This morning it was announced that Elite Rodeo Athletes organization (ERA) took the next step in the recent drama-filled battle against the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association.(PRCA) Some of the top rodeo athletes, as well as the ERA itself filed a class action lawsuit regarding the recent bylaw changes that were put in place earlier this year after the official formation of the ERA organization. The buzz that this has created around the rodeo industry is both good and bad for the sport of professional rodeo in my personal opinion but by reading this article and looking at the suit for yourselves will allow you to form your own opinions.
The class action lawsuit that was handed down today signifies that the ERA and the members of their organization believe that the new bylaw changes that the PRCA instituted immediately after the announcement of the ERA formation were in direct response to that announcement. This is just the next step in the process to try and claim the upper hand in the long battle that lies ahead of both of these rodeo organizations.
Ryan Motes, Tony Garritano and Trevor Brazile
The ERA’s class action lawsuit is not asking for any amount of money but only to, “seek a court order to temporarily and permanently stop PRCA from enforcing the new bylaws”. Well-known sports law attorney Jim Quinn, who is representing the ERA, made a statement regarding the lawsuit by saying, “PRCA is unlawfully exercising its monopoly power in the rodeo industry and organizing a group boycott to prevent free competition in the sport.” He went on to say, “PRCA’s bylaws are clearly anticompetitive on their face, and should be declared illegal by the court, just as other courts have done when PRCA tried these same unfair tactics in the past.”
The attorneys are not the only ones speaking out about today’s announcement as 22-time World Champion Tevor Brazile, who is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, spoke about the decision by saying, “We aren’t asking for any money in this lawsuit, just the opportunity to compete in ERA events without being retaliated against by PRCA.” He went on to talk about how he would like things to end up regarding both sides of the lawsuit by saying, “We believe PRCA and ERA can – and should – work together on behalf of the sport, just as PRCA has successfully done with the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) and other rodeo associations.”
It will be interesting to see what happens next and how the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association responds to today’s news. I think it is very timely that this lawsuit came about just three weeks out from the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo which could very well be the last time you will see some of these top rodeo athletes compete in a PRCA sanctioned event. The only way this would not happen is if both sides can sit down and come to an agreement at some point before the December 12th, tenth round in Las Vegas.
Needless to say, this year will be a very interesting one down in the media room at the WNFR. The Rodeo Round Up team will be covering all the events and happenings once again this year so we will be able to find out any new information as it happens. Our team will try and get some personal answers from all those involved and stay on top of any breaking news while out in Las Vegas for this year’s WNFR!
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