This is a rarity—A gripe and a solution.
The Cowboy Channel Plus has taken rodeo to a whole new level. Maybe it’s time for the NFR to be elevated also. I feel that the following line of reasoning behooves the PRCA to up their game.
The Bear Creek Brainwave
About Round 7 or 8, my old buddy from the Dry Deuce Ranch on Bear Creek south of Piapot, Saskatchewan, phoned me. He said his wife had told him she didn’t want to watch the NFR anymore because it’s so ‘predictable.’ (You know who will be gifted and who will be docked.) That got him thinking, and he came up with a solution that would take the NFR into this century. (It’s been the same way since 1959.)
He said, “The National Hockey League wouldn’t play a seven-game series for the Stanley Cup using the same officials night after night.”
Then he pointed out, “Major League Baseball doesn’t play the World Series with the same guy standing behind the plate calling balls and strikes for seven games.” (Umpire’s strike zones vary in size and location.)
He said, “The PRCA approves close to 30 rodeos a weekend in July and August. To do that they must have nearly 100 approved judges.” Then he asked, “Are they telling me that there’s only a handful that are good enough to determine the champions?” Yet, the PRCA uses the same judges (with their likes or dislikes) for ten consecutive rounds at the National Finals Rodeo.
He suggested using three sets of four-man crews for the riding events. ‘Crew A’ does rounds 1, 4 and 7. ‘Crew B’ judges rounds 2, 5 and 8. ‘Crew C’ works rounds 3, 6 and 9.
At the end of Round 9, the roughstock contestants get to vote for the All-Star Judges. You could end up with one judge from Crew ‘A’, another from Crew ‘B’ and two from Crew ‘C’ or any other combination. The All-Stars get the distinct honour of judging Round 10 (another payday for them.)
I ran this by another rancher friend (different coulee). He added, “Throw the National Football League into it, too. Some refs call more pass interference penalties than others; some are heavy on the roughing the passer calls. But throughout the season, regardless of their tolerance level, the key is to be consistent (each team equal) to be selected to work the playoffs and come playoff time, they’re trying to earn the right to officiate the Super Bowl game.”
That friends, is how to eliminate the ‘predictable’ and keep the television ratings climbing.