Rodeo World Engulfed In Drama After Cowboy Gets Screwed Out Of $50,000

Videos by OutKick

We have major drama in the rodeo world, and people need answers – PRONTO!

And when that happens, you come to OutKick. That’s always the safest bet when it comes to disputes like these, and one longtime reader did just that late Tuesday night.

And now, after doing a little Big J deep dive, pouring through hundreds of angry comments, and watching the replay – which, you’ll learn, is a pretty big sticking point here – I’m all in. I’m invested.

I’m #TeamBeau.

Cowboy Beau Cooper penalized by PRCA.
Beau Cooper penalized and people ain’t happy.

Beau Cooper loses title after PRCA judge calls foul

So, here’s the scoop, best I can tell. I’ll be honest with you, my only prior rodeo knowledge comes from watching Jimmy nearly die in Yellowstone and then get shipped out to Texas.

And, speaking of Texas, this is where our controversy unfolded – during Sunday’s RodeoHouston. Canadian stud Beau Cooper was the last cowboy out in the championship shootout, and needed to beat Riley Webb’s 8.9-second run.

Do that, and you win $50,000. High stakes, yes, but our man Beau was up to the challenge and crushed it with a time of 8.5. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Pop the champagne!

Except, hold the phone. Beau was flagged for a broken barrier, which led to a penalty and cost him the title.

That video of the run quickly went viral and, many believe, pretty clearly shows the barrier malfunctioning. Unfortunately, a judge saw it differently, and in the rodeo world, what they say, goes.

No ifs, ands or buts about it. No instant replay. No red challenge flag. No do-overs.

It’s literally the thing we all get pissed about when we watch the NFL every week, except you can’t change the call. Can’t even look at it.

“The call was made based on the pigtail dropping to the ground at the chute, which signifies the barrier functioned properly,” Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Director of Judges Rick Smith said.

“Per PRCA rules, a judge’s decision is final and cannot be overturned by anyone.”

PRCA in hot rodeo water.
PRCA in hot water. (Photo by Jesse Beals/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Imagine if Angel Hernandez was umping Game 7 of the World Series and screwed up the final strike, which would 100% happen. That’s what we had here. Like Angel, people near and far want this judge fired into space.

Making matters worse, PRCA CEO Tom Glause came out yesterday and basically said, ‘Yep, that’s our bad. Sorry, buddy.’

“Upon reviewing the video in slow motion, it’s my opinion the barrier obviously malfunctioned. We don’t know why. With that said, the ruling stands as the PRCA Rule Book provides that the judge’s decision is final,” he said.

The good news here, however, is that there’s no precedent for this, so the PRCA at least has that to fall on …

Just kidding! Here’s video from last year, where the exact same thing happened except this time, the ruling was quickly overturned.


Not great!

Anyway, as I said earlier, people are PISSED about this latest gaffe, and are essentially lining up outside the PRCA’s virtual offices with pitchforks.

To be fair, this Facebook post from the PRCA hours after the incident didn’t really do them any favors …

Sort of respect it, too. Just completely ignoring the elephant in the room and going on like nothing happened.

It’s honestly exactly what I would do, but I’m also a nobody so I can do whatever I want and people won’t notice.

Rodeo fans furious as PRCA debates rule changes

Unfortunately for this social media intern, people did very much notice. Let’s check in with some of the comments!

Pretty sure this is the most out of touch post since the PRCA discovered social media.

The P in PRCA is SUPPOSED to mean professional. START ACTING LIKE A PROFESSIONAL association.

That’s awful ballsy lol why don’t you spit in his face in person.

And my personal favorite ..

The PRCA sounds like the current Administration!!

That’s a good one. Even the PRCA has to laugh at that one.

Now, yours truly here at OutKick DID reach out to the PRCA to ask about any possible rule changes – specifically with instant replay – that could be on the horizon, and here’s what I got back, courtesy of Steve Knowles, director of rodeo administration.

Discussions are on the horizon to pursue what it will take to implement instant replay ability. Step one is that a rule change must be proposed. Although this step is underway, proper protocols must be in place for this rule to go into effect, which can be a timely process. It is not as simple as just implementing the change without regard to how cost will affect more than 600 rodeos sanctioned by the PRCA every year.

Some PRCA rodeos have the capability of providing NFL-level replay options, while many rodeos lack the necessary budgets and accessibility to quality equipment that would provide a comparable level of replay features for every rodeo. Not to mention there are no two rodeo arenas that are identical when it comes to size and set up which makes it challenging.

The PRCA is committed to maintaining the highest standards in rodeo and will continue to make advancements wherever possible to provide the best competition environment for its contestants.

Anyway, I assume we have some cowboys and/or rodeo fans here at OutKick who, like reader Sam, are pretty pissed today?

Let me know if I’m right to be #TeamBeau on this one or if I’m just an amateur who needs to shut his mouth and go back to watching Yellowstone.

Honestly, I’m good with either.

Email me at

PS: Jade here makes a good point, too, and even gives us a handy-dandy screenshot with an arrow. Maybe he should be the new PRCA judge when this person inevitably gets fired.

Double PS: Apparently, the rodeo community set up a GoFundMe to get Beau Cooper his $50,000, and he promptly reached out and requested any money raised on his behalf go to a college student who was recently in a terrible accident.

Bet the folks over at the PRCA feel even better, now!

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

Leave a Reply