Hunter Herrin was disappointed when the State Fair Rodeo was replaced by an Extreme Bulls event only.
It didn't seem right to the Apache tie-down roper that Oklahoma City — home of the National Finals Rodeo from 1965 through 1984 — would no longer have a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo.
“The PRCA, I think, kind of let that go through the cracks,” he said.
A PRCA rodeo returned three years ago when Oklahoma City landed the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Herrin, a six-time qualifier to the NFR, has been a regular participant in the National Circuit Finals Rodeo each year it has been in Oklahoma City.
It's one of the few rodeos that Herrin, 28, gets to rope in front of family and friends.
“I got a big family. My wife's got a lot of family and they really enjoy getting to come and watch,” he said. “It's a great rodeo for a competitor because it pays so well. As long as it's in Oklahoma City, I am going to try and come every year.”
This is the final year of the three-year contract for the National Circuit Finals Rodeo to be held in Oklahoma City. There has been no announcement about whether it is returning next year.
The PRCA circuit is designed for the weekend cowboys and cowboys who want to rodeo close to home and not have travel so far to events, something that is necessary for those chasing an NFR berth.
The PRCA divides the country into 12 regions where cowboys and cowgirls compete in their “home circuit.” From those 12 regions, two contestants in each event — the season champion and winner of that circuit's championship rodeo — qualify to the National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
Even though it's designed for part-time cowboys and cowgirls, it also attracts cowboys like Herrin who are regular qualifiers to the NFR because of the payday.
The total purse in the National Circuit Finals Rodeo exceeds $500,000, and every champion will get a $20,000 voucher for a Ram pickup.