The 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, once again, brought the issue of gound preparation to the forfront and caused quite the media storm from night one inside of the Thomas & Mack Arena. Many of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s barrel racers that were competing there started to voice their concerns and disappointment with how well the ground was holding up throughout the 10-day run. Most of the ladies had said that the workers were doing everything that they could do but something had to change.
As it turns out, the powers that be within the WPRA were hearing everything that was being said and decided to take action before something serious happened out inside of an arena throughout the 2016 professional rodeo season. What was announced just a couple of short days ago has already created a social media buzz and raising some eyebrows as to just how bad conditions have become to make the WPRA take the steps that they have taken shortly after the conclusion of the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association has teamed up with the Safe Arena Footing company to come up with a way to educate different committees on the importance of safe footing in arenas across the country. In this new intiative will focus on how to work the ground, how to improve soil quality and be a liason for any safety concerns that committees may have throughout the country. All of this new announcement will be based off of funding in each circuit as a separate unit.
Another huge aspect to this undertaking is the feedback that both the WPRA and the SAF will receive following each rodeo during the 2016 rodeo season. This will involve each contestant in each event that has any WPRA members entered to have access to an online survey which will allow them to express their concerns, not only on the ground itself, but on all aspects pertaining to the event itself. All of the surveys will be forwared to the committee to be addressed to try and make the entire event safer for competitors and livestoch alike.
We talked about how this will be broken down into each circuit having to fund this and take responsibility for the direction and some of you may have questions as to how that will work. Well each circuit will have its own circuit director that will work directly with their respective committees along with members of the SAF that are assigned to handle this initiative. These teams will then provide brief summaries that will include an overall plan of attack, what action has been taken to resolve concerns and education that has been provided to committees.
It is a good feeling to see the folks in the professional ranks of rodeo taking an aggressive action to this issue that has been gaining attention that it does not need. My hope is that things will start to get better which will make it safer for all those involved, both contestants and livestock. I was able to catch up with 2014 Barrel Racing World Champion Fallon Taylor at the 2015 WNFR and get her thoughts on this exact situation that was unfolding rapidly during the event held this last December. See what she has to say about all of this by listening to the interview below!
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