Top 10 Richest Rodeo Cowboys
Rodeo cowboys are some of the most daring athletes in the world. They put their bodies at tremendous risk, and the various rodeo disciplines require a truly wide-ranging set of skills. As such, some rodeo cowboys have managed to make quite a bit of money from their professional rodeo careers. Listed below are the cowboys with the highest career earnings from rodeo.
Who Are the Richest Rodeo Cowboys of All Time?
- Trevor Brazile
- Clay O’Brien Cooper
- Cody Ohl
- Kaycee Feild
- Fred Whitfield
- Tuf Cooper
- Joe Beaver
- Clay Tryan
- Billy Etbauer
- Rich Skelton
1. Trevor Brazile
Trevor Brazile is one of the most talented rodeo cowboys of all time and has earned a record $6.94 million from the professional rodeo circuit. Brazile is the record-holder for most PRCA world championships with 26, his most recent title win being in 2020. The primary events that Brazile competes in are steer roping, tie-down roping, and team roping. He has won the steer roping world championship eight times. Having earned such a massive sum of money from professional rodeo, it’s unlikely that anyone will pass Brazile any time soon.
2. Clay O’Brien Cooper
As one of the best team ropers of all time, Clay O’Brien Cooper used his incredible rodeo skills to amass a whopping $3.95 million over the course of his professional career. O’Brien Cooper’s best event was team roping, in which he was a heeler. He won the world championship for team roping seven times and took home the team roping title from the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) four times. O’Brien Cooper started roping at the young age of six and joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) when he was just 18. He is a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
3. Cody Ohl
Since joining the PRCA in 1994, Cody Ohl has earned $3.5 million from professional rodeo events. In Ohl’s first year in professional rodeo, he took home the Rookie of the Year award for both the tie-down roping category, and overall. He’s won six world championships, five of which were in tie-down roping, but he won the All-Around title in 2001, which is given to the most well-rounded cowboy of each year. Ohl also has four NFR titles, three of them in tie-down roping and one all-around title. He’s also a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
4. Kaycee Feild
Kaycee Feild’s career as a professional cowboy has taken him to many championships, and his career earnings are $3.3 million. Field competes in the bareback riding division of rodeo. Since he got his start in professional rodeo, Feild has won six world titles, and he even won four in a row between 2011 and 2014. Feild continues to grow his career earnings, as he won $316,490 just in 2022. Seeing as he’s still at the top of his game entering the 2023 season, Feild figures to make a run at becoming one of the richest cowboys of all time.
5. Fred Whitfield
Fred Whitfield was one of the most legendary tie-down ropers ever to compete in professional rodeo and his talents earned him a total of $3.3 million over the course of his long career. Whitfield joined the PRCA in 1990 and won the world championship for tie-down roping a year later in 1991. He won a total of eight world championships, one of which was the All-Around title in 1999. He also won four NFR titles in tie-down roping and qualified for the NFR a total of 20 times. Whitfield was welcomed into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2004.
6. Tuf Cooper
Over the course of his highly successful career in rodeo, Tuf Cooper has earned $3.2 million. He is one of only a handful of cowboys who have reached the prestigious three million club. Cooper’s main event is tie-down roping, for which he’s won the world championship four times. As for the NFR, he’s competed 14 times, and was able to take home the win in two of those appearances. In 2022 alone, Cooper earned $168,892, which pushed him further into the three million club. Upon his retirement, there’s little doubt that he’ll go down as one of the best tie-down ropers of all time.
7. Joe Beaver
Joe Beaver has earned a total of $3.1 million during his career in professional rodeo. Beaver joined the PRCA in 1985 when he was just 20 years old. In his debut season, he won the world championship for tie-down roping and was named the Rookie of the Year in that category and overall. Over the course of his long career, Beaver has won three all-around world championships along with five tie-down world championships. He’s qualified for the NFR in 22 seasons. His ceaseless consistency earned him a coveted spot in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2000.
8. Clay Tryan
As a result of his talents in professional rodeo, Clay Tryan has won $3 million in career earnings from competition. Tryan’s specialty is team roping, and has been one of the most successful people to compete in the discipline. The three million club is a huge milestone for professional cowboys, and it’s even rarer to see team ropers reach that mark. However, Tryan is no normal cowboy. He’s qualified for the NFR 20 times, having only missed two years between 2001 and 2022. Tryan has won three world championships, all of which have been in the team roping division. And seeing as he’s still competing at a very high level, Tryan’s career earnings will only go up from here.
9. Billy Etbauer
By the end of his lengthy career in professional rodeo, Billy Etbauer amassed a total career earnings of $3 million. Etbauer didn’t compete in roping events, but rather in saddle bronc riding. He was known for having a reckless style which was quite a sight to behold at rodeos. Etbauer joined the PRCA in 1988 and won five world championships in his discipline. He qualified for the NFR in 21 different seasons, and of those 21 appearances, he managed to take home two championships. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2012.
10. Rich Skelton
Rich Skelton is another truly legendary team roper who has taken home a number of championships and contest wins, earning him a total of $3 million. Over his professional rodeo career, Skelton holds a total of eight world championships, all of which are in the team roping discipline. Out of his 22 qualifications to the NFR, he won the championship once in 2001 but got close several other times. Skelton finished within the top 15 of the all-around world championship rankings for eight straight years. And as a result of that excellence and consistency, he was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2018.
Who is the richest rodeo cowboy in the world?
The richest rodeo cowboy in the world is Trevor Brazile. Brazile has earned a whopping $6,934,998 from his success in rodeo competitions. The amount he’s earned is nearly double that of the next-closest competitor. Brazile is one of the most talented professional cowboys of all time, and his success on the professional circuit has been truly unprecedented. It’s unlikely that anybody will catch up with Brazile in terms of total career earnings any time soon.
How much does a rodeo cowboy make?
The amount that a professional rodeo cowboy makes is entirely dependent on their skill inside the arena. Competitors are paid depending on how well they do in competition, and each competition pays different amounts. The National Finals Rodeo, which is one of the biggest and most prestigious events on the professional rodeo circuit, pays winners, on average, about $75,000. This is why some of the most talented rodeo professionals, including the likes of Trevor Brazile, are the ones who’ve earned the most over their careers.