“Words can’t express what this can do for my life,” said 24-year-old Reese Riemer of Stinnett, Texas, who tied his calf in 7.25 seconds to edge three-time world champion Tuf Cooper. “When I threw my hands up and looked at the clock – I’ll remember that moment the rest of my life.”
In just its sophomore year, RFD-TV’s The American attracted a crowd of 42,563 into AT&T Stadium despite a winter snowstorm, and again offered the most money the sport has ever paid out in one day. In addition to $125,000 cash up in each event, the payoff included a $1 million bonus pool awarded to any “underdog” who could out-ride or rope the top 10 rodeo athletes in the world, or awarded equally to all event champions if unclaimed.
Earlier in the evening, Taylor Price of Huntsville, Texas, had scored 89 points on Frontier Rodeo’s bronc Show Stomper to defeat a bareback riding field that included defending world champion Austin Foss.
“I’m still just blown away,” Price said. “This is the coolest rodeo I’ve ever been to! I was too broke so my parents had to pay my entry fees to the Semi-Finals. This takes away a lot of the financial troubles I’ve had.”
Price and Riemer had each paid a $500 entry fee to qualify via the American Semi-Finals. Veteran steer wrestler KC Jones, 44, of Decatur, Texas, also qualified through the Semi-Finals, where he told reporters he would “bulldog a grizzly in a parking lot” for the chance to earn a million dollars. A week later, Jones recorded a time of 4.19 seconds in the finals of RFD-TV’s The American, which tied with Nick Guy of Wisconsin for first place. Ground rules dictate that no ties are eligible for the bonus pool. Still, Jones’ paycheck of $100,000 in one day nearly equaled his total earnings through all of last year – $101,058.
“I would be excited about this even if all I got was this buckle,” Jones said during a post-event press conference, holding up the custom diamond-encrusted platinum-embellished Bohlin trophy buckle. “Plus, I earned more than $8,000 at the two qualifiers I went to and another $5,000 at the Semi-Finals. That Semi-Finals is a great rodeo – it pays $25,000 to win. And then you get to come here and hang out with all the big rodeo stars!”
Kaleb Driggers of Albany, Ga., was one of four champions who became repeat winners from 2014, including all-around champion Trevor Brazile, saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell and barrel racer Lisa Lockhart. Driggers, who also this week pocketed $42,500 as the high seller at an innovative new sponsor patch auction, won the rodeo last year with Patrick Smith and did it again this time with Travis Graves.
Price and Riemer each earned $600,000 while every event champion also took home nearly $50,000 in prizes that included new Polaris Rangers. The rodeo also paid out $500,000 through its semi-finals and a week earlier and raised nearly another half-million dollars via RFD-TV’s The American Sponsor Patch Auction.
“This event speaks for itself,” said Brazile. “Every year they add something better and I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner next. For Reese to have won $600,000 in one day, that just provides endless opportunities.”
Following are official results from RFD-TV’s The American, presented by Polaris Ranger.
Bareback Riding: Preliminary Round: 1. Taylor Price, Huntsville, Texas, 89 points; 2. Jake Vold, Ponoka, Alberta, 87.5; 3. Brian Bain, Powell Butte, Ore., 86.25; 4. Austin Foss, Terrebonne, Ore., 87.75. Final Round: 1. Taylor Price, Huntsville, Texas, 89 points on Frontier’s Show Stomper, $100,000 plus $500,000 bonus; 2. Jake Vold, Ponoka, Alberta, 87.5, $25,000.
Team Roping: Preliminary Round: 1. Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla., and Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan., 4.06 seconds. 2. Jake Barnes, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Junior Nogueira, Scottsdale, Ariz., 4.19. 3. Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga., and Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 4.36. 4. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas and Patrick Smith, Lipan, Tex., 4.38. Final Round: 1. Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga., and Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 4.52 seconds, $100,000; 2. Jake Barnes, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Junior Nogueira, Scottsdale, Ariz., 5.11, $25,000.
Steer Wrestling: Preliminary Round: 1. Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont., 4.08 seconds; 2. K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 4.1; 3. Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 4.24. 4. Kyle Irwin, Robertsdale, Ala., 4.47. Final Round: 1. K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 4.19 seconds, $100,000; 2. Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 4.19, $25,000 (tie-breaker determined by aggregate on two).
Saddle Bronc Riding: Preliminary Round: 1.Wade Sundell, Coleman, Okla., 87.8 points; 2. Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., 87.8; 3. Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah, 87.3; 4. Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn., 86.3; Final Round: 1. Wade Sundell, Coleman, Okla., 90.75 points on Frontier’s Medicine Woman, $100,000; 2. Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., 87.25, $25,000.
Tie Down Roping: Preliminary Round: 1. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 6.98 seconds; 2. Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 7.12; 3. Reese Riemer, Stinnett, Texas, 7.25; 4. Cole Bailey, Okmulgee, Okla., 7.3. Final Round: 1. Reese Riemer, Stinnett, Texas, 7.59 seconds, $100,000 plus $500,000 bonus; 2. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 8.38, $25,000.
Barrel Racing: Preliminary Round: 1. Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 14.632 seconds; 2. Sharin Hall, Kingston, Okla., 14.644; 3. Kassidy Dennison, Tohatchi, N.M., 14.695; 4. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 14.819. Final Round: 1. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 14.726, $100,000; 2. Kassidy Dennison, Tohatchi, N.M., 14.979, $25,000.
Bull Riding: Preliminary Round:
1. J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas, 90.5 points; 2. Jason Malone, Pleasonton, Texas, 85; 3. Cody Nance, Paris, Tenn., 83.75; 4. Silvano Alves, Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, 0. Final Round: 1. Silvano Alves, Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, 88.25 points on Gene Owen’s Raven Flyer, $100,000 [no other rides].