In 1976, five people gathered to put a concept to reality. They united several regional Indian Rodeo Associations from the U.S. and Canada to form the Indian National Finals Rodeo Inc. (INFR). Champion Indian cowboys and cowgirls came together at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, UT to compete against each other in the first ever Indian National Finals Rodeo.
Almost every child dreams of being a cowboy or cowgirl, for most, the romantic notion remains a fantasy. But for a lucky few, the dream turns to reality when those kids grow up to be members of the Indian National Finals Rodeo. Sanctioning nearly 700 rodeos nationwide and offering annual prize money exceeding over million dollars the INFR is, by far, the largest and the oldest Indian Rodeo Organization in the world. The INFR also works with a variety of youth rodeo associations as well the National High School Rodeo Association and the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, creating a natural progression for the athletes climbing from the ranks of youth and college rodeo to professional rodeo.
The INFR currently has 11 Regions within the United States and Canada with members ranging from 8 years of age to 80. Indian Pro Rodeo is one of the only sporting events where children can compete with their parents and grand parents.
The desire of the contestants to compete for points at the Regional & Tour rodeos and a shot at a World Championship is overwhelming. Both the INFR and the members of the INFR are proud of the tremendous success the INFR has had for over 35 years.
Contestants compete for over $1,000,000 in prize money and awards throughout the year, which culminates with the Indian National Finals Rodeo, where 350+ qualified contestants compete in the 8 major events. There were 75 Tribes represented at this year’s event. The majority of the INFR members are also members of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).
The INFR has been in existence since 1976. The INFR Commission has taken steps to increase the awareness and preservation of the INFR for the Professional Indian Cowboys and Cowgirls. Another key component that has been implemented is the INFR Scholarship Program. Since 2005, the INFR has provided over $50,000 in scholarship assistance to members of the organization, and take pride in seeing the INFR Cowboys and Cowgirls achieve their educational goals.
In 2006 the INFR Commission added the INFR Tour consept as a way to qualify to the INFR. Contestants travel thousands of miles to attend tour rodeos to get the points needed to qualify for the INFR. Entries at the tour rodeos vary based on the added purse money. We had over 400 entries at one tour rodeo that had an added purse of $10,000 in each event. Where we had 180 entries for a rodeo that had $2000 added. With respect to each rodeo, all the tour rodeos are a big success.
In 2010 the INFR Commission added Jr and Sr events to the finals. This would help us protect the future of Indian Rodeo as well as allow us to pay respect to our elder cowboys and cowgirls. To date the Jr/Sr finals have been a huge success.
Planning is currently underway to expand the publicity of the INFR and tour rodeos with various media, radio stations, and television production companies. In the near future you will see more positive changes in the INFR as we revitalize the organization built on our successes. The INFR Commissioners, staff, and members are looking forward to continued success with the INFR and Professional Indian Rodeo.