February 24, 2014

Rodeo Insider: Record-setting rodeo arrives in Arlington this weekend

RFD-TV’s The American will set up shop at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.

Pro rodeo competitors will fill their saddle bags with big money this weekend at AT&T Stadium.

The highest-paying show is RFD-TV’s The American, the record $2 million, single-performance rodeo that’s scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.

In saddle bronc riding, for example, fans will watch a field of 16 credentialed riders at the Arlington-based rodeo. Ten have qualified by high finishes in the 2013 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings. Another five qualified from The American Semifinals last weekend in Mesquite. The 16th competitor is a name cowboy who was given an exemption, which meant he didn’t have to earn a berth through qualifying shows within the past six months.

Two-time world champion Cody Wright, 36, advanced to The American as the result of finishing third in the PRCA’s world standings last year. But his 18-year-old son, Rusty, made the cut after finishing third at last weekend’s semifinals qualifying event in Mesquite.

Six-time world champion Dan Mortensen, 45, who is coming out of retirement, was given the right to compete by exemption.

Out of the $2 million purse, $1 million has been set aside for a winning competitor who came in through last weekend’s qualifier event in Mesquite or by exemption. If more than one competitor who came in through those two avenues wins a title, the $1 million will be divided.

If Cody Wright, for example, wins The American saddle bronc riding title, he will receive $100,000. But if either Rusty Wright or Mortensen win, they would earn either all the $1 million (side pot), or they would divide the seven-figure paycheck between two or more other winning competitors who earned a berth in The American like they did.

If either Rusty Wright or Mortensen solely win $1 million, they additionally would earn the $100,000 that’s set aside for the No. l finisher in every event.

A lucrative Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series show is scheduled for Saturday night (6 p.m.) The No. 1 bull rider at the Dr. Pepper Iron Cowboy V will receive $50,000. After that, he will take on Bushwacker, a two-time world champion bull.

If he makes a qualified ride, he will receive a $1 million bonus. Guilherme Marchi, the 2008 world champion who is ranked No. l in the 2013 BFTS world title race after tying for second in at the Kansas City, Mo., tour stop last weekend, is among the field of competitors.

In the money

At the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo last weekend, former National Finals Rodeo qualifier Carlee Pierce of Stephenville earned $16,394 after finishing second in barrel racing.

In steer roping, defending PRCA world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur finished second and pocketed $17,674. Brazile also is entered in The American.

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