After the Beau Cooper Incident at RodeoHouston, Let’s Look at PRCA’s Rule on Barrier Failure

A failed barrier cost Canadian tie-down roper Beau Cooper $50,000 at RodeoHouston March 19, 2023. What COULD happen, or what SHOULD have happened?
| 2 Minutes Read

When tie-down roper and 2021 Resistol Rookie of the Year Beau Cooper backed into the box in the final round of RodeoHouston, he had to best Riley Webb’s 8.9-second run to win $50,000. 

The 8.5-second run he made could have skyrocketed the 21-year-old Alberta native to the top of the 2023 PRCA world standings and give him a legitimate shot at his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification. 

Instead, Bob Tallman announced a 10-second penalty for a broken barrier, stunning Cooper and fans everywhere. 

"I don't know Beau Cooper but I sure hope they make this right. I know they can take a barrier off or put one on after the rodeo is over Ive seen them do it. So no better day than today!"


Shared 628 times in just12 hours, Corkill’s post gained traction with 238 comments—nearly all jumping on the Cooper bandwagon and advocating for an overturned call and the addition of instant replay into the PRCA. 

“The Cowboy Channel has been the best thing to EVER happen to rodeo and they are about to cause ‘PRO RODEO’ to make some changes,” commented 13-time NFR tie-down roper Justin Maass, who retired from full-time competition in 2013 but has remained active in mentoring and supporting PRCA contestants. “Those of us that lived it know missed calls are part of it but now everyone sees it. I may buy my card back just to make a rule proposal. However, they have made up rules as they go for years so they need to make one now.”

PRCA tie-down roping contestant director Shane Hanchey commented as well, providing an insider’s look to the call. 

Jade Corkill if you knew him you’d love him like we all do,” World Champion Hanchey said. “What’s right is right. And this was a bad call. We don’t see them as obvious in our event as you guys do from time to time. This one hurts. It hurts bad. The judge could’ve made it right. He had the chance. But instead chose to look beau in the eye and tell him that he’ll be able to sleep tonight knowing he didn’t make the wrong call.” has reached out to PRCA leadership for comment on this issue, and we’ll await response. In the meantime, here is the PRCA’s 2023 Rulebook’s explanation regarding what is supposed to happen when the barrier system fails: 


R10.3.5 Barrier Failure. If barrier fails to work but the flag operates correctly and time is recorded, contestant or team will receive that time. Barrier penalty will be waived unless barrier is obviously beaten by contestant.

“He got hosed,” Hanchey added via text this morning. “The neck rope pulled off the calf but the barrier never released. He shouldn’t have got the plus 10 he should’ve won RodeoHouston.”

Cooper commented on Corkill’s post Sunday evening, lamenting the loss of that winning feeling after throwing his hands in the air: 

"Thanks everyone I appreciate everyone of you for being behind me, pretty cool to know that there was this many people that were pulling for me. Biggest moment of my rodeo career. Wish the feeling of throwing my hands in the air knowing I won it was a little different. That’s something I’ll never get back."

This is a developing story, and will update it as more information becomes available.


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