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New Opportunities Unveiled for WPRA Members

The Womenís Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) has announced new opportunities for its members. First and foremost is the change in competition and sanctioning rules set forth by the WPRA. Beginning in 2007, WPRA members looking to qualify for the WPRA World Finals Rodeo will have a few less restrictions including the removal of the requirement to compete in at least four All-Womenís rodeos to be eligible. This means that women across the nation will compete on a much more level playing field toward a berth at the WPRA World Finals, which is scheduled for October at the Diamond W Arena in Alvarado, TX.

The reason for the decision to remove the number requirement was because in 2006 only five states in the south central United States hosted All Womenís rodeos for a total of 25 events in those states. As a result, reaching four of these events was a huge geographic hurdle for the majority of the women who compete in such events.

"This is an exciting time in our history," said WPRA President Jymmy Kay

Davis. "We believe that these changes will bring a host of new opportunities

for our current and future members as well as keep our organization the top

womenís professional rodeo association in the world."

Now, women can earn circuit and world championship points at WPRA sanctioned and co-sanctioned rodeos, barrel races, jackpots, bull riding, bareback riding and roping events across the nation, unencumbered by the four rodeo rule. The WPRA is actively seeking co-sanctioning agreements with other rodeo Associations that are recognized as professionally operated entities and that are recommended by WPRA spokeswomen and Directors. Co-sanctioning will also be available to United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC) format team ropings and United States Calf Ropers Association (USCRA) format calf ropings and breakaway ropings. Specialty rough-stock riding events will be considered for sanctioning on an individual basis.

"We are very excited about all the new opportunities that our members will be able to take advantage of this year," said WPRA Womenís Rodeo Director Kelly Lawrence. "By adding more qualifying events across the United States it will make it more feasible for our members to qualify for the Finals and will in turn entice more women to become actively involved in the WPRA."

In another landmark move to level the playing field, the Board voted to allow the top five competitors in every event in each of the 12 circuits the right to qualify for the WPRA World Finals In addition to these qualifiers, the top 40 barrel racers and the top 15 team roping headers and heelers, tie-down calf ropers, breakaway ropers, bareback riders and bull riders in the world standings will earn a berth at the Finals. The impact of this historic decision is that regardless of where a WPRA member lives, women who compete in rodeo can do so within their region and still earn the right to

compete at the WPRA World Finals.

The World Finals will again feature the Pro Futurity Finals, the Pro Derby Finals and the 4D Challenger Race. The most highly anticipated event at the World Finals will likely be the $100,000 Richest Barrel Racing Run. During the inaugural event, Kay Blandford and her standout horse, Angel took home the first place $100,000 check. An added feature to this yearís World Finals will be a WPRA Junior Division Section featuring 68 of the nationís best youth barrel racers. WPRA Junior Division Members must be younger than 17 as of Jan. 1 of that year and submit an application along with $175 for membership. There is no minimum wage for this division. The top 20 in the national standings, as well as the top four in each circuit will qualify for the WPRA World Finals.

Money won by junior members at all WPRA co-sanctioned barrel racers allowing juniors to run with adults, will count towards the WPRA Junior World Standings. In sanctioning with divisional style barrel races, only money earned in the first division (1D) will count toward world/circuit standings. All junior standings will be kept separate from WPRA adult standings. The junior division will operate under the same competition rules as the WPRA adult division.

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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