Several Cinch endorsees have earned their way into unique competition
The greatest stars in professional rodeo are descending upon north Texas for The American, a unique event that will pay out $3 million Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
This is unprecedented money, especially considering that the bulk of the emotions ride on the final day of the championship. It will be the culmination of dozens of qualifying events that began nearly a year ago.
What sets The American apart from most rodeos is its uncommon format. Ten contestants in each of nine disciplines have earned exemptions into the first round, based on how they finished in the 2021 PRCA world standings
The opening round takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Cowtown Coliseum in the legendary Fort Worth (Texas) Stockyards. They will be joined, primarily, by six contestants that have advanced through the series of qualifiers – the final round of the qualifying semifinals takes place Thursday, March 3, and will identify the remaining participants.
Only the top scores and times from Friday’s round will advance to Sunday’s competition, which begins at noon and where winners in each event will earn $100,000. The caveat then comes into play for the qualifiers, who are eligible for The American side pot; that is typically $1 million, but since no qualifier won in 2021, the money rolled over for this year.
Qualifiers who win the $100,000 earn at least a share of $2 million. It can be life-changing.
“The purse is a pretty big deal,” said John Douch, a Cinch tie-down roper from Huntsville, Texas. “There are many up-and-coming kids that can rope good. I’m only 24, and there are kids younger than me that can really rope. If they could win that, they could make a big name for themselves.”
Exempt contestants are only eligible for the $100,000 first-place prize. Douch is one of about two dozen Cinch endorsees who will be part of The American field, including three other tie-down ropers: Shane Hanchey, Ty Harris and Caleb Smidt, the latter of whom earned his third world championship this past December.
They have earned the exemptions. Other Cinch endorsees that were automatic bids are:
Bareback rider: Cole Franks
Steer wrestlers: Tyler Waguespack, Will Lummus, Jacob Talley, Tyler Pearson and Jesse Brown
Team roping headers: Erich Rogers, Clay Smith, Kaleb Driggers and Logan Medlin
Team roping heelers: Jade Corkill and Jeremy Buhler
Saddle bronc riders: Brody Cress, Zeke Thurston, Tegan Smith, Wyatt Casper and Dawson Hay
Breakaway roper: Shelby Boisjoli
Barrel racer: Emily Beisel
Bull rider: Dustin Boquet
Contract personnel: Announcer Garrett Yerigan and Stock Contractor Heath Stewart