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MPRC Finals to hold 3rd High School Rough Stock Challenge

January 3, 2017

For the third year in a row, high school cowboys will get to rub shoulders and show their skills against the pros at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals in Great Falls.

The Third Annual High School Rough Stock Challenge will be part of the performances at the MPRC Finals, Jan. 13-15.

The Montana High School Rough Stock Challenge is the first event of its kind to be held at a PRCA circuit finals in the nation.

This year’s version will feature four bareback riders and six saddle bronc riders.

Competing in bareback this year are: Shawn Perkins, Roberts; Sebastian Hotalen, Belgrade; Cole Boardman, Malta. The fourth competitor has not been announced. Perkins is a two-time Montana high school state champion.

The saddle bronc contestants are: Houston Brown, Miles City; Tyrell Toren, Kalispell; Tate Harmon, Powderville; Caleb Meeks, Glendive; Koby Harwood, Browning; Brycen Williamson, Browning.

The idea of the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Board, the challenge was instituted to encourage younger competitors in the two rough stock events.

PBR increasing prize money

The Professional Bull Riders is adding another $1.5 million to its prize money for the 2017-18 season.

Each PBR Major will now pay out $250,000, including $100,000 to each winner.

There are four PBR Majors scheduled. The first is the Monster Energy Buck Off at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Jan. 6-8.

“The $250,000 payout available at each of the PBR Majors is the same payout as the first two PBR World Finals combined,” said Cody Lambert, the PBR Director of Livestock and one of the PBR’s original founders, in a press release. “Winning any one of the PBR Majors in 2017 is the equivalent of winning the first two PBR World Finals back-to-back.

“That is life-changing money for any athlete, especially a bull rider and it is available four times a year at a single PBR event. That is one of the things we set out to accomplish in forming the PBR 25 years ago.”

According to PBR officials, the total 2017 award money for bull riders and stock contractors will add up to more than $11 million. More than $500,000 will be added in the United States between the Built Ford Tough Series and the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour events. PBR tours in Canada, Brazil, Australia and Mexico will also increase their prize money.

Also, more than $700,000 of new prize money will be available to the top bull riders in the world as part of the first PBR Global Cup event in Edmonton this November.

Money is also increasing at the PBR World Finals. First place for each round will pay $35,000, with payouts through seven places. The PBR World Finals will receive $300,000, while the World Champion Bucking Bull will earn $100,000.

The year-end PBR World Champion will continue to receive a $1 million bonus.

ProRodeo Hall expanding

During his State of the PRCA address in Las Vegas prior to the National Finals Rodeo, PRCA commissioner Karl Stressman said that starting in 2017, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame will include inductees from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

The ProRodeo Hall of Fame is located in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The WPRA will implement its own selection process and WPRA inductees will join the PRCA at the annual Hall of Fame inductions starting with the Class of 2017.

Bloom, Brown win titles

Before the PRCA and WPRA crowned its 2016 world champions at the National Finals Rodeo, a pair of former Montana State teammates won their second titles.

Bareback rider Wyatt Bloom and steer wrestling Jason Brown won their events at the Permit Member Challenge of the Year at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas.

The event featured the top five permit holders in each event.

Bloom, of Bend, Ore., had two rides for 160 points to win it for the second time in three years. He missed in 2015 because of a neck injury. Blooms plans to rodeo full time in 2017. He has already swept the year-end and Finals titles for the Columbia River Circuit.

Brown, of Baker City, Ore., won his second straight steer wrestling title with a total time of 12.3 seconds on two runs. He was 4.5 seconds on his second run to clinch the event.

Brown began his college athletic career as a walk-on quarterback at Washington State before transferring to MSU and joining the rodeo program.

Other Permit Challenge winners were: Aaron Williams, Norco, Calif., bull riding; Clay Stremler, Fallon, Nev., saddle bronc; Jordan Tye, Canby, Ore., and Ty Arnold, Midway, Texas, team roping; John Douch, Okeechobee, Fla., tie-down roping.

Tye and Arnold had not met until they were in the warm up arena. Both had qualified but not with their regular team roping partners.

The Permit Challenge has been held in conjunction with the NFR for the past eight years.