Eleven-Time World Champion Charmayne James Comes Out of Retirement to Compete for Biggest Payout in Western Sports History

Eleven-time World Champion, Charmayne James, has accepted an exemption invitation and will come out of retirement to compete in the barrel racing event during RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER, on March 2, 2014 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

James dominated the sport of barrel racing from 1984 – 2003. She started riding horses by the age of three and running barrels by the age of six.  At 14, she won the title of World Champion Barrel Racer and held the title for the next 10 consecutive years. She qualified for Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) every year of her decorated career, 19 consecutive years in total. In 1992, James was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas. She retired from the sport in 2003.

After 10 years of retirement, James now runs barrel horse clinics around the country and designs saddles and riding gear. She is among one of the most decorated female equine athletes of all time, with titles including; All Time Leading Money Earner, Barrel Racing’s First Million Dollar Cowgirl, First Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) member to earn the right to wear the number one on her back and is holder of more individual world championships than any other woman in professional sports when she retired.

“I’ve stayed active, but will definitely be starting to train even harder to be ready for the level of competition at THE AMERICAN,” said 11-time world champion Charmayne James. “I’m honored to be a part of this historic event that spotlights the deserving cowboys and cowgirls that compete in rodeos.”

James is the third athlete selected by THE AMERICAN’s sanctioning bodies as one of the limited exemptions. Two-time PBR world champion Justin McBride was recently given the spot for bull riding and six-time world champion Dan Mortensen was awarded his in the saddle bronc competition. Additional exemptions will be announced leading up to March 2, 2014.

“Charmayne James is the epitome of what THE AMERICAN is all about.  Her achievements speak for themselves but to see her in action will be one of the biggest highlights at THE AMERICAN,” said Randy Bernard, Rural Media Group CEO and president.  “Fans will witness history as she comes out of retirement.  It will be one of the greatest moments of the event and we are very proud and honored that she has chosen to come back and compete at a sport she has given so much to.”

RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Rodeo will be held on March 2, 2014 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It is the richest rodeo in the history of western sports with a $2 million payout. The top-five winners from the semifinals will compete against the top 10 athletes after the PBR World Final standings and WNFR final world standings. The only other way to qualify for THE AMERICAN is a special exemption granted by RFD-TV.

“Charmayne is a great choice for THE AMERICAN barrel racing exemption with her 11 gold buckles,” said 3-time World Champion Barrel Racer, Sherry Cervi. “I hope to be able to compete against her, as it will be an event worth participating in and watching. The fans will not be disappointed.”

RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER is being closely coordinated with PBR’s Iron Cowboy V, which will take place the day before THE AMERICAN on March 1, 2014 at AT&T Stadium. Combined, the events are expected to bring more than 100,000 fans and participants to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Tickets for RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER, and the Iron Cowboy V are on sale at the AT&T Stadium Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations and at americanrodeo.com.  Prices for each event range from $20 to $150, not including taxes.

Additionally, tickets for THE AMERICAN semifinals in Mesquite, Texas, Feb. 22-23, 2014, are available for $14, $20 and $30, not including taxes. They can be purchased at the Mesquite Arena’s box office and at americanrodeo.com.