FORT WORTH, Texas (February 16, 2017) – By Johna Cravens – Cole Melancon of Liberty continued his hot streak with a classic bull ride Wednesday night at the first performance of RFD-TV’s The American Semi-Finals presented by Polaris RANGER at Cowtown Coliseum.
The semi-finals rodeo which runs through Friday night and will pay nearly $1 million to winning cowboys and cowgirls is the prelude to Sunday’s $2 million The American at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Melancon scored 86.75 points on Dakota Rodeo’s bull 078, a crossbred that bucked and spun to the left just out of the chute. He earned $883 Wednesday morning in the preliminary round of bull riding. Wednesday night he doubled his winnings and will be back to ride Friday and take the final step to The American and a shot at the $1 million bonus.
A pair of young Oklahomans who have been making their presence known in team roping circles continued that trend Friday night. Blake Hughes and Brady Norman took the lead when they roped their steer in 4.61 seconds. The pair were virtually unknown in October when they won the National Finals of Team Roping U.S. Open Championship and $72,600. With a time under five seconds, they are virtually assured a chance to rope Friday night for a bigger slice of the semi-finals purse and a shot at The American’s $1 million bonus.
Isaac Diaz of Desdemona, a National Finals Rodeo and Elite Rodeo Association saddle bronc rider, knows what it’s like to ride at the world’s richest one-day rodeo. He did his best to return to the home of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday by winning $1,343 with a score of 83.5 on C5 Rodeo’s horse 100 Proof.
Wyatt Bloom of Bend, Ore., topped the bareback riding with a score of 83.5 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Cache Creek. Bloom, who’s currently 20th in the PRCA standings, won $1,185.
The fastest barrel racer of the night was Kelsey Lutjen of Case Grande, Arizona, with a time of 13.804 seconds. Lutjen, a former college rodeo athlete with an agribusiness degree, won $3,604 and was one of three racers with times less than 14 seconds. Chris Martin of Brookston was second and Brianna Trepanier of Stephenville, who won more than $13,000 in Tuesday’s preliminary round was third.
Ryan Swayze of Freedom, Oklahoma, took the night’s round of steer wrestling earning $2,474 for a 4.82-second run and Timber Moore of Aubrey earned $2,982 with a 6.81 in tie-down roping.
The unique format of The American gives any contestant an opportunity to qualify for the semi-finals and earn a share of nearly $1 million at Cowtown Coliseum. Those who finish among the best in each event move on to AT&T Stadium.
Wednesday’s performance featured half of the top 20 semi-finalists in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping and bull riding. The remaining half compete at 7:30 Thursday night with the top 10 in each event returning for a championship round Friday night. The top six in tie-down roping and the top 5 in the other events head to The American.
In barrel racing 178 riders competed Tuesday with the top 30 earning a spot at one of the three semi-finals performances. The 10 fastest times from those three performances will compete at AT&T Stadium Sunday.
Tickets for the semi-finals start at $20 and are available at Cowtown Coliseum. Tickets for The American are available through Ticketmaster.
The following are Wednesday night’s RFD-TV’s The American Semi-Finals rodeo performance results at Cowtown Coliseum.
Bareback Bronc Riding: 1, Wyatt Bloom, Bend, Ore., 83.50 points on Mo Betta Rodeo Company’s J16 Cache Creek, $1,185. 2, Tilden Hooper, Weatherford, Texas, 79.25, $889. 3, Leighton Berry, Poolville, Texas, 78.25, $593. 4, Blake Smith, Zap, N.D., 76.25, $296.
Steer Wrestling: 1, Ryan Swayze, Freedom, Okla., 4.82 seconds, $2,474. 2, Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., 4.9, $1,896. 3, Josh Garner, Live Oak, Calif., 5.26, $1,484. 4, Sean Mulligan, Coleman, Okla., 6.28, $1,154. 5, Ace Campbell, Robertson, Ala., 8.32, $742. 6, Brandon Harrison, Beaumont, Texas, 13.44, $495.
Team Roping: (Semi-Finals leaders) 1, Blake Hughes, Sulphur, Okla., and Brady Norman, Springer, Okla., 4.51 seconds. 2, Travis Whitlow and Tanner Luttrell, San Tan Valley, Ariz., 4.90. 3, J.B. James, Bennett, Colo., and Brock Hanson, Casa Grande, Ariz., 5.25. 4, Edward Hawley, Hays, Mont., and Ty Romo, Whiteriver, Ariz., 5.29. 5, Dylan Gordon, Comanche, Okla., and Gage Williams, Foster, Okla., 5.47.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Isaac Diaz, Desdemonda, Texas, 83.50 points on C5 Rodeo company’s 608 100 Proof, $1,343. 2, Clay Elliot, Nanton, AB., 78.25, $1,007. 3, Louie Brunson, Interior, S.D., 76.5, $671. 4, Ryan Mackenzie, Jordan Valley, Ore., 76.25, $336.
Tie-Down Roping: 1, Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas., 6.81 seconds, $2,982. 2, Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas, 7.19, $2,286. 3, Ty Harris, San Angelo, Texas, 7.36, (with one wrap and a half hitch- took a chance) $1,789. 4, Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas., 7.91, $1,391. 5, Darnell Johnson, Fowler, Colo., 8.21, $895. 6, Zak Danison, Groveport, Ohio., 9.0, $596.
Barrel Racing: 1, Kelsey Lutjen, Casa Grande, Ariz., 13.804, $3,604. 2, Chris Martin, Brookston, Texas, 13.910, $3,003. 3, Brianna Trepanier, Stephenville, Texas, 13.924, $2,402. 4, Kellie Collier, Hereford, Texas, 14.020, $1,802.
Bull Riding: 1, Cole Melancon, Liberty, Texas, 86.75 points on Dakota Rodeo Company’s 078, $883. 2, Sevi Torturo, Oklahoma City, Okla., 86.5, $662. 3, Luke Haught, Weatherford, Texas, 85.50, $441. 4, Jory Markiss, Redmond, Ore., 85.25, $221.