Kaycee Feild has reaped life-changing rewards from big-paying rodeo
Four years ago, Resistol cowboy Kaycee Feild was going through a rough patch in his life.
“There was a time there that I wasn’t winning,” said Feild, who, at the time, was a four-time world champion bareback rider from Genola, Utah. “At home, I lost my father and was starting a business, and there were things that distracted me; it made it really hard going down the road.”
As one of the elite cowboys in all of ProRodeo, the downturn was unexpected. He didn’t compete at the National Finals Rodeo in 2016 or ’17, and he was relegated to trying to earn his big cash through a series of qualifying events for The American. It was unique for the second-generation champion, but he took to it because of the big carrot dangling at the end of The American’s hook.
In 2018, he was one of a handful of qualifiers to advance out of The American semifinals and join the 10 cowboys that had been invited based on their finish in the 2017 PRCA world standings. The event pays its winners $100,000 in each discipline, but there’s a caveat: Those that had come through the qualifying regimen are part of the $1 million side pot.
Even though he owned more gold buckles than any other bareback rider at the 2018 event at AT&T Stadium, he was eligible for that money. When he won the title, he was one of three qualifiers to do so in their respective events, so they all split the side pot while also pocketing the $100,000 first-place prize.
“The $456,000 I won at The American that year changed my life,” Field said. “What I’m able to do now with that amount of money was a true blessing. It helped me become a better bareback rider and get back to my winning ways.”
Since then, he has added two more world titles and another win inside “Jerry World” in Arlington, Texas.
It was a financial boon, but that’s the reality of The American, which is expected to pay out $3 million on its final day, Sunday, March 3. Because no qualifiers won in 2021, the side pot rolled over and is $2 million this year.
“It’s the icing on the cake and at the end is life-changing money,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer. Go jump through the hoops and get the big bucks.”
The top 10 from the 2021 world standings are invited to compete at The American. In bareback riding, that will include four other Resistol cowboys:
JESS POPE, 23, Waverly, Kansas: Pope finished second in the 2019 Resistol Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year race, then earned his first trip to the NFR in 2020; he promptly won the aggregate title and finished third in the world standings. He returned to the NFR this past December and won the average title again. He finished just behind Feild for the gold buckle.
GARRETT SHADBOLT, 25, Merriman, Nebraska: Shadbolt had a terrific run at his first NFR in December. He finished fifth in the world standings and proved why he earned the 2019 Resistol Rookie of the Year title. That year, he earned his spot in the 16-man field at The American by coming through the qualifier. While he didn’t advance beyond that point, he gained solid experience.
“The American is awesome, and it’s gong to be really fun,” Shadbolt said. “You know everybody is going to be riding their best out there. You can see it when you watch it.”
COLE REINER, 23, Kaycee, Wyoming: Reiner was presented the 2020 Resistol Rookie of the Year award at his first NFR in Arlington, Texas. He won two rounds and finished fifth in the world standings. By doing so, he earned The American invitation and finished fourth overall. Reiner returned to the NFR in 2021 and finished seventh the world standings.
CLAYTON BIGLOW, 26, Clements, California: The year 2016 was pretty big for Biglow. He won the Resistol Rookie of the Year award, then parlayed that into his first qualification to the NFR. That year, he won two go-rounds in Las Vegas. He has returned to the NFR five more times and, in 2019, set records in winning the world championship. Biglow has finished among the top five in the world standings three times. In 2020, he finished second at The American, worth $25,000.