Have you always wanted to attend the NFR but couldn’t quite make it down to Vegas? Now you can enjoy the next best thing, without even leaving town! The Elite Rodeo Athletes tour is coming to Salt Lake this week, with events taking place both Friday, April 8 and Saturday, April 9 at the Maverik Center in West Valley.
This will be the third tour stop for the ERA (Elite Rodeo Athletes, League of Rodeo Champions) as they tour the U.S. The 2016 rodeo marks the organization’s inaugural tour, featuring 87 of the world’s top rodeo athletes. Local rodeo fans will want to watch for Spanish Fork’s Kaycee Feild, a four-time World Champion bareback rider.
The exciting, non-stop rodeo action includes the ever-popular fan favorites bull riding and barrel racing, along with other tradition events; bareback riding, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping.
While tickets went on sale at the end of February, there are still some available to the public, with prices starting around $20 and ranging up to $80, according to the SmithTix website. Note that ticket prices do increase by $2 each on the day of the event.
Additional information about the event can be viewed at SmithTix as well. From the SmithTix website, “We are excited to be hosting such an elite event where the biggest names in rodeo will compete. Elite Rodeo Athletes proves that professional sports and family friendly entertainment can come together under one roof. This ERA event will exemplify the high quality entertainment that we strive to bring to our community,” said Maverik Center General Manager, Kevin Bruder. Special deals are available for kids’ tickets and family discounts; Friday night’s performance offers an Opening Night Family Deal with half price tickets for kids 12 & under. Saturday night features a $5 off discount on select seats for children age 12 & under with the purchase of each adult ticket.
The SmithTix article also mentions that, “[The] ERA was created for the fans – founded by the top pro rodeo athletes from across the globe – including Spanish Fork native bareback rider Kaycee Field. When asked how he felt about Salt Lake City being chosen as a host city for the ERA’s inaugural tour he said, “I can’t wait for the Salt Lake City tour stop! When I compete in front of a hometown crowd it gives me a little added pressure, which is great for my riding. The Utah rodeo fans are really great, it is going to be incredible to hear how loud that place gets if I ride well. I love the Maverick Center because it is tight quarters and you will be right on top of the action… and there won’t be a bad seat in the building.”
This is a big-money event for the rodeo stars, with payouts estimated to exceed $100,000 per night. Spectators may even get an opportunity to meet and greet this group of talented cowboys and cowgirls. Local saddle bronc heroes Jesse and Spencer Wright will be on hand to sign autographs. Watch for 23-time World Champion Cowboy, Trevor Brazile; champion Barrel Racer, Charmayne James who, along with her super-star horse ‘Scamper’ captured 9 consecutive NFR titles, 5-time World Champion Steer Wrestler, Luke Branquinho and the ever-popular World Champion Calf Roper, Tuf Cooper. Also competing with be Fred Whitfield, an 9-time World Champion Calf Roper, and NFR Champion Barrel Racer, Fallon Taylor.
Each night’s performances at the Maverik Center will begin at 7:30 p.m., but be sure to show up well ahead of time if you want to get an autograph during the pre-show meet and greet with ERA athletes in the arena.
FOX Sports will be airing some of the action as well, for those who are unable to attend in person. See the Maverik Center website for simple directions to the venue.