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Who is the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association?

The Background of PAFRA’s Name

by Rob Shilaikis

This year will mark 23 years the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association (PAFRA) has been around. We celebrated 20 years in existence in 2021 by bringing back the founding members. During the general membership meeting a member questioned PAFRA’s naming asking where “professional” came from when it is mostly a novice rodeo association. I remember looking at JB Burns, Steve Supachana, and Virgil Eddleman when the question was posed and instantly it brought me back to Clovis, New Mexico in 1999. At the time JB, Steve, and I were active-duty Air Force stationed at Cannon Air Force Base and Virgil was a retired Army Vietnam veteran living in Claude, Texas.

JB Burns, Steve Supachana, and Virgil Eddleman founded the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association. Courtesy Photo.

JB was the catalyst behind the creation of our new military rodeo association all those years ago and chose us three to make his vision come true. All of us being senior enlisted having spent time down range in various war zones wanted something new catering to the military member and their families to compete in the rodeo arena. Our number one mission statement was to “never leave anyone behind.” Those words are engrained in every military member who signed a contract to protect and defend our Nation.

I remember the four of us going round and round over the perfect name for the new association. Just like all brothers in arms, no slack was taken on each proposal. From genuine discussion to casual ribbing to almost knock-down drag outs trying to come up with a true and meaningful name eventually happened over the course of several days. I floated the name asking the now cranky military cowboys, “what about the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association?”

Courtesy Photo

Right away the same conversation started with we are more a novice rodeo association with a handful of professional athletes. So, I stated my case telling them they were right, but I was relating it to something more. I explained the word professional comes from each of our military backgrounds. All of us who will be associated with this new organization are truly professionals in each of the military professions we represent. We have been a strong Nation because of those who chose the military, to protect the things that matter to us, and genuinely believe in the documents our forefathers memorialized for our country and becoming the United States in 1776. The more we discussed it the more it made sense and we finally agreed on a name that truly represented each of us individually and as an association.

So, with grins on our faces during the 20th PAFRA World Championship Rodeo membership meeting we explained our methodology of why “professional” was so important to us at the end of the day to truly define our association. For more information, visit

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