintaining a growing a membership of approximately 600. The CPRA also co-sanctions many rodeos with associations in Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Texas, New Mexico and Wyoming.

The CPRA Finals takes place each September and has been held in numerous cities around the state. The top 12 contestants in each event compete for year-end and finals championship awards along with thousands of dollars in prize money. Most of our cowboys and cowgirls in the CPRA make their livings at regular full-time jobs during the week, but their heart belongs to the rodeo arena and the competition on the weekends. The members can have the best of both worlds – hold down their jobs while still having the opportunity to be a champion!

The lifestyle of the cowboy today is much different than that of the man who helped tame the Wild West in the 1800's. Nevertheless, the mystique of the cowboy remains. Over one hundred years later, the excitement of the competition and the spirit of the west lives on in the CPRA and continues to intrigue the vast number of individuals who watch our rodeos. Rodeo not only provides quality entertainment for all ages, but also represents a fascinating slice of the American heritage of which we can still be proud! So sit back and enjoy professional rodeo at its best!

What Is The Colorado Pro Rodeo Association?

For many years now, there have been Colorado cowboys and cowgirls who, holding regular jobs and unable to travel during the week, were unable to compete with the full time professional. In many cases, these were husband and wife teams and families who preferred to rodeo together. So the contestants banded together, first as the Colorado State Rodeo Association and later as the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association.

The CPRA is a nonprofit association, supervised by a board of directors made up of member cowboys and cowgirls. Each board member donates their expertise and an enormous amount of time each year. In addition to the directors, the volunteer list includes rodeo contestants and fans from throughout Colorado. These volunteers supply everything from technical to legal advice in support of our association.

While the core of the CPRA is the rodeo family, we strongly support the youth of our state as evidenced by our many young single members. We provide a special membership for high school age contestants and a college scholarship program available to our young members, which we are very proud of. Click Here to View Scholarship Information

The CPRA supports each of their rodeo committees with professional stock contractors, announcers, timers, judges and rodeo secretaries. Our contestants are true professionals and together we work everyday to protect and maintain the heritage and tradition of rodeo and western way of life. The CPRA is 600 members strong and with the recent growth of our rodeos and success of our finals, we hope to become even bigger. Rodeo is still one place where you can take the whole family, know that the National Anthem will play, and American Flag will fly. It is truly an American sport.

The state secretary is in our office each weekday to field questions. If you have an interest in joining, producing a CPRA event or just an interest in professional rodeo, please call or email!

Cowboy's Prayer

Our Heavenly Father, We Pause,
Ever Mindful Of The Many Blessings You Have Bestowed Upon Us.
We Ask That You Be With Us At This Rodeo,
And We Pray That You Will Guide Us In The Arena Of Life.
We Don't Ask For Special Favors,
We Don't Ask To Draw Around A Chute Fighting Horse,
Or To Never Break A Barrier.
Nor Do We Ask For All Daylight Runs,
Or Not To Draw A Steer That Won't Lay.
Help Us O Lord,
To Live Our Lives In Such A Manner,
That When We Make That Last Inevitable Ride To The Country Up There,
Where The Grass Grows Lush, Green And Stirrup High,
And The Water Runs Clear, Cool And Deep,
That You, As Our Last Judge,
Will Tell Us That Our Entry Fees Are Paid.

Select an Event for a Brief Description
All Around Cowboy & Cowgirl

To win the title All-Around Champion, the Cowgirl and Cowboy must complete in more than one event. For the ladies, that could be a combination of Breakaway Roping, Mixed Team Roping and Barrel Racing. For the gentleman, that could be a larger combination that includes Bareback Riding, Steer Wrestling, Tie-Down Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping or Bullriding.

The All-Around Champion is based on their total earnings in each event that is tallied together. The winner is the contestant that has the most money won.

Bareback Bronc Riding

A wild 8-second ride on a powerful bucking horse without the benefit of a saddle, reins or stirrups. All they use is a "suitcase handle" for a handhold! The handle is a leather "riggin" that's placed behind the horse's shoulders. The rider holds onto this handle with a single hand encased in a specially designed glove.

Riders must stay aboard for eight (8) seconds to make a qualified ride. Touching his body, the equipment or the horse with his free hand will disqualify the rider and give him a no score for his efforts. Two judge's award up to 50 points to the horse and up to 50 points to the rider for a total of one hundred possible points available for each qualified ride. Points are awarded for the bucking pattern and power of the horse, as well as the rider's strength, control and spurring action.

This is one of the most dramatic events in rodeo. It's a wild ride that puts horses up against strong-willed cowboys determined to stay aboard until the 8-second whistle!

Barrel Racing

The name of this horse-racing contest comes from the colored barrels around which the women riders run a triangular pattern in the rodeo arena. Barrel racers are allowed a running start in to the arena as they head toward the cloverleaf pattern of three barrels.

Charging in full speed, they must rein their horse in and spin around the barrels. Repeating this around each barrel, they spur their horses as they angle toward the last barrel at the far end of the arena and turn toward the start/finish line. Tipping over a barrel during her maneuvering will cost the barrel racer a five-second penalty and she can be disqualified for running an incorrect pattern. Electronic timers are used to record elapsed time between crossing the start/finish line in hundredths of a second. With well-trained, strong-willed horses and fiercely competitive cowgirls, one or two hundredths of a second are often all that separates the final standings in this all female event!

Breakaway Roping

Don't blink your eyes………you'll miss the fastest event in rodeo! Two to three seconds is the normal winning time in this all-girl roping contest. The cowgirls use a 25-foot long rope. The rope is tied to the saddle horn with string and has a handkerchief or other colorful cloth attached next to the horn. The object is to get the calf roped and break the string as quickly as possible.

