As for me, I live in Austin, Texas, and for the second year had to search for a place to watch RFD American since Time Warner doesn’t seem to think people in the state that picked rodeo as their State Sport would want to watch this great rodeo in the capitol of Texas!?!? Fortunately, my favorite eating establishment, Steiner Steakhouse, has RFD on their televisions, so for the second year my husband and I watched it there. It was perfect, because we not only had a wonderful Brunch prior to the rodeo we were able to enjoy it with Bobby & Jolene Steiner and Don & Beverly Burdett and family. Readers, if you get to Austin you must dine at Steiner Steakhouse. It is amazing, and you’ll never get a better steak!
Randy Bernard the creator of the Two Million Dollar RFD American Rodeo and his ‘movers and shakers’ did a great job, as usual. To say nothing of all the preliminary qualifying events, the people competing in each event were from 27 states, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Many of their stories were told on the television prior to the start of the program, including that of nine year-old Chayni Chamberlain of Stephenville, Texas, who was a Qualifier in the barrel racing. When interviewed her poise and confidence exuded from this young cutie. The way she handles her horse shows she is ‘at home in the saddle’. Remember her name. She’ll be doing great things in the future. Out of 22 barrel racing competitors she finished 7th in the competition.
Other stories that were told included Amberley Snyder of Elkridge, Utah, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a 2010 roll-over accident when she was President of the Utah FFA. Earlier she had been an All-Around winner in the Little Britches Rodeo series. She also competes in break-away roping and barrel racing and is determined to continue to barrel race in spite of her limitations. The rodeo fans voted on an Exemption entry in the American and Amberley was top choice. Because of her courage to continue her passion for rodeo with the additional challenge of doing it since she broke her back and is paralyzed from the waist down is a fete we seldom see. An Amberley Snyder Courage Foundation with the mission to provide financial assistance to those who have inspired others through their actions while overcoming their own adversaries. It will provide new opportunities for disadvantaged individuals across rural America. Amberley said when she received a huge financial donation from RFD for her cause, “To help others learn to cope with their adversaries, I’d trade that for my legs any day.” She finished in 19th place in barrel racing at the American.
For those who didn’t get to watch the great competition, I’ll be brief. Some top level cowboys and cowgirls were invited, the exemption choices were made and those that paid their fee at various preliminary qualifying events held around the country and were the top scorers were those competing at The American. Those invited and exemption recipients were eligible to win $100,000 for first place in their event, and $25,000 for second place. Each event had a certain number chosen for the Final round on Sunday. Then those who were the top four scorers in that round were in the Shoot Out. Top scorer out of the four was the winner for each event.
The Qualifiers were eligible to win $1,000,000 if they were lucky enough to be one of the top four in their event and then in the Shoot Out round got the top score. If more than one Qualifier won the Shoot Out in their event, they would equally split the million dollars.
The Bareback Riding event kicked off The American at 2 PM Sunday afternoon. The four top scorers, of the sixteen competitors, were Brian Bain of Powell Battle, Oregon, in 4th place with an 86.25 score; Jake Vold of Ponoka, Alberta, Canada, was 3rd with 87.50 score; Austin Foss from Terrebonne, Oregon scored 87.75 in second place; and Taylor Price from Huntsville, Texas, was first with an 89 score. In the Shoot Out Taylor Price won with a score of 89.75 on Frontier’s bronc Show Stomper, a horse he rode two years earlier at Cheyenne Frontier Days to win that rodeo. He was a Qualifier, so his win was $100,000 plus the bonus of $500,000 (half of the million since at the end there was a second Qualifier who won the Tie Down event). Taylor traveled with last year’s only winner of the million dollars, Richmond Champion, also a bareback rider.
In the Team Roping Event, with 16 teams, Coleman Proctor of Pryor, Oklahoma, and Jake Long of Coffeyville, Kansas won first in the first round with a 4.06 second run. 2nd went to Jake Barnes & Junior Nogueira, both from Scottsdale, Arizona with a 4.19 second score. 3rd place was Kaleb Driggers of Albany, Georgia, and Travis Graves from Jay, Oklahoma, with a score of 4.36 seconds. And 4th place was Trevor Brazile from Decatur, Texas and Patrick Smith of Lipan, Texas whose run was 4.38 seconds.. In the Shoot Out Kaleb Driggers & Travis Graves won $100,000 each with a score of 4.52 seconds; and Jake Barnes & Junior Nogueira won $25,000 with 5.11 seconds.
