Eliminator, 8-Second Bareback Shootout to showcase top rodeo athletes
HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The very best contestants in professional rodeo make their way to southeast Texas in the early fall every year.
Part of the attraction is the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1-Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead. It offers an outstanding purse and a great opportunity to show off the sport’s top animal athletes.
It also is home to a couple of incredible added events in the Eliminator, an eight-man tie-down roping challenge, and the 8-Second Bareback Shootout, which will feature two two-man teams of the top bareback riders in the game going head-to-head.
The Eliminator will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, while the 8-Second Bareback Shootout will be part of the Friday, Oct. 2, performance of the rodeo.
“We’re bringing together many of the top cowboys in these events to showcase them for our great crowds,” said Chad Kersh, a member of the Waller County Fair Board’s rodeo committee. “We have invited great cowboys to be part of these events this year, and I think everyone is really going to enjoy this aspect of our rodeo.”
It’s true. The Eliminator will feature the best of the best in tie-down roping, including world champions like Fred Whitfield of Hockley, Texas, and Shane Hanchey of Sulphur, La. They will be joined by Cory Solomon of Prairie View, Texas; Caleb Schmid of Bellville, Texas; Matt Shiozawa of Chubbuck, Idaho; Hunter Herrin of Apache, Okla.; Marty Yates of Stephenville, Texas; and Timber Moore of Aubrey, Texas.
“We will have several go-rounds, with all eight competing in the first round,” said Paul Shollar, co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “The slowest time in each round is eliminated, and we’ll get down to where we have the final two guys roping for the championship in the final round.”
Whitfield is an eight-time world champion, while Hanchey won the gold buckle in 2013. Of the others, Herrin and Shiozawa are heading to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the eighth time in their careers, while Moore has secured his fourth, Solomon his third, and Yates and Schmid their second. Moore also is the reigning champion of The Eliminator
Both events will feature a $10,000 purse.
“We wanted to give these guys something big to rope and ride for,” said Dustin Standley, the fair and rodeo’s sponsorship chairman. “These types of special events, in conjunction with our PRCA rodeo, gives us the opportunity to continue to state that Waller County is a rodeo community and that this is the place to be every fall.”
The 8-Second Bareback Shootout will feature homegrown cowboy Clint Cannon of Waller, Texas, and Richmond Champion of The Woodlands, Texas, riding against Will Lowe of Canyon, Texas, and Evan Jayne of Rockwall, Texas. The team with the best aggregate score will take home the lion’s share of the purse.
Cannon has secured his fifth NFR qualification, while Champion is coming off the most successful bareback riding years in 2014, in which he not only qualified for the NFR but also won $1 million at The American. Lowe, a three-time world champion, is battling for his 14th trip to Las Vegas, while Jayne, who is originally from Marseille, France, has been atop the world standings for much of the summer and has secured his first NFR qualification.
“This is an awesome way for us to showcase the kind of rodeo talent that comes to our fair and rodeo every year,” Shollar said. “Both events were a big hit last year, so we’ve expanded both of them. I know these are two events that fans are really going to love.”