Three Team Roping World Champions will go head-to-head for a cha

Three Team Roping World Champions will go head-to-head for a chance to compete in the World's Richest One-Day Rodeo,




FEBRUARY, 19 2014


CONTACT: RFD-TV Public Relations or 734-476-0824


Three Team Roping World Champions will go head-to-head for a chance to compete in the World's Richest One-Day Rodeo,

RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN presented by Polaris RANGER


Speed Williams, Jake Barnes and Clay O'Brien Cooper will compete in Mesquite, Texas at THE AMERICAN Semifinals for a chance to compete on March 2


OMAHA, Neb. – Eight-time World Champion Speed Williams, Seven-time World Champion Jake Barnes and Seven-time World Champion Clay O'Brien Cooper have accepted a head-to-head team roping challenge.  They will compete at the Semifinals at Mesquite Arena for an exemption spot at RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER, on March 2, 2014 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.


The competitors will compete in a four-head match, two steers on Saturday and two steers on Sunday. Each competitor will pick their own partner however; the chosen partners will not be eligible for the million-dollar prize money if they win the exemption spot.


Williams began his professional career in team roping when he joined the PRCA in 1986. In 1988 he competed in his first NFR. Since then he has won eight consecutive world titles, 1997-2004 and qualified for the NFR a total of 15 times. In 2008 Williams became the 15th competitor to surpass $2 million in career earnings. After 23 years competing Speed announced his retirement in March of 2009. Along with competing in team roping he has produced instructional team roping DVDs for children and in 2010 he launched an online training center for team ropers of all levels.


"I've been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and have attended games there and it would be an honor to rope there for THE AMERICAN," said eight-time consecutive world champion Speed Williams. "It's an exciting event because anyone can have a chance to compete with the top ten in the world. It brings a whole new element to the sport of rodeo and will be a great event for both fans and athletes."


Barnes began his professional career in team roping when he joined the PRCA in 1980 and qualified for the NFR that same year. He was influenced in the sport by his dad who as amateur team roper and his uncle who was a world champion calf roper in the 40's. Barnes has won a total of seven world titles and qualified for the NFR 25 times. In 1997 he was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and in 2006 he was honored with the inaugural Legends of ProRodeo Award given by the PRCA and Athletes in Action.


"I'm very excited to be competing at the Semifinals, it's a true honor to be invited to be a part of team roping exemption for THE AMERICAN," said seven-time world champion Jake Barnes. "To be able to win $1 million in one-day would be overwhelming. Athletes usually have to compete all year long in order to win that kind of money."  


O'Brien Cooper began roping at the age of six in 1967 and joined the PRCA in 1979. He is a seven-time world champion and has qualified for the NFR 27 times. He finished 15th in the 2013 world standings. His accomplishments include, in 2007 he became the 10th rodeo competitor to surpass $2 million in career earnings and in 1997 Cooper was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. As well as being an accomplished roper Cooper has also had a successful acting career. He made his acting debut in the John Wayne film The Cowboys (1972) when he was 11 years old and continued to work in film and television through 1976. His other roles include roles in Gunsmoke, Little House on the Prairie, The Apple Dumpling Gang, Marcus Welby, M.D, Cahill U.S. Marshal and One Little Indian.


"It's unique to have such a huge payout and to compete for that amount of money at a one-day rodeo event," said seven-time world champion Clay O'Brien Cooper. "THE AMERICAN has a lot of rodeo fans excited for March 2 and it's going to be great opportunity for athletes of all skill levels.  


The winner of the match up will be the 5th athlete chosen by THE AMERICAN's sanctioning bodies as one of the limited exemptions. Most recently, a head-to-head match-up for the tie-down roping exemption spot was announced between Eight-time World Champion, Joe Beaver and Eight-time World Champion, Fred Whitfield at the Semifinals. In addition, Four-time World Champion Ote Berry was selected for the steer wrestling exemption. Eleven-time World Champion Charmayne James for barrel racing, Two-time PBR World Champion Justin McBride for bull riding and Seven-time World Champion, Dan Mortensen for saddle bronc.


To have three of the most legendary team ropers in the country come together to compete for the exemption spot for THE AMERICAN is truly a testament to how western athletes want to be a part of this historic day." said Randy Bernard, Rural Media Group CEO and president. "May the best team win and I'm looking forward to see them rope for the winning spot this weekend."


THE AMERICAN will take place on March 2, 2014, at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas. With a $2 million payout, it will be the richest one-day rodeo in history. Of the qualifiers, the Top-five winners in each rodeo event at the semifinals will advance to compete in THE AMERICAN against the Top-10 in the World Standings and the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals.


Tickets for THE AMERICAN semifinal being held in Mesquite, Texas, Feb. 21-23, are available for $14, $20 and $30, not including taxes. They can be purchased at the Mesquite Arena's box office and at


Tickets for RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER, and the Iron Cowboy V are on sale at the AT&T Stadium Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations and at  Prices for each event range from $20 to $150, not including taxes.





Notes to Editors:


About RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN Presented by Polaris RANGER: Taking place at Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium on March 2, 2014, with an estimated attendance of 75,000, RFD-TV's THE AMERICAN Presented by Polaris RANGER is the single largest 1-day cash prize event in the entire history of rodeo. With $2-million on the line, the best athletes in the world will be gathering in Dallas to compete in one epic day of raw rodeo will, skill and power. THE AMERICAN is inviting the top 10 athletes in each of the traditional rodeo sports as well as the top 10 from the PBR.  The top 10 bull riding contestants will be invited after the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, and the remainder of the primary rodeo sports contenders, will be determined after the top ten in the world standings are named.  In addition to the 10 invites, THE AMERICAN will make five additional spots available for any rodeo athlete in the world through five regional qualifiers. If one of those athletes goes on to win their respective event at THE AMERICAN they will split an additional bonus pool of $1-million dollars in prize money. With the help of broadcast partners and sponsors, RFD-TV will be broadcasting the event LIVE on the day, helping to bring the totality of this defining western sports experience to a wide national audience. For more information, please visit: and  Follow us on Twitter @RFDTVAMERICAN and on find us on Facebook:


About Rural Media Group, Inc. (RMG): Rural Media Group, Inc. is the world's leading provider of multimedia content dedicated to the rural and western lifestyle.  RMG is the parent company of RFD-TV, FamilyNet, RURAL TV, RURAL RADIO on SiriusXM channel 80, RFD-TV the Magazine and RFD-TV the Theatre. RFD-TV, the flagship network for RMG, launched in December 2000.  RFD-TV is the nation's first 24-hour television network dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural America with programming focused on agriculture, equine and the rural lifestyle, along with traditional country music and entertainment. RMG acquired FamilyNet, America's trusted entertainment network dedicated to providing wholesome and responsible viewing choices for today's diverse family.  RURAL TV produces rural business news covering commodity markets for both cash and futures. Daily productions include Market Day Report and the Rural Evening News. RMG networks are distributed into more than 63-million homes worldwide by DBS, telco and cable systems including DISH Network, DIRECTV®, Comcast, Verizon FiOS TV, AT&T U-Verse, Mediacom, Charter, Optimum, Brighthouse, Suddenlink, Time Warner, Cox, and more than 600 independent rural cable systems. RFD-TV The Magazine is the print programming guide for the networks, which has attracted over 180,000 paid subscribers.  RFD-TV The Theatre is a 2000 capacity soft seat venue in Branson, MO where entertainment programming is produced.  Corporate headquarters are in Omaha, NE, and production operations are in Nashville, TN.  For more information, visit,, and  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @OfficialRFDTV @RURALTV @FamilyNet @RURALRADIO80


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