OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The 49TH Annual International Finals Rodeo, presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores, returns to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma January 18-20, 2019. Rodeo fans will have the chance to watch the top rodeo athletes in the International Professional Rodeo Association from the U.S., Canada and Australia, all vie for world championship titles in the eight action-packed events including: bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping and cowgirls breakaway roping.
The action will kick-off at the Jim Norick Arena for IFR49 with the most physically demanding event in rodeo: bareback riding. Pennsylvania bareback rider Tyler Waltz is heading into finals with a 10,000 dollar lead. Hot on his heels, is the Centeral Region's 2017 bareback champion Joseph Courville.
Reigning All-Around World Champion, Justin Thigpen, has been dominating the standings this year. Thigpen is taking the lead in not one, but two events heading into IFR 49. No stranger to the IFR arena, Thigpen is guaranteed to excite fans in the Tie-Down and Steer Wrestling events, where he holds the lead.
On the header side of Team Roping, Thigpen is a close second behind Oklahoma Rookie, Ky Kreder, who is turning steers for reigning World Champion Stephen Britnell.
It’s a tight race in rodeo's classic event, saddle bronc riding, with Travis Gardner, who finished third in the standings last year, going head-to-head with reigning Northeast Region Champion Raymond Hostetler for the title.
The Matthews trio is making history in Cowgirl's Barrel Racing, as the first family to all three compete in one event at IFR with mom, Kim, and two sisters Taycie and Jaylie, all sitting in the top 10. Taycie, reigning barrel racing Rookie of the Year, is currently in the lead, but it is a close race with former World Champion, Kindyl Scruggs at her tail.
The money is tight in the Cowgirl's Breakaway Roping. South Carolina cowgirl, Lindsey Wentworth is leading the event, but she will need to watch out for Brianna Dunbar. Both Brianna and her horse Ringo had a great finals last year when Brianna won the world and Ringo was crowned the cowgirl's breakaway horse of the year.
In the bull riding, reigning World Champion Corey Bailey has a comfortable seat, leading the event by almost $9,000, followed by Canadian Timothe Brunelle.
In addition to the great rodeo action, the week of festivities includes the Miss Rodeo USA Pageant, the Gold Buckle Gala, a fundraising Women's Luncheon, committee seminars, a judging clinic, as well as the Simon Bucking Stock Sale at the Lazy E in Guthrie, Oklahoma, Jan. 17-18, 2019. As a component of the Contract Acts Showcase competition, the protection match for bullfighters and barrel men will be held in conjunction with the bucking stock sale. Fans can also see the other many great personnel talent entertaining fans and competition for top honors at the Contract Acts Showcase at the Oklahoma State Fair Arena, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.
Not only can fans catch some of the best rodeo talent, they will also find the best rodeo and western fashion at the IFR Trade Show held in the arena concourse prior to each rodeo performance. Vendors range from horse tack to western wear and apparel.
Little cowboys and cowgirls can join in on the rodeo action during the OG&E Kids Day prior to the Championship Sunday performance of IFR49, Jan. 20, 2019 where rodeo's youngest fans have the opportunity to interact with our rodeo athletes, play games and experience the best of the west.
IFR Weekend will kick-off at The Weekend (4000 W Reno Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73107), home of the official IFR after party, Thursday night, where contestants will be meeting fans and signing autographs from 9p-11p. Bring your IFR49 ticket every night and get in FREE!
Without a doubt, it will be a weekend full of intense competition in the arena that rodeo fans wouldn't want to miss at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds come January.
The International Professional Rodeo Association, with the generous support of our sponsors, is proud to entertain fans and grow the sport of rodeo in America and beyond. Join us in Oklahoma City January 18-20 for IFR49 where world champions will be crowned!
For more information, visit IFRodeo.com or IPRARodeo.com
For tickets call: (405) 948-6800 or go to www.okstatefair.com
The International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) has been providing rodeo excitement for more than 50 years. From big cities to small towns, from major league stadiums to portable arenas, the IPRA is the sport’s second largest professional rodeo association sanctioning nearly 300 rodeos. The IPRA is keeping the spirit of the west alive from coast to coast throughout the United States and Canada.
The International Finals Rodeo is the premier display of the top rodeo cowboys and cowgirls of the International Professional Rodeo Association. The IFR offers more than $250,000 in cash and prizes. Four action packed performances of the IFR are held every January inside the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City, OK where the year-end World Champions are crowned for each event. Click the links below to meet the reigning World Champions, the IFR Average Winners and the IPRA’s past champions.
IPRA Contact: Heather Blankenship