The Steer Wrestling event had 17 contestants and Ty Erickson of Helena, Montana, won the first round with a score of 4.08 seconds. 2nd went to K. C. Jones, a Qualifier, of Decatur, Texas, with a 4.10 seconds score. 3rd was Nick Guy of Sparta, Washington, with 4.24 seconds run. 4th place was Kyle Irwin, Robertsdale, Alabama with a 4.47 seconds score. The Shoot Out ended in a tie with a score of 4.19 seconds for Nick Guy and K. C. Jones. They split $125,000. The American rules are that a Qualifier has to win and not tie with anyone to be eligible for the million dollar prize.
The Saddle Bronc Riding event had 15 contestants, with Wade Sundell of Coleman, Oklahoma and Cody DeMoss of Heflin, Louisiana tied for 1st and 2nd with scores of 87.75 in the first round. 3rd went to Spencer Wright of Milford, Utah, with a score of 87.25 and 4th place was Tyler Corrington of Hastings, Minnesota with a 86.25 score. The Shoot Out was won by Wade Sundell with a 90.75 score on Frontier’s Medicine Woman which garnered him $100,000 and 2nd place and $25,000 went to Cody DeMoss with 87.25. Wade Sundell was the winner for the event in 2014, too.
The Tie Down Roping event had 17 contestants, and 1st place, in the first round, went to Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas with a score of 6.98 seconds. 2nd place went to Timber Moore of Aubrey, Texas with 7.12 seconds. 3rd place went to Reese Riemer, a Qualifier, from Stinnett, Texas, with a 7.25 seconds score. 4th place was Cole Bailey of Okmulgee, Oklahoma with a 7.30 seconds time. The Shoot Out was won by Qualifier, Reese Riemer, with a 7.59 seconds run and he took home $100,000 plus the bonus of $500,000. Tuf Cooper won the $25,000 second place prize with a 8.38 seconds run. When Reese Riemer was asked to tell the television interviewer, Leah Garcia, about his winning run he grinned and admitted, “I don’t remember anything about it!”
Barrel Racing had 22 contestants and the first round went to Michele McLeod of Whiteboro, Texas, with a time of 14.632 seconds. 2nd place went to Sharin Hall of Kingston, Oklahoma with a 14.644 seconds run. 3rd went to Kassidy Dennison of Tohatchi, New Mexico, with a time of 14.695 and 4th went to Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, South Dakota, with a 14.819 seconds run. The Shoot Out was won by Lisa Lockhart who also won in 2014. Her run in the Shoot Out this year was 14.726 seconds and she took home $100,000. 2nd place went to Kassidy Dennison with a run of 14.979 seconds giving her $25,000 for the day. When Lisa Lockhart was interviewed she said the win was a “team effort” with her horse “who has an amazing personality”.
The Bull Riding had 17 contestants. Only three contestants rode their bulls for 8 seconds. J. W. Harris of Mullin, Texas, won the first round with a score of 90.5. 2nd place was Jason Malone, a Qualifier, from Pleasanton, Texas, with an 85 score. 3rd place went to Cody Nance of Paris, Tennessee with a score of 83.75. In the Shoot Out although Silvano Alves, of Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, bucked off his first round bull, he was given the 4th place since he was the ‘highest seeded’ contestant in bull riding. Alves was the only bull rider to ride in the Shoot Out and his score was 88.25 which merited him $100,000.
It was a great rodeo and gave the spectators and television audience a look at the best of the rodeo world, and those coming up through the ranks that should be watched because they are bound to make great strides toward becoming the best in their events. Again, I want to say “Hats off the Randy Bernard”, and all he has accomplished. Everyone knows the RFD American Rodeo was his ‘brainstorm idea’ and he deserves the credit for it. He doesn’t accomplish all that happened this year on his own, however, but because of his dedication and passion for rodeo and its continuing growth and success he knows how to get it done and the right people to be on his team!!
I can’t wait until next year!!