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,

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

– 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

“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

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:

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:

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