Sunday, September 1, 2013
Jerry World sets sights global rodeo domination
Called "The American," the new pro rodeo competition will debut on March 2, 2014.
The newly crowned AT&T Stadium will host one of the nation's oldest sports on March 2, 2014, when The American debuts. