NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Rodeo is just one industry impacted significantly by the pandemic. This time last year, rodeos were suddenly canceled, including the Nacogdoches County Championship Rodeo. Its return this week is helping contestants catch-up after a year layoff.
More than 300 contestants competed in today’s slack, a time for overflow contestants. They can’t fit in nightly performances because there’s just not enough time.
Beaumont cowboys Brandon Harrison and Daryl Elliott say anytime is a good time to compete in their sport of steer wrestling.
They drove in Friday morning from a Waxahachie rodeo. By evening time, Daryl is in Woodville for a rodeo there.
“Onto the next one. Do as many as you can in a weekend. Try to get caught up,” says Elliott.
According to industry reports, the PRCA prize payout was cut in half last year because of COVID-19. More than that, competitors drop in the standings, something needed to compete in larger, higher paying rodeos.
“If we didn’t travel a bunch last year than we didn’t get to the top 50,” explained Elliott.
Which can attract sponsorships. No patches on shirts; no expense help.
“Once they dropped out, it was like, uh, it was on us again. No money.”
Which can be discouraging. For a year, barrel racer Tory Land put off getting her PRCA permit. She bit the bullet this year. Land and her 2-year-old son Trevor are back in the saddle.
“Everything is opening back up and rodeos are coming and it’s kinda nice to be able to hit the rodeo trail again,” said Land before heading to the barn for her run.
Contestants roll with the punches. Brandon Harrison had a fast horse, but a stubborn steer when it came to bringing him to the ground.
The cowboy attitude?
“At least we’re back to work,” smiled Harrison.
The Nacogdoches County Championship Rodeo continues through Saturday at the Nacogdoches Exposition Center. Tickets must be purchased online.