For the third straight year, the world's richest one-day rodeo will return to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER on Feb. 28, 2016, together with The American Semi-Finals, Feb. 17-21 in Fort Worth, will be televised live and offer a cash-and-prize purse of more than $2.5 million.
THE AMERICAN invites the top 10 rodeo athletes in the world in seven events to compete for a $1 million purse in the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Anyone can qualify via the Semi-Finals – which last year paid out a half-million dollars – and any contestant who advances to THE AMERICAN and out-rides or out-ropes the sport’s elite stars is eligible for an additional $1 million bonus on Feb. 28.
At the inaugural event in 2014, bareback rider Richmond Champion took home $1.1 million for two eight-second rides. The star-studded field of hopeful qualifiers that first year included dozens of world champions and several athletes who came out of retirement specifically to compete, including two-time PBR world champion Justin McBride and 11-time barrel racing world champ Charmayne James. A highlight for fans was the remarkable performance of 70-year-old barrel racer June Holeman.
“We’re building exposure and creating a platform for these tremendous athletes, but at the same time, it’s the surprising underdogs who seem to be capturing the hearts of rodeo fans,” said Randy Bernard, CEO of RFD-TV Events.
Last year, 9-year-old Chayni Chamberlain advanced all the way into contention for a million-dollar-win, and fans were bowled over by the determination of paraplegic barrel racer Amberley Snyder. In addition, three remarkable contestants – Lisa Lockhart, Wade Sundell and Kaleb Driggers – repeated their 2014 championships at THE AMERICAN to each pick up a check for $100,000 two years running.
Bernard will discuss the third edition of THE AMERICAN live on RFD-TV at 9 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, Aug. 19.