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One of the hardest tickets to get in the sporting world is to the national finals of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

The 39th annual event has been sold out for a year, and even sponsors are complaining of a lack of tickets. The finals are expected to draw more than 170,000 people over 10 days, Dec. 5 to 14, at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

In addition to drawing a loyal and passionate audience, the PRCA Finals have some of the longest-running sponsors in the sporting world, says the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based association.

Major sponsors include VF Corp.'s Wrangler, Justin Boot Co. and Resistol Hats, all of which have backed the event for three decades. Seagram Americas' Crown Royal, Coors Brewing Co., U.S. Tobacco Co.'s Copenhagen and Skoal, Chrysler Corp.'s Dodge trucks, Coca-Cola Co., and Colt Manufacturing Co. also are repeat sponsors.


"The rodeo draws a very loyal, family-oriented audience who will go out of their way for the sport and for sponsors. Participants and spectators realize that there's a direct connection between the sponsors and the cowboys, which cements the loyalty there," said Amy Clements, public relations coordinator for the PRCA, which sanctions 750 rodeos each year.

Coors is creating a com-memorative bottle for the finals; it also sponsors 60 rodeos, culminat-ing in the Coors Shoot-out. Wrangler sponsors the World of Rodeo series telecast on ESPN each month; the series is expand-ing into new markets next year.

Many sponsorships throughout the year culminate at the PRCA Finals. Crown Royal is title sponsor of the final PRCA World Stand-ings, resulting in one worldwide winner. Dodge will give the use of a truck for a year to one winning cowboy of its own series of 150 sponsored rodeos throughout the year. Colt will auction off a limited-edition firearm to benefit the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, and

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