The Athens Review
Two million dollars.
That will be the payoff for RFD-TV/The American Rodeo at AT&T Stadium on March 2.
The $2 million payoff is expected to be the largest ever for a one-day rodeo.
The show will feature the sport’s top athletes such as Trevor Brazile, a 10-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world all-around champion who is a native of Amarillo and lives in Decatur. Silvano Alves, a two-time Professional Bull Riders world champion, also will be on the card.
The event is scheduled on the same weekend as the Iron Cowboy V, a standout PBR tour stop that’s scheduled for March 1 at AT&T Stadium (formally Cowboys Stadium).
Organized rodeo in America has existed for about 150 years and no organizing committee has been close to offering competitors $2 million in a single day. The 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, for example, offered riders $6.125 million over 10 days in December. The NFR traditionally is the PRCA’s world championships and is the world’s highest-paying rodeo overall.
The Calgary Stampede in Alberta is the highest-paying rodeo during the regular season, offering competitors around $2 million over a 10-day period. The Stampede also has awarded the highest one-day payout for many years during its final performance. On July 14, competitors vied for $1,018,800.
The American is the brainchild of Randy Bernard, who was the PBR’s chief executive officer in the late 1990s and 2000s. He is credited for the PBR’s ascent to becoming the world’s highest-paying bull riding tour. One of Bernard’s accomplishments was awarding the PBR world champion a $1 million bonus, which began in 2003.
Today, Bernard heads up RFD-TV, a cable network that covers agriculture, ranching, western riding sports and western entertainment. Bernard and other organizers said the mission for the one-day rodeo is to offer bronc riders, ropers, steer wrestlers and barrel racers the same type of payouts and media exposure that PBR bull riders are receiving.
“I believe this will be one of the biggest milestones that I’ve ever been part of,” Bernard said of the Arlington competition. “It will give rodeo competitors the payouts that they deserve.”
Like the Calgary Stampede, each single event champion at The American will earn $100,000 and the runner-up will pocket $25,000. In addition, organizers will designate a $1 million “side pot” for non-credentialed competitors who earn the right to compete through qualifying rodeos in cities such as Mesquite, San Angelo and Amarillo. If a no-name competitor defeats the all-star cast of riders in an event, that person will receive $1 million. If more than one non-credentialed competitor wins a single event title, the $1 million will be split, Bernard said.
After winning the tie-down roping title at the Aug. 22-24 Kitsap Stampede in Bremerton, Wash., and placing in the same event at the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the Lynden (Wash.) PRCA Rodeo and the Norco (Calif.) Mounted Posse Rodeo, Trevor Brazile of Decatur was ranked No. 1 in the Aug. 26 world all-around standings with $165,321, according to the PRCA. Brazile’s lead over Tuf Cooper was little more than $58,000 as he bids for a record 11th PRCA all-around gold buckle.
He also was ranked third in steer roping, seventh in tie-down roping and he is 11th among team roping headers. His total of 17 world championships is one shy of the record held by Guy Allen.
Guilherme Marchi, the 2008 Professional Bull Riders world champion, won the Aug. 24-25 tour stop in Nashville and earned $37,075.
Defending world champion Silvano Alves finished second and left town with $14,100.
After competing in Nashville, Alves was ranked No. 1 in the Aug. 25 Built Ford Tough Series world standings with 8,5340 points, 1,695.27 ahead of No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira who has 6838.73. For more information, visit pbr.com.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the past quarter-century. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.