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Rodeo’s $2 million “U.S. Open” Returns to AT&T Stadium February 19

Texan Richmond Champion became the first cowboy to earn $1 million for an eight-second bareback ride when he won $1.1 million at the inaugural RFD-TV’s The American presented by Polaris RANGER in 2014. The world’s richest one-day rodeo returns to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Feb. 19. Photo by Andy Watson – Bull Stock Media.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – RFD-TV’s The American presented by Polaris RANGER returns to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on February 19, as the home of the Dallas Cowboys hosts the world’s richest one-day rodeo for the fourth time.

With a total purse of $2 million dollars, The American among the top rodeos in North America. Winners and the runners-up in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping (both heading and heeling), saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding win a share of $1 million prize money. There’s also an extra $1 million bonus purse and $250,000 in prizes.

Top rodeo athletes from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Elite Rodeo Athletes, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and Professional Bull Riders have accepted invitations to compete at The American on February 19. The roster of invitees includes newly crowned world champions as well as individuals with multiple world titles. The field will also include athletes that come through the qualifier system.

The American’s unique “U.S. Open” format means that any competitor is eligible to try to qualify for The American Semi-Finals. There are no age or gender restrictions. Qualifying events are held across the U.S. with winning competitors advancing to The American Semi-Finals, where top finishers punch their tickets for The American.

More than 600 qualifiers are scheduled to compete February 14-17 at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth. The semi-finals on its own features a purse of $1 million, putting it among the top 10 richest rodeos annually and making it the richest rodeo open to non-professional competitors. A three-day western festival runs concurrently with The American Semi-Finals in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards area.

Those semi-finalists who earn the right to compete at AT&T Stadium are eligible for a share of the extra $1 million bonus. That’s the reward if they are able to win their event, by besting the other qualifiers and the top-ranked, professional invitees.

The bonus is divided among all qualifiers who win The American, but only three qualifiers have managed to win an event at The American in the past three years. Richmond Champion became the first cowboy to win more than $1 million for a single, eight-second bareback ride at The American in 2014, the first time it was held. He became an instant millionaire by virtue of one eight-second ride at the age of 21.

Not only are contestants at The American competing against rodeo’s best human athletes, in the bareback, bronc and bull riding they will face top bucking horses and bulls in the world. Award-winning rodeo companies from across the country will bring their featured animals to match against The American contestants.

It all makes for a record-setting week in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex with four days of The American Semi-Finals in Fort Worth, followed by the PBR’s Iron Cowboy VII on February 18 at AT&T Stadium and The American on February 19.

Tickets for The American start at just $20 and the semi-finals tickets start at just $10. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at AmericanRodeo.com. For those who want a full weekend of the best in western sports, there’s also a combination ticket for the Iron Cowboy and The American.

About RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Presented by Polaris RANGER: Taking place at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium on Feb. 19, 2017, RFD-TV’s The American is the richest single-day event in the history of rodeo. With $2 million on the line, the best athletes in the world will gather in Dallas to battle for the biggest single paycheck of their lives. The American invites the top athletes from the PRCA, ERA, WPRA and PBR and pits them against underdogs who advance from the American Semi-Finals, held Feb. 14-17 in Fort Worth. The winner of each event earns a $100,000 prize. Contestants who qualify from the Semi-Finals – or athletes who earned an exemption – who win THE AMERICAN share in an extra $1 million bonus pool. For more information, please visit: www.americanrodeo.com and www.RFDTV.com. Follow us on Twitter @RFDTVAMERICAN and find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RFDTVTheAMERICAN.