FORT WORTH, Texas (February 12, 2017) – By Johna Cravens – Fort Worth and Arlington are hosting a $3 million week of rodeo Tuesday through Sunday. RFD-TV’s The American presented by Polaris RANGER, the world’s biggest one-day rodeo returns to AT&T Stadium.
More than 80 of professional rodeo’s top stars and 45 qualifiers, who will earn their spots and battle for $1 million earlier this week in Fort Worth, compete for $2 million in Arlington at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
During the week, The American Semi-Finals at Cowtown Coliseum will determine the 45 qualifying cowboys and cowgirls who earn a berth at The American, where they will compete with rodeo’s finest for the privilege of being crowned The American champion.
The American pays out $1 million to winners in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Plus, if one of the 45 qualifying contestants wins his or her event at the finals at AT&T Stadium, that person gets the $1 million bonus. If more than one qualifier is successful, the bonus is split among all qualifiers who win. If no qualifier is successful, the invited winners of the events split the bonus.
More than 600 individuals who earned a spot through nearly 80 qualifying events across the country are competing this week. The top 20 to 30 in each event after preliminary rounds advance to compete during three semi-final rodeo performances, Wed., Feb. 15 though Fri., Feb. 17.
“The American Semi-Finals might be one of the best rodeos of the year,” a former world champion Monty Lewis, who will compete in tie-down roping, said. “Qualifying for The American will just be icing on the cake.”
The semi-finals is the richest rodeo open to all ages and skill levels and it’s the richest rodeo in the 100-plus-year history of Cowtown Coliseum. That’s one reason the field includes Lewis and some 20 other former world champions as well as numerous individuals who have qualified for the National Finals Rodeo, International Finals Rodeo and other major western events.
Action begins in Cowtown Coliseum Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. with the opening round of barrel racing. At approximately 11:30 a.m. The Wall That Heals arrives at Main Street and Exchange Avenue. This half-size replica will be on display round-the-clock in The American FanZone in the historic Stockyards area through 3 p.m. Saturday.
Competition continues with the opening round of tie-down roping at 3:30 p.m., followed on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. with about 70 bull riders in the opening round of that event. In most events the best 20 from the opening round will compete Wednesday and Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. and the top 10 from the first two performances battle on Friday night. The top five from each event go to The American.
In barrel racing the top 30 move to the performances (10 each night) with the top 10 moving on to AT&T stadium. The number of bull riders moving on to the finals depends on how many make qualified rides on Wednesday morning.
The American FanZone will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday along Exchange Avenue from Cowtown Coliseum to Stockyards Station. Activities include food trucks, beer gardens, live music, exhibits, classic tractors, a fashion show, autograph sessions and more.
Tickets for the semifinals start at $10 for the preliminary rounds and are available at Cowtown Coliseum and tickets for The American start at $20 and are available through Ticketmaster. More information is available at www.AmericanRodeo.com.