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Although rodeo has a history that is several centuries old, the National Finals Rodeo has a more recent history. However, it is important to know what exactly NFR is before discussing its origin. Also referred to as the Super Bowl of rodeo, NFR is rodeo competition held each year hosted by Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. It runs for ten days during the first week of December at Thomas and Mack Center (University of Nevada, Las Vegas).
The event is held to display the skills of the top 15 winners of each of the rodeo events and who happen to be competing for the World All-Round Champion Cowboy title during the event. To earn the title, one has to have earned the highest amount of money by the end of the NFR and competed in more than one event throughout the year. Average winners for each event are also crowned. There are several events that are part of NFR include bull riding, team roping, barrel racing, bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and calf roping. Team roping is divided into two namely headers where cowboys rope steer’s head and the heelers where cowboys rope steer’s hind legs.
The History of the National Finals Rodeo
How did the National Finals Rodeo come to be? How did it all start? Professional Rodeo Cowboys established the competitions in 1958 with the sole purpose of determining the world champion of each of the seven major rodeo events previously mentioned. The first NFR was held in 1959 at the Dallas State Fair Grounds. Like any other annual events, the National Final Rodeos has encountered significant changes since including a name change to Wrangler’s National Finals Rodeo (2001).
The main idea being to bring together the world’s best rodeo cowboys and animals, NFR certainly managed to do just that. It is no wonder, therefore, that some of the most famous cowboys have competed in these events. Some of them include Tibbs, Dean Oliver, Jim Shoulders, Jack Buschbom and Jim Bynum. Despite not knowing what they were getting into, these competitions shaped their careers. For instance, Jim Shoulders is still considered one of the most successful Cowboys. With 16 world titles to his name, and having walked away with ,000 prize money in 1959 after being placed in 6 bull-riding rounds, it is easy to see why many rodeo fans adore him. In 1979, he was also honored in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, where he was placed sixth in the ranks.
Tibbs also made major achievements during his time in NFR. For one, he is remembered for being the first cowboy to make it into the media. He was also honored in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Among the honors he had, being depicted as a Museum’s signature statue was probably the best one. The statue is named Necktie, and it is a 20-foot statue of him riding a bronc. Jack Buschbom is remembered for constantly claiming the NFR average crown in bareback riding and the world title. His name also made it to the Hall of Fame in 1979.
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