What makes something an original? Is it that it’s better than an alternative? That it’s been around longer than the rest? Whichever way you measure it, Wrangler® jeans, by any definition, is the western original.
Authenticity and heritage aren’t born overnight; it is cultivated over time; layered with beliefs and values that have been passed down over generations; sewn in stories of the great American west.
The jeans and shirts of today were designed by some of the greatest cowboys to ever live – rodeo icons like Jim Shoulders, Freckles Brown and Bill Linderman. Western brands have come and gone, but Wrangler has stood the test of time. Honoring its roots as a truly western brand, Wrangler is the proud sponsor, and official jeans and shirts, of some of the industry’s top organizations, including the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), Professional Bull Riders (PBR) and American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Wrangler is the real deal. An icon.
In fact, Wrangler and the PRCA hold one of the longest running partnership deals in the history of sports; it is a relationship that spans 70 years, beginning in 1947 when the denim brand was established. In 2001, the Wrangler-PRCA relationship went one step further; the two organizations finalized a deal that brought the sport its first title sponsor of the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). The landmark agreement officially changed the name of the sport’s pinnacle rodeo to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR), which is now held in Las Vegas, Nevada every December.
In addition to its sponsor relationships, Wrangler has heavily invested in giving back to the rodeo and western community. The lifestyle denim brand has successfully founded or co-founded organizations that give back. For example, Wrangler has been an integral part of the Wrangler Tough Enough to Wear Pink™ and Wrangler National Patriot programs. Both initiatives were founded to bring awareness to critical issues, and raise funds to support those in need.
In 2013, Wrangler went one step further to preserve the cowboy lifestyle by launching the Wrangler Network. Wrangler has a unique, deep-rooted connection with rodeo fans, and wanted to amplify the western way of life for people around the world as only the leading western brand could. The Wrangler Network is now the undisputed leader in rodeo and country music content; marquee live events include the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, San Antonio Rodeo, Calgary Stampede, Cheyenne Frontier Days, Pendleton Round-Up and live monthly performances from Acme Feed + Seed in Nashville.
Each year in early December, the world’s top 15 cowboys and cowgirls in each event go deep into the desert to compete in a grueling 10-day competition that has popularly become known as “the Super Bowl of rodeo.” Like the rodeo legends before them, today’s Wrangler cowboys and cowgirls are the best the sport of rodeo has to offer. In 2017, it was no surprise that Team Wrangler reigned supreme. Out of the seven competitions at this year’s WNFR, four events featured a Wrangler world champion. Those athletes included:
Sage Kimzey – Bull Riding:
Sage Kimzey holds the 2014, 2015, 2016, and, now the 2017, title for PRCA world champion bull rider. The 22-year old has now won four straight world titles making him a living rodeo legend. Kimzey entered the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as the number one bull rider at the conclusion of the regular PRCA season, following his 2017 WNFR performance, he is the only bull rider to break the $400,000 mark in a single season.
Ryder Wright – Saddle Bronc Riding:
Ryder Wright became a bronc riding sensation at the 2016 WNFR and continued the Wright family legacy into 2017. Although it was only his second time competing on rodeo’s biggest stage, Ryder entered the Thomas & Mack Arena like a true veteran. The saddle bronc pedigree runs deep, as he is now the fourth Wright family member to win a gold buckle.
Nellie Miller – Barrel Racing:
After taking a few years off from the rodeo world, Nellie Miller made a grand re-entrance to the sport with her American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Horse of the Year, Sister. Miller and Sister competed in less than 50 rodeos in 2017, ranking number three in the world heading into the 2017 Wrangler NFR. When the dust settled in Las Vegas on December 16, Miller and Sister had outlasted the competition, winning the 2017 world championship.
Marcos Costa – Tie-Down Roping:
Originally from Brazil, Marcus Costa traveled 1,000 miles from his home to find a new home in Texas, with world champion tie-down roper, Stran Smith. After years of mentorship, Costa finished his best rodeo season yet. With friends and family in the stands cheering him on at the 2017 Wrangler NFR, Costa won the WNFR average and world title.