ARLINGTON — RFD-TV’s The American presented by Polaris RANGER returns to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Feb.19, as the home of the Dallas Cowboys hosts the world’s richest one-day rodeo for the fourth time.
With a total purse of $2 million dollars, The American is among the top rodeos in North America. Winners and the runners-up in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping (both heading and heeling), saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding win a share of $1 million prize money. There’s also an extra $1 million bonus purse and $250,000 in prizes.
Top rodeo athletes from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Elite Rodeo Athletes, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and Professional Bull Riders have accepted invitations to compete at The American on Feb. 19. The roster of invitees includes newly crowned world champions as well as individuals with multiple world titles. The field will also include athletes that come through the qualifier system.
The American’s unique “U.S. Open” format means that any competitor is eligible to try to qualify for The American Semi-Finals. There are no age or gender restrictions. Qualifying events are held across the U.S. with winning competitors advancing to The American Semi-Finals, where top finishers punch their tickets for The American.
More than 600 qualifiers are scheduled to compete Feb. 14-17 at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth. The semi-finals on its own features a purse of $1 million, putting it among the top 10 richest rodeos annually and making it the richest rodeo open to non-professional competitors. A three-day western festival runs concurrently with The American Semi-Finals in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards area.
Those semi-finalists who earn the right to compete at AT&T Stadium are eligible for a share of the extra $1 million bonus. That’s the reward if they are able to win their event, by besting the other qualifiers and the top-ranked, professional invitees.
The bonus is divided among all qualifiers who win The American, but only three qualifiers have managed to win an event at The American in the past three years. Richmond Champion became the first cowboy to win more than $1 million for a single, eight-second bareback ride at The American in 2014, the first time it was held. He became an instant millionaire by virtue of one eight-second ride at the age of 21.
Not only are contestants at The American competing against rodeo’s best human athletes, in the bareback, bronc and bull riding they will face top bucking horses and bulls in the world. Award-winning rodeo companies from across the country will bring their featured animals to match against The American contestants.
It all makes for a record-setting week in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex with four days of The American Semi-Finals in Fort Worth, followed by the PBR’s Iron Cowboy VII on Feb. 18 at AT&T Stadium and The American on February 19.
Tickets for The American start at just $20 and the semi-finals tickets start at just $10. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at AmericanRodeo.com. For those who want a full weekend of the best in western sports, there’s also a combination ticket for the Iron Cowboy and The American.