Three competitors each earned a $433,333 check after clinching professional rodeo event titles at the RFD-TV’s The American on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
They were bareback rider Kaycee Feild, saddle bronc rider Cort Scheer and steer wrestler Matt Reeves.
Feild, 30, said he plans on the $433,333 being a big boost toward retiring from the sport someday in good financial shape.
“I can do something like go home and start a business,” he said. “It can mean when I retire from rodeo, I won’t have to go work a 9-to-5 job. I can see my kids right when they get home.”
Feild, a four-time world champion, clinched the title with a remarkable final-round score of 90.75 aboard a stalwart bronc named Virgil, the PRCA 2017 Bareback Horse of the Year who is owned by the C5 Rodeo Co. Feild was much in sync as he rhythmically spurred the bronc throughout the tough 8-second ride.
“I could have popped my bubble gum while I was on his back,” Feild said.
The American offered competitors $2 million, a record payoff for a single performance rodeo. Feild, Scheer and Reeves each were eligible for a share of a $1 million “side pot” within the $2 million purse.
The three riders split the $1 million. Each competitor earned $333,333, plus $100,000 that goes to the winner of every event.
All the other champions at The American each earned a $100,000 check. They were not eligible for the $1 million side pot because they were seeded competitors who had strong finishes last year within the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association or the Professional Bull Riders.
Three of the $100,000 winners are from the Stephenville area. They were team ropers Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira and tie-down roper Marty Yates. Yates, a former National Finals Rodeo qualifier, clinched the tie-down roping title with an unusually fast final round time of 6.38 seconds. Driggers and Nogueira turned in 4.57 in the finals.
In bull riding, Jess Lockwood, the 2017 PBR world champion, clinched the title with a 90. Barrel racer Taci Bettis paced the field with a 14.848.
Scheer finished No. 1 in saddle bronc riding with an 89. Reeves clinched the bulldogging title with a 3.73.
Feild is a four-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world bareback riding champion and a former Fort Worth Stock Show winner. He’s typically is a seeded competitor at The American and ineligible for the $1 million side pot. But he became eligible when he did not qualify for the 2017 National Finals in Las Vegas.
Scheer and Reeves also did not qualify for last year’s NFR. So, in order to qualify for The American, the Scheer, Reeves and Feild each earned a berth through the Qualifier System by a strong finish during The American Semifinals last week at Fort Worth’s Cowtown Coliseum.
Ramon de Lima, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, won the PBR’s Iron Cowboy on Saturday night while competing in front of more than 46,000 fans at AT&T Stadium. He earned $127,350.
Lima turned in scores of 83 in Round 1 and 88 in Round 2. Lima and Alex Marcilio were the only riders who stayed on in the first two rounds, which resulted in advancing to Round 3. But both cowboys were bucked off their third bull and had to get on another one.
Lima clinched the title in Round 4. He turned in an 86 on a bovine named Wild Goose (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.). Marcilio was bucked off.
Lima said he had conditioned himself to ride well under pressure.
“We battle through pressure a lot,” he said. “We learn to use that for our good. We turn it in to a lot of energy and hunger to win. It’s our benefit.”
Lima said he was well prepared to make multiple tough rides at the Iron Cowboy.
“I train every day really hard for days like this,” Lima said.
Lima is ranked No. 1 in the PBR’s 2018 world title race with 1,675 points. Dener Barbosa, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, is No. 2 with 1,455.
San Antonio rodeo
Defending PRCA world all-around champion Tuf Cooper of Weatherford finished third in the tie-down roping title race at the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo and earned $16,398. He also finished second in the steer roping title race and pocketed $22,677.
At the San Antonio Rodeo, the title races are decided by total prize money earnings throughout the rodeo.
Cooper earned $39,075 at the San Antonio rodeo. He’s ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2018 world all-around race with $65,667.
Ryle Smith, who clinched the tie-down roping title in San Antonio after earning $18,928, is ranked No. 2 in the world all-around standings with $40,799.
Trevor Brazile, who finished fourth in the team roping heading race with $12,394, is ranked No. 3 in the world all-around standings with $40,092.
Scott Snedecor clinched the steer roping title in San Antonio and earned $28,394.
Other champions were bareback rider Caleb Bennett ($22,169), steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge ($23,081), team ropers Coleman Proctor and Billie Jack Saebens ($23,015), saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley ($25,765), barrel racer Hailey Kinsel ($25,142) and bull rider Garrett Tribble ($34,574).
College rodeo update
On the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association circuit, Tarleton State is ranked No. 1 in the NIRA's Southwest Region men's team title race after finishing fifth at the Feb. 22-24 Odessa College Rodeo.
South Plains College is ranked No. 1 in the NIRA’s Southwest Region women’s team title race after finishing fourth at the Odessa College Rodeo. The OC Rodeo was the sixth of 10 regional rodeos scheduled for the 2017-2018 regular season.