It’s been a tough year for rodeo contestants with many major events shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But then there were 11 days in Arlington.
And for the first time in The American Rodeo history, the Top 10 world invitees won in every event.
RFD-TV’s The American Rodeo Presented by Durango Boots crowned its 2021 champions earlier in March, with each winner taking home $100,000 in prize money. Because no qualifier won their event, there was no million dollar bonus this year, and now the million will carry over to next year to potentially turn someone into the next multi-million dollar cowboy, RFD-TV said in a news release.
“All of these champions today demonstrated such strength and perseverance throughout the entire competition and there were so many incredible performances,” said The American Rodeo CEO Randy Bernard. “We were so fortunate to host this event this year under extraordinary times and all of the athletes were extremely appreciative to have something to look forward to and compete when many events were unable to operate due to COVID.”
After 11 days of competition from slack rounds to the Semi-Finals in Fort Worth to Arlington, the final champions of the American Rodeo have been decided.
7X NFR qualifier Tilden Hooper takes the Bareback title and after a seasoned career can now claim winner of The American Rodeo and sets him up well for a world title. “Man that was awesome. That Gunfire is a special horse and I was super excited to draw her,” he said when accepting his $100,000 check.
Ryder Wright on horse All or Nothing wins Saddle Bronc with a 91.25, making this his second American Rodeo win in three years.
When asked about winning this year and the support of his brothers he responds, “It’s awesome and I think that’s why we have so much success. We all do the same thing and to have my brothers behind me on the chutes, you can’t beat family.” He adds, “This is awesome and all of us cowboys appreciate these guys pulling through and having this rodeo with all the stuff going on right now.”
Colten Fritzlan wins his first American Rodeo in Bull Riding at the age of 21 and climbs the steps for his check with a big smile on his face.
“This is definitely what I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I’m glad it worked out and I am blessed. For one thing, I like it over here in Arlington and all the hard work we put in everyday made it work out. I just take it every bull at a time and have the right mindset and let it all hang out.” Colten also won in 2020 the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year for bull riding.
Breakaway Roping winner Jill Tanner took eight years off and said, “I for sure didn’t think I was going to win it. I am definitely not the best roper here but today was my day.”
Shane Hanchey ends up with the win for Tie-Down Roping. “I just feel like I am the best roper in the world. If you don’t believe it, then you’re not it. Confidence is the main key to this game from bareback to bull riding. I just felt on that horse, I had all the confidence in the world and if not for TJ, I wouldn’t be here,” Hanchey said.
Barrel Racing winner Hailey Kinsel continues to win and is a 3x American Rodeo champion. “We are grateful for every opportunity, especially really nice ones like this and especially after such a hard year on everyone and being given something to run at and able to showcase my amazing horse,” Kinsel said.
Veteran world champion Erich Rogers and young gun Paden Bray, who won the 2020 NFR average, take the American Rodeo title for Team Roping and Rogers, a 10X NFR qualifier, says this is one he’s been wanting for a long time.
“This buckle here is pretty sweet. The fans and sponsors and everyone behind the scenes have given us the opportunity for this money and buckle and we are here to show our talents.” said Rogers.
Steer Wrestling The American Rodeo champion Jacob Talley won the $100,000 prize and had a spectacular run in both the long go and short go rounds. When asked how he felt about his final ride he said, “It’s a little nerve wracking waiting to go. It’s amazing and unreal to win so early in the year.”
Short Round Results