Iconic Match Roping for Exemption
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. 17, 2016, at 9 PM ET, on RFD-TV.
The two tie-down roping powerhouses 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.
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.
“The fact of the matter is, Cody and I still drive each other,” said Whitfield, who held the fast-time record of 84 seconds on 10 calves for 16 years. “When you say ‘Fred Whitfield versus Cody Ohl,’ there’s something inside these old bones that just lights up.”
Ohl bounced back from three surgeries to earn nearly $300,000 in 2006 – a single-event record in rodeo that still stands. He also holds records for most go-round wins in one event (52) and fastest time recorded (6.5 seconds) at the Wrangler NFR.
“It’s great to have a chance at that kind of money, but it’s also about the opportunity to rope in that facility,” said Ohl. “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.”