The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo -- aka Rodeo Houston -- may be one of the biggest and richest rodeos in the world, but it's no longer sanctioned by PRCA, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Is that important?  Rodeo Houston's managers and sponsors don't think it is.

Most of rodeo's stars are PRCA cowboys.  Rodeo Houston VP Leroy Shafer  acknowledges that losing PRCA sanction means the money they win in Houston won't count in their PRCA world rankings, which can guarantee them a slot in the National Finals Rodeo.

Some rodeo stars are unhappy and conflicted about that, but Shafer says he's not worried.  Rodeo Houston has grown so big and profitable for cowboys it doesn't need PRCA sanction anymore.

It may not be a PRCA rodeo anymore, but it's far from amateur.  It's invitational now, and with more than $1.5 million up for grabs in the Super Series, there's still plenty of reason for the cowboys to accept its invite, whether it helps their PRCA standing or not.

Shafer's not sure what the future holds for Rodeo Houston's relationship with PRCA, and he's not sure they even care.  He's already signed a deal with Fox Sports to air the Super Series finals and Super Shootout, and bigger plans are in the works.

Losing PRCA sanction means pro cowboys who come to Houston will be competing, and possibly being injured, in a meaningless event that might make them some money but it won't help their world ranking.  That's a bit like pro football and baseball players taking a chance on being injured in the equally meaningless NFL Pro Bowl, or MLB All-Star Game.