The calf is given a designated head start in to the arena before the cowgirl can begin her chase. The cowgirl who breaks the barrier by leaving the roping box too soon receives a 10 second penalty to her time. As the cowgirl ropes the calf and pulls her slack, the highly conditioned quarter horse comes to a sliding stop causing the string on her saddle horn to break. Time is stopped at this point. A lot of action for two or three seconds!! So, don't blink your eyes or you might miss an incredible display of split second timing and amazing teamwork.

Bull Riding

Bull riding is one of the favorite spectator events in rodeo. At the same time, it can be the most dangerous and most entered event. Bulls can be so unpredictable because of their tendency to abruptly spin left or right with no letting up in the sheer power of the animal.As in other rough stock events, bull riders are only permitted to hold on with one hand and can be disqualified for touching their body or the bull with their free hand.

A flat plaited bull rope and riding glove are used in the cowboy's effort to secure himself to the back of the bull. The rider inserts his gloved hand into a handhold while a chute helper pulls the bull rope tight around the waiting bull. The tail of the bull rope is then laid across the bullrider's palm, looped around the back of his hand and returned to his palm where it is gripped in a tightly clenched fist. If a bull rider manages to stay aboard for the eight seconds, two rodeo judges combine scores up to 50 points for how well the bull bucks and 50 points for how well the cowboy maintained control during the ride.

Bull riding matches an incredibly powerful animal against a determined cowboy to try and record spectacular riding feats in the rodeo arena!

Mixed Team Roping

The challenge to this event is working together as a TEAM. This team consists of a Cowgirl and a Cowboy. The goal is for both partners to rope a steer in the fastest time! The success of the Mixed Roping team requires many long hours of practice to perfect their timing with each other as a team and as partners with their horses.

As with the Team Roping event, you have a header and a heeler. The header must rope the horns of the steer, while the heeler must rope both of the back feet of the steer. The rules are the same as in Team Roping. Either partner can be the header or the heeler.

This event has proven to be very popular for couples who rodeo together. It has also proven that Cowgirls are just as competitive as Cowboys!

Saddle Bronc Riding

Rodeo's oldest event, Saddle Bronc riding is a combination in style and finesse that demands near-perfect timing. Modern day competition evolved from the need to break or tame wild horses to be used on a ranch and for range work.

This event matches the bucking horse with a carefully balanced cowboy who must ride the horse for eight seconds to make a qualified ride. The cowboy uses an approved saddle with stirrups and a six-foot braided rein that he holds with one hand only. Saddle Bronc riders are disqualified if they touch their body, the horse or their equipment with their free hand. This rough stock event is more a contest of balance and finesse than one of brute strength. The rhythm forces the timing of the bucking horse and rider, to be coordinated between lifting on the rein and spurring with dull, rounded spurs. Two judges combine scores to mark each horse up to 50 points for their bucking ability and the cowboy up to 50 points for their riding skill and style.

Modern day Saddle Bronc riding is a far cry from the day when the cowboy who got bucked off had to walk back to the ranch. It's now an event of balance and style!

Steer Wrestling

Steer Wrestling or bulldogging as it's often called, is another rodeo event which developed in the competitive arena. Now cowboy would ever dive off his horse on to a 500-pound steer at 35 miles an hour on the open range!

Steer wrestling is the only rodeo event in which a contestant is permitted to use a helper, known as the hazer. A 500 lb. Horned steer leaves the chute, tripping a barrier line which signals the contestant and hazer to race to each side of the steer. As in other timed events, a broken barrier will add 10 seconds to the competitor's time for starting too early.

With the hazer paralleling the steer to keep it running straight, the steer wrestler must catch up to the steer, lean off his horse at top speed and end up with a firm grip on the steers horns. Once on the ground, the steer wrestler must plant his feet, bring the steer to a stop and wrestle it to the ground. A rodeo judge will stop time when the steer is on its side with all four feet pointing in the same direction. Once known as the "big man's event", due to the brute strength required, recent emphasis on quickness and technique have produced phenomenal times by large and average sized cowboys alike. With constant practice and top horses, it often requires a time of less than five seconds to win this top competition!

Team Roping

Team Roping requires the effort of two cowboys also known as the header and the heeler. The header ropes first. He may rope the steer around the head and one horn; around the neck, or around both horns. The header then rides forward taking the steer in tow.

The heeler then rides up from behind the steer and ropes its hind legs. Catching only one hind leg will result in a five second penalty. If the heeler tosses his loop before the header has changed the direction of the steer (moving forward), it's called a "cross-fire" and results in disqualification. Time is stopped when slack is out of both ropes and the contestants are facing each other.

Tie-Down Roping

One of the oldest events in rodeo is tie-down roping which evolved directly from work on the range and ranch. During the annual spring roundup, calves had to be roped by a single cowboy for branding and "doctoring".

In the rodeo arena, a calf roper teams with his partner – his horse – in a contest of split second timing and uncompromising teamwork between man and animal. One misstep by either man or horse can cost a fraction of a second, which separates winners from losers in this timed event. The calves get a designated head start of 8 to 16 feet in to the rodeo arena and must trip a barrier string before the cowboy and horse can begin their chase. The cowboy who "breaks the barrier" by leaving the roping box too soon has a 10 second penalty assessed to his time.

Once safely in to the arena, the roper must catch his calf with a 25 foot rope, dismount his horse, run down the rope being held taught by his horse, flank the 200 to 250 pound calf to the ground, gather three of the calf's legs, tie them together with a six foot "piggin" string and throw up his hands to signal the end of his run. If an observing judge has not noted any rule infractions and if the tie holds for six seconds, the calf roper's time becomes official.

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CPRA State Office
PO Box 668 • Kersey, CO 80644
Office: 719.647.2828
Fax: 719.213.2259
Entry/Callback: 605.374.7754
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