Rodeo’s famed rivalry returns for one day when Cody Ohl and Fred Whitfield battle for an exemption into RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER.
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 25, 2015 – Two of the three highest-earning athletes in pro rodeo history – Cody Ohl and Fred Whitfield – will rekindle their rivalry for the last time in a match to be televised Feb. 14, 2016, on RFD-TV.
The two will face off inside The San Antonio (Texas) Rose Palace in a 10-head contest with the winner earning an exemption into RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER. During the event, each athlete will compete behind more than one score length and on calves of differing sizes.
“This year, instead of management deciding who receives exemptions, we thought we’d create matches between some of the best athletes in the world,” said Randy Bernard, CEO of RFD-TV Events. “This first one is truly an iconic match. It will be great to watch these two legends battle it out for only one spot, considering their history of fierce competition.”
Between 1995 and 2006, either Ohl or Whitfield won every world championship in tie-down roping except for one (in ’04). Ohl, 42, has earned $3.5 million and six world titles, while Whitfield, 48, has banked $3.2 million during eight gold-buckle runs. Whitfield became known nationally for “raising the roof” after good runs, while Ohl energized crowds with his six-second runs and penchant for pointing to his gold buckle. To date, they’re still at the top of their game, having both been ranked last year in the top 25 in the world.
“Cody always motivated me, honestly,” said Whitfield, who held the fast-time record of 84 seconds on 10 calves for 16 years.
“Nobody will tell the truth, but we’re about even. We roped last fall in his hometown and I stuck it on him. So I consider myself one-up so far. The fact of the matter is, Cody and I still drive each other. When you say ‘Fred Whitfield versus Cody Ohl,’ there’s something inside these old bones that just lights up.”
Ohl will forever be remembered by rodeo fans for blowing out his knee and crawling to his final animal in Las Vegas in 2001 en route to earning two gold buckles that year. He then bounced back from three surgeries to earn nearly $300,000 in 2006 – a single-event record in rodeo that still stands. Ohl still holds records for most go-round wins in one event (52) and fastest time recorded (6.5 seconds) at the Wrangler NFR.
“This concept is unreal,” Ohl said, “not only because it’s a chance to rope for a million dollars, but also just for the opportunity to rope in that facility. AT&T Stadium is the nicest place I've chased a calf in the 25 years I've been rodeoing. Just to get to come down the same hallway as all those great football players; that venue is special, bar none.”
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