Cougar Cowgirl: Behind the Scenes

The cougirl cowgirl answers some not-so-common questions about drugs in the rodeo world.



There are certain guidelines for drug usage at rodeos.

JOSIE GOODRICH, Reporter/Copy Editor

This week’s special edition is about drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. Basically, the behind-the-scenes of a cowboy’s life.

Believe it or not, members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association are not required to do any sort of drug tests and do not have any sort of limitation on drugs. 

This means that any cowboy or cowgirl can do whatever drug they want to enhance their performance, but I would argue that it would not benefit them very much. Sure, the athlete could use steroids for strength, but the amount of abilities that go into rodeoing is far beyond strength.

I mean, I am around 125 lbs and 5’4. Strength is the last thing I have, and I have seemed to be doing fine.

Anyways, according to the 2022 PRCA Rule Book, there is a list of things that are considered Class III Offenses and “may be punishable by fine of no less than $250, ineligibility, suspension, suspension of PRCA privileges and/or expulsion, unless otherwise stated.”

Amongst this list includes “being under the influence of liquor and/or illicit drugs in the arena; consuming alcoholic beverages and/or illicit drugs in the arena.” 

Considering the PRCA does not conduct drug tests and does not have any sort of official list against drug use, I would say this singular rule is in effect merely for the safety of other competitors and the fact of being on live television.

If someone is sloppily drunk or drugged up, that creates a safety issue with the animals that does not really have to do with the fact of being on drugs, essentially. 

However, there are rules in place for our animal competitors. In the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, “no horse shall be ridden in competition at a WPRA-approved event if the horse has been administered a prohibited substance.” 

According to the 2023 WPRA Rule Book, a “prohibited substance” includes any drug, stimulant, depressant, tranquilizer, local anesthetic, steroid or masking drug that is not administered for good reason. 

“Good reason” would include any therapeutic measure that is for the protection of the health of the horse. According to the rule book, the WPRA recognizes that horses competing “are subject to individual therapeutic needs, which may call for legitimate therapeutic treatment near the time of competition.”

Animal drug tests are done at random, and if a horse is tested and found with prohibited substances, there has been a violation of the WPRA Equine Medications and Prohibited Substances Policy.

From there, the WPRA Equine Medications Committee will consider all of the information and either dismiss the case or penalties will be implemented. There are five classifications, Class 1 being the most severe and Class 5 being the least.

For example, a Class 1 violation states, “Any or all of the following may be assessed— Suspension of up to 1 year; fines up to a maximum of $7,500 plus the amount of winnings at the tested event. Penalty is to be determined by the WPRA Equine Medications Committee.”

I will say, based on my own opinions and experience within the rodeo world, drugs are not induced into animals for bad intentions. It is more to try and make the horse comfortable or enhance their performance safely, for example, but never to hurt the animal. 

I mean, without our animals we cannot rodeo and do what we love most, and all of us competitors realize that. 

Moving along to rock ‘n’ roll, have you ever been to a rodeo? I can confidently say, more than any other sport, rodeo has the best hype music.

Nothing gets my blood pumping more than hearing “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC or Shania Twain’s famous “Let’s Go Girls” when I enter the arena.  

Rock ‘n’  roll is a staple piece to a great rodeo playlist. Anything from “Cowboy” by Kid Rock, “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses to “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC.

I’m telling you, if you want to drink a cold one, listen to some rock ‘n’ roll and watch some cowboys and cowgirls in action, a night at the rodeo will be the best night of your life.