The American changing face of rodeo

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The talk in the world of rodeo today concerns the news of RFD-TV’s The American, a one-day event that will pay $2 million on March 2 at Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium.

Randy Bernard
Randy Bernard

The announcement came during a live news conference, which featured Randy Bernard, the CEO and president of Rural Media Group; Stephen Jones, the COO and executive vice president of the Cowboys; Jim Haworth, chairman and CEO of the PBR; Dr. Robert Cluck, the mayor of Arlington, Texas; and a host of rodeo legends, including Donny Gay, Cody Lambert, Larry Mahan, Ty Murray, Fred Whitfield and two-time PBR champion Justin McBride.

The American will invite the top 10 contestants in each of the traditional rodeo events, most of which will be based on the final PRCA and WPRA world standings, decided after the conclusion of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (set for Dec. 5-14); bull riding will feature the top 10 cowboys from the PBR at the conclusion of the World Finals (set for Oct. 23-27 in Las Vegas).

RFD-TV-logoFive additional spots will be available through regional qualifiers.

This is a major play in rodeo, and the contestants look to be the grand beneficiaries, and RFD-TV will carry the event live. That’s a powerful move on the part of the network and its parent company, Rural Media Group, which last December announced Bernard’s hiring. The competition also will be carried live on Rural TV and Rural Radio on SiriusXM Channel 80.

Tuf Cooper
Tuf Cooper

“In my opinion, this has a chance to change the landscape of rodeo forever and is way overdue,” he said in a release issued Thursday.

While ProRodeo’s world standings will be in place, The American will have events sanctioned by the PBR, Pro Roughstock Series, United States Team Roping Championships, Better Barrel Racers and the Ultimate Calf Roping Series.

“The American will make a huge impact on the sport of rodeo,” Tuf Cooper, the two-time reigning tie-down roping world champion, said in the release. “The opportunity to compete at one event in one day and walk away with a possible six-figure check is huge.”


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