London Gorham, a 10-year-old barrel racer, earned more than $40,000 for winning RFD-TV's The American Semifinals this weekend at Fort Worth’s Cowtown Coliseum.
London, who is from the South Texas town of Cotulla, and her 8-year-old sorrel gelding, Frenchmans Assassin, clinched the title with a blistering time of 13.740 seconds.
The American semifinals concluded Saturday afternoon. London turned in her time of 13.740 during the Thursday night performance. But her score held up through the show on Saturday afternoon when the last final-round barrel racing run was made.
“My horse was really good and he ran really fast,” said London, a fourth grade student who is home-schooled.
London earned $40,581 for winning the title. But with other payoffs that came with her strong finish, her total earnings were more than $48,500.
“I’m still shocked,” London said.
As the result of winning the semifinals rodeo at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards, London will advance to The American, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The American will offer competitors a $2 million purse, a record payoff for a single performance rodeo. London conceivably could win $1.1 million. She is eligible for all or a share of The American’s $1 million “sidepot,” plus the standard $100,000 that goes to all of the single event champions.
London is eligible for the seven-figure sidepot because she earned a berth through the qualifier system, which features a lot of up and coming competitors.
Asked how she felt about the possibility of earning more than $1 million, London said she was excited just to be able to compete in AT&T Stadium.
“It’s just the fact that I’m getting to run there,” London said. “It’s pretty amazing that I’m going to get to run at AT&T Stadium.”
London is a granddaughter of Phil Lyne who won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world all-around title in 1971 and 1972. Lyne also was featured in the movie, "The Great American Cowboy," an Academy Award-winning documentary on professional rodeo. The movie followed Lyne and Larry Mahan as they competed for the 1972 world all-around title.
London also is a niece of Samantha Lyne, a TCU graduate who qualified for the National Finals in 2012. Samantha Lyne is married to two-time Professional Bull Riders world champion J.B. Mauney. London's father, Shorty Gorham, is a renowned bull fighter on the PBR tour.
London and her mother, Amanda Lyne, attended Saturday’s American semifinals performance, hoping that her London’s time of 13.740 would hold up.
Amanda Lyne said it was nerve-racking.
“I just kind of paced back and forth until the last girl ran,” Amanda said. “It was very emotional.”
In the title race, London Gorham edged second place finisher Kathy Grimes, a 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, 13.740 to 13.750. Ari-Ana Flynn finished third in the title race with a 13.758. London fell short in her attempt to finish in the money on Sunday.
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The American Semifinals was among three standout rodeo shows in the DFW Metroplex this weekend. The other two are The American and the Professional Bull Riders Iron Cowboy. The PBR is celebrating a 25th anniversary this year. The Iron Cowboy, which was conducted Saturday night at AT&T Stadium, was a major stop on the PBR’s 2018 Built Ford Tough Series, the association’s top tier tour.