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Learn About Rodeo

Average Rodeo Cowboy Earnings

CLN takes a closer look at what kind of earnings a cowboy makes, so that you can determine if this is a line of work that you want to get started in.

2016 Wrangler NFR World Champions

2016 Wrangler NFR World Champions

If you have been dreaming about becoming a professional rodeo cowboy, you may be wondering how much money a professional in this line of work can actually make. Some professionals who you may know may earn a sizable income, and others may seem to be barely making it. With a closer look at the average earnings of a rodeo cowboy, you may more easily be able to determine if this is a line of work that you want to get started in.

Cody Wright

Professional or Amateur Events

CS Calgary Stampede 2014 Champs

Winners of the 2014 Calgary Stampede in Canada

It is important to note that average rodeo cowboy overall earnings can vary considerably based on skill level and skill type. Generally, cowboys who participate in rodeo events must quality at the amateur level to compete in professional events. This means that they must perform at a certain level before they can even compete for the larger prizes and awards at the professional events.

Skills are very important, and you must be able to perform well at almost every event you participate in if you want to earn a decent income or better.

The reality is that the larger majority of cowboys and cowgirls heading down the rodeo road do not make much money on a consistent basis. In fact, most are looking underneath their seats for change in order to gather enough gas money to make it to the next town.

Dirty Rodeo Cowboy

Rodeo life on the road is not for the weak hearted, it takes a lot of grit and determination (and I mean a lot). Especially when you factor in the likeliness of being injured. But that is what makes the sport of rodeo so amazing. There is no other sport on this planet that can compare. It is the Wild Wild West out there, literally. Nevertheless, Cowboy Lifestyle Network encourages everyone to find what it is that they love and follow their dreams, because that’s what we stand for.

The Number and Type of Events

It is also important to note that the type of events that you participate in as well as the number of events will also reflect on your income. Those who are a member of the (PRCA) Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the (WPRA) Women’s Professional Rodeo Association can compete in different events than those in the (CBR) Championship Bull Riding and (PBR) Professional Bull Riders. Some individuals are a member of multiple associations, and they may have skills that range from bull riding to calf roping.

Richmond Champion Check-The American

Bareback Rider, Richmond Champion, wins $1.1M at The American in 2014

More dangerous or exciting events to watch may have a higher prize or award associated with them. For example, RFD-TV’s The American event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, payout $2 Million dollars to the victors and over $500,000 in prizes last March. However, your take home pay will realistically be based on the number and type of events that you participate in regularly. The CLN, Ak-Chin Indian Community and Earnhardt Auto Road Team even witnessed rodeo cowboys and cowgirls at the 2014 Calgary Stampede win $100,000 for winning their event.

Sage Kimzey, 3X WNFR Qualifier and 2X World Champion Bull Rider

Wrangler NFR Champion Sage Kimzey becomes PRCA’s youngest millionaire

Ultimately, being a rodeo cowboy is similar to many other types of jobs. If you work hard and if you have great skills, you can earn a better income. Generally, amateur rodeo participants may earn the equivalent of a part-time income, which may be close to $10,000 to $15,000 per year while professionals may earn much more. However, there is considerable variation in this based on numerous factors. If you want to make more money than the average rodeo cowboy, it is best to develop impressive skills in a variety of events so that you can compete more frequently and with better results at each event.

Stay tuned into Cowboy Lifestyle Network for all new updates with cowboys in the sport of rodeo across the globe. Click On’ and Hang On’!

CLN Community & Event Sponsor

Living the Cowboy Lifestyle since 1988. CLN Team member since 2012. Arizona native. Corona del Sol High School, University of Arizona & SAE Alumni. Favorite Quote: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." W. Churchill

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