It’s Time for Rodeo Carolina 2023…Here’s What You Need to Know

The full scoop on the richest rodeo east of the Mississippi: Rodeo Carolina.
Sable Emerson comptes in barrel racing in Corpus Christi.
Sable Emerson and Baby Im Famous won the second progressive performance in Corpus Christi. Image courtesy WCRA by Bull Stock Media.

The richest rodeo east of the Mississippi River officially kicks off Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, with the Qualifying Round of WCRA Rodeo Carolina. Paying out over $400,000, Rodeo Carolina also marks the final stop of the 2023 Reliance Ranches VRQ Champion bonus program AND the last stop of the 2023 Triple Crown of Rodeo series.


Up to 36 barrel racers from the WCRA Segment RNC23 Leaderboard qualify . The top six Segment RNC23 Leaderboard athletes are seeded into the Progressive Rounds at no entry fee. If a seeded athlete choses to enter and participate in the Qualifying Rounds for payout and World Points they will be required to pay the entry fee. 

Athletes are required to have a minimum of fifteen (15) VRQ points on the WCRA Segment RNC23 Leaderboard in a discipline to be eligible to enter WCRA Rodeo Carolina.

Where? When?

The inaugural Rodeo Carolina will be hosted at the world-famous Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort in Mill Spring, North Carolina, October 5-8, 2023. 

Thursday, Oct. 5Qualifying Round + Buy Back Round4 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 6Progressive Round 17:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7CEAT DY Showcase Performance11 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7Progressive Round 27:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 8Triple Crown of Rodeo Performance1:30 p.m. 

View the full schedule HERE.

What’s the payout?

The barrel racing will pay out $45,200 over the course of the event with a grand prize of $15,000 for the winners.

What’s the format?

Barrel racers will compete in one Qualifying Round Thursday, Oct. 5, followed by the Buy Back Round. The four fastest times from the Qualifying Round advance to the Progressive Round. The top six athletes from the RNC23 Leaderboard are already seeded into the Progressive Rounds. From the Buy Back Round, the two fastest times will advance to the Progressive Round. All in all, 12 barrel racers will move on.

The Progressive Round is made up of two full rounds of competition. The first round takes place Friday, Oct. 6, with the 12 athletes competing, followed by the second round Saturday, Oct. 7. From there, the Progressive Round 1 winner, Progressive Round 2 winner and the six fastest athletes from the Progressive Rounds two-head aggregate advance to the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round. 

Eight athletes will compete Sunday, Oct. 8, in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round. The event champions will take home $15,000 and be eligible for the Triple Crown of Rodeo Bonus.

WCRA Rodeo Carolina advancement chart 2023
Here’s the advancement chart for 2023 Rodeo Carolina. Courtesy WCRA

What about the VRQ Bonus?

The Reliance Ranches VRQ Bonus is an incentive that pays out cash bonuses to the top four athletes in each discipline who earn the most points throughout the year (points are earned by nominating ProRodeos, amateur rodeos and other events with publicly verifiable results to the WCRA). This year, Rodeo Carolina is the final opportunity for competitors to earn points and secure the $25,000 prize. 

The VRQ points are earned based on the athlete’s finish in each rodeo event. The top four athletes in each discipline with the most VRQ points at the end of the year will be eligible for the bonus.

The payout for the VRQ Bonus program is as follows:

  • First Place: $25,000
  • Second Place: $10,000
  • Third Place: $7,500
  • Fourth Place: $2,500

How can I watch?

Rodeo Carolina will be live on the Cowboy Channel, Cowgirl Channel and RidePass on PlutoTV this week. All event times are EST.

Where to watch WCRA Rodeo Carolina. Courtesy WCRA
Where to watch WCRA Rodeo Carolina. Courtesy WCRA