Hi Ronni, I can't remember what the price of an FCA card is, I haven't gone that association for a long time, but maybe somebody else could help you with that.
As far as how tough you need to be, I wouldn't worry about it. It is a good place to start with your horse, and it helps get all the jitters out when you run against people that aren't there to judge you, just help you out if you need it. The girls that run FCA and the other associations I listed are tough, and do put together awesome runs, however they are very helpful to new comers, and welcome them at their rodeos. I always look at it, "More the Merrier!"
I started going to rodeos in 1994, I was 14. I ran CAARA, LRA, WRA, FCA, and NRA running in the juniors, and then graduating to the Ladies. I also went to the HighSchool Rodeos. I started going to the pro rodeos on my full card in 2000. I was very lucky to have such encouraging parents that hauled my brother and I to all of our rodeos.
Quote: If you don't make mistakes, you don't make anything.