The CNFR is the "Rose Bowl" of college rodeo. It is where the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association crowns individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bare back riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying. National team championships are also awarded to both men's and women's teams. Over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges compete in Casper each year. Contestants compete all year in one of the NIRA's 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the CNFR.
The top three students in each event, and top two men's and women's teams from the NIRA's 11 regions will qualify for the CNFR.