Stockton Graves is a seven-time qualifier to the National Finals Rodeo, but these days the Alva bulldogger is focused more on coaching the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo team and becoming a father.
“Rodeo is 365 days a year,” he said. “ There is no season for it. It’s winter, summer, spring and fall. There really ain’t a whole lot of breaks. You get to spend most of your life on the road. It takes a toll on you.”
That is why the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit system is ideal for cowboys like Graves, who still want to rodeo but no longer want to be chasing that world champion gold buckle year-round.
Graves has once again qualified for the National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which opens Thursday at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie. It was held the last three years at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
The PRCA circuit system is designed for cowboys and cowgirls who want to rodeo closer to home. The PRCA divides the country in 12 regions or circuits from which two cowboys or cowgirls in each event (top money earner on the season and championship rodeo winner) qualify to the National Circuit Finals.
Oklahoma is part of the Prairie Circuit with Nebraska and Kansas.
Graves will become a father in August so making the NFR is no longer his top priority.
He still lives the life of rodeo cowboy, but only part-time, hitting the smaller circuit rodeos closer to home and trying to win enough money to stay qualified for the higher-paying PRCA events in places like Houston and San Antonio.
“There is still a pretty good living to be made out there and not having to travel so much,” Graves said.
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