Photo of Josh Davison (aka the Cat’s Claw Cowboy), taken by Jackie Jensen

Lots of folks want answers to their rodeo-related questions from our Cat’s Claw Cowboy. So in this blog he talks about the rodeo season and the timeline of when it begins and ends.

Photo of Josh, taken by Jackie Jensen

Getting into Rodeo

This is a complex issue because rodeo is an ongoing tradition that never ends. Due to the incredible opportunities I was given as a kid, I know the ins and outs of rodeoing at all levels and during all the seasons. At the age of 2, I got my first taste of the rodeo. It included mutton busting, dummy roping, and running a bucket barrel pattern with a stick horse. This only included local, publicly accessible rodeos and rodeos for children. Riding horses has been a part of my life since I was able to walk, and roping has been a hobby of mine ever since I was able to stand and swing a rope. Dad’s reasoning was that if we had horses, we could put them to work and play with them at the same time. These open rodeos were usually on the Fourth of July or other midsummer play days.’

Photo of Josh, taken by Jackie Jensen

Junior Rodeo

As I grew older, my siblings and I started participating in junior rodeos. In the eastern portion of the state, where we live in Montana, we had a Youth Rodeo Association. Peewees (grades 4–9), Juniors (grades 10–8), and Seniors (grades 9–12) were all represented. This relationship began during the high school rodeo season and ran concurrently with it. Beginning on the second weekend of August and continuing through the first weekend of October, this season would run practically every weekend.

There was a good chance that it would be swelteringly hot at certain rodeos, that it would rain or snow over the Labor Day weekend, and that it could snow and blow by the time October rolled around. This only occurred during the fall season. During the spring, it would begin around the third weekend of March and continue each weekend until Memorial Day. The event would run until the holiday. After all those years and rodeos, I have a lot of wonderful memories to look back on.

The junior high rodeo association was just getting started when I hit 7th grade, and it was all on the western side of the state, so I didn’t participate. Now this season runs right along with the high school association, with national finals at the end of June.

Montana high school rodeo ran from August to mid-October, March to mid-June, with a national finals week in July.

Photo of Josh, taken by Sharon Moore (MC Lonesome Dove Western Photography)

On to College

As I grew older and went to college on a full-ride scholarship, I started off rodeoing in the Central Rocky Region, which covers Wyoming and Colorado as well as Chadron, Each region hosted ten rodeos, culminating in the college national finals in June. We had 5 in the fall and 5 in the spring. Of course, these were during the school year, and most of the rodeos fell in September and April. When I graduated with associates, I went to the Grand Canyon Region, and we’d have 3 in the fall and 7 in the spring, but the limit was 10 to keep every region on a level playing field.

When I grew older, opportunities increased exponentially. Most states or regions have open rodeo associations where you can enter as young as high school or as old as you are brave enough. These seasons usually run in the summertime, or in the south, from February through November.

Photo of Josh, taken by Sharon Moore (MC Lonesome Dove Western Photography)

ProRodeo Time

When I turned 19, I bought my PRCA permit, and the ProRodeo season never seems to end. The official rodeo year is October 1 through September 31. Most guys that rodeo hard will take most of October and November off due to preparing for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, which is the Super Bowl for ProRodeo. This is mostly because from October through December, there are only a couple rodeos in the nation going on each weekend, and it’s been a marathon sprint since April. After the NFR and Christmas, January is when cowboys really start hitting the road again, hoping to cash checks at the big winter rodeos and set themselves up with good qualifications for the summer run.


In conclusion, once you turn 18 and can buy your PRCA permit, rodeo never ends; there is no off-season except for the season and limits you put on yourself. I hope this helped answer your questions about the rodeo seasons begin and end.

What additional questions about rodeo do you have for Josh, the Cat’s Claw Cowboy? Our Head Cat Collector will forward your messages to him if you send them to Those interested in reading more about fencing, gardening, rodeo, and so much more should check out our other blogs. And don’t forget to visit Cat’s Claw Fasteners and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!

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