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Future stars get chance to shine in Vegas

By Tracy Renck, PSN Staff Writer

Oct. 9, 2015 

Future stars get chance to shine in Vegas permit holder challengeRodeo stars of the future will get their opportunity to shine in the Las Vegas spotlight when they compete at the 2015 PRCA Permit Holder of the Year Challenge, presented by RAM. While current PRCA stars are competing at the Dec. 3-12 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, PRCA permit holders will have their own marquee event. The PRCA Permit Holder of the Year Challenge is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at the South Point Equestrian Center. Tickets are $12. The event will be aired on

“The Permit Holder Challenge is a very important part of the Wrangler National Finals,” said PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman. “It gives us the opportunity to acknowledge those new contestants that have participated all year and reward them for their success. They are the future of the PRCA.”

From 2009-2013, the PRCA Permit Holder of the Year Challenge/Roughstock event took place in Vegas, but the event’s format was changed in 2014 to include steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping along with bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. Each event will feature two go-rounds.

John Barnes, who is on the PRCA board as a stock contractor representative – he’s also the WNFR livestock superintendent – believes the Permit Holder of the Year Challenge is a positive and necessary step for permit holders.

“Everybody needs to have the chance to work their way up the ladder, and realize whatever level you are at you can be a winner,” Barnes said. “Everybody wants to get to Las Vegas and this is their way to get to Vegas. This is their way to see the lights and see the excitement. This also is the one time the lights are on just the permit guys; they’re not on anybody else. They get to be the stars of the show, and they’re going to be the stars of the future.”

The top five finishers in each event, based on total money won by the end of the 2015 season while competing on their permit, will be invited to compete at the PRCA Permit Holder of the Year Challenge. The total payout will be $21,000 – with rewards for five places in each event. Each qualifier also receives a $500 stipend. Contestants do not pay an entry fee and will also compete for various other prizes.

A year ago, saddle bronc rider Rusty Wright won the PRCA Permit Holder of the Year Challenge and said it was a memorable experience. He also gained confidence from that win and finished the 2015 regular season second in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings. So he’ll move across town to the Thomas & Mack Center to compete in his first Wrangler NFR.

“A lot of the NFR guys were there and they were back there behind the chutes helping us out, which was awesome,” Wright said. “Being in Vegas in December and getting to compete was really cool. This gives permit guys something to shoot for besides filling their cards right away and buying their rookie cards. The Permit Challenge also fueled my fire to want to be at the Thomas & Mack.”

Bull rider Derek Kolbaba is eager to compete in his first Permit Holder of the Year Challenge. Kolbaba, 19, finished first in the RAM Rodeo Permit Standings with $37,133.

Kolbaba’s season was highlighted by winning the average title at the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo in June, where he earned $7,499.

“This is an awesome event that the PRCA has put together,” Kolbaba said. “This is another way to put your name out there and show everybody what’s to come in the future. This is a great event not only for permit holders, but also the fans because they’ll get to see the up-and-comers in the sport.”

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