OMAHA, Neb. (RFD-TV) While rodeo contestants are gearing up for the summer run and planning which RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN qualifiers they’ll go to, a few athletes have already punched their ticket to the show.
Twenty teams have already qualified at two United States Team Roping Championships qualifiers held in Mulvane, Kansas, and San Angelo, Texas.
With the first Better Barrel Races (BBR) qualifier at the end of the month, 10 barrel racers will join one who has already secured her spot.
“Since I won the 2014 BBR World Finals, I have an automatic qualification to RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals and that makes me even more excited for the start of THE AMERICAN all over again this year,” says Jackie Ganter, 2014 BBR World Finals Champion.
Ganter rode 5-year-old gelding Blazin Baby J to win the World Championship that came with an $11,000 payday, an automatic qualification to RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals and some serious bragging rights.
“He made an awesome run, he was flying…I knew it was good when I came out and [trainer] Callie started jumping up and down and screaming,” she explains. “I thought, ‘wow, that must’ve been something really good.’”
When it comes to preparing for a shot at $1 million, Ganter says she’ll stick to business as usual.
“My horses are working unbelievably great right now, so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully it will work out,” says Ganter.
She plans to compete for a second qualification at the upcoming BBR qualifiers to gain even better odds.
RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN rules state, a contestant can qualify twice, but a horse can qualify once with only one contestant.
Ganter watched RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN while on the road at another rodeo, but was able to check out the stadium the week before during an interview with RFD-TV.
“Even though the arena wasn’t set up yet, it was awesome just being in there and not even have made it. Just getting to see all of it,” she says. “I can’t imagine the feeling you’d get to compete in there and in front of all those people at such a prestigious event.”
Ganter also finished up her high school rodeo season this past week at the Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals in her hometown of Abilene, Texas.
At just 17 years old, Ganter already has quite a few accomplishments under her belt and has more goals in mind for the future.
“When I turn 18, I’m buying my pro card and I’m going to go for Rookie of the Year. That’s one of my biggest goals. I’ll definitely be focused on going for Rookie of the Year and competing at THE AMERICAN,” says Ganter.
“I think qualifying for THE AMERICAN is one of the most sought after dreams right now in the sport of rodeo,” Ganter says. “I look forward to the upcoming year and watching it grow bigger and better than ever before!”