As long as he can remember, Tom Glause wanted to be a cowboy.
“I tell everybody I’m a cowboy at heart and a lawyer by trade,” the new CEO of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association told Cowboy State Daily. “And this is really the culmination of a lifelong dream — to be able to lead the organization that I grew up admiring and competing in.”
Glause, a longtime Wyoming resident, joined the PRCA staff in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as chief operating officer and director of rodeo administration in May of 2015, but stepped into the association’s top spot in August of this year as the interim head. He was officially announced as the new chief executive officer just last week.
Prior to his stint at the PRCA, he had served as Wyoming’s insurance commissioner under Wyoming Govs. Matthew Mead and Mark Gordon.
But Glause’s roots are in rodeo. He attended Casper College and the University of Wyoming on rodeo scholarships as a saddle bronc rider. He is a current PRCA “Gold Card” member — a privilege reserved for 10-year PRCA members age 50 or over — and was previously a PRCA contestant.
He also served as president of the PRCA’s Mountain States Circuit for six years and has served on the board of directors for Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Because of his long experience with the organization, Glause said he is aware of the challenges facing the PRCA.
“COVID has caused us to rethink the way we view the world, the way we view our ideals, our ideas, our thoughts and our passion,” he said. “It presented challenges, but I think that the PRCA met those challenges head on.”
According to Glause, the organization lost about 15% of its members due to COVID, but gained about half of that back this year. And where other sports had to cancel events, rodeos did not see such a major impact.
“We had about 300 events last year,” he said, “and we’re over double that this year – we’re almost back to 2019 level. So we will look forward to getting back to where we were in 2019 and then growing from there.”
Rodeo is a family affair for Glause. His son Seth Glause is a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifying bull rider, and currently the head rodeo coach at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. He was named Central Rocky Mountain Region Coach of the Year for 2021.
So for the Glause family, as for many in Wyoming, rodeo is much more than just a sport — it’s a lifestyle.
“We live this every day, we practice our trades, and then we get to come to the competition,” Glause said, praising the volunteers, the cowboys and cowgirls and the contractors who make rodeos possible.
“It takes many, many people to put on a rodeo,” he said. “You have the contestants, you have the stock contractors, you have contract personnel, you have the communities, but you also need the sponsors and the fans.”
An exciting aspect to Glause’s new position at the PRCA is a new partnership with the Cowboy Channel.
“We have the ability now through Patrick Gottsch and the Cowboy Channel to really showcase our sport to the world, and our lifestyle,” Glause said. “And the public really relates to the Western lifestyle right now — so we’re excited for the new frontier that lies ahead that we’re able to tap through television.”
As a longtime Wyoming resident, Glause is honored to represent the long-standing tradition of Wyoming cowboys in the PRCA.
“There are so many great cowboys in Wyoming, that the list goes on and on and on,” he said. “And I want to thank Governor Gordon, Governor Mead, Director of Travel and Tourism Diane Shober, and the Legislature for getting behind rodeo and in supporting our athletes from Wyoming.”
Glause’s focus right now is on the National Finals event coming up in December in Las Vegas.
“All lights are green for the NFR,” he said. “We’re excited to be back in Vegas and looking forward to another great rodeo this year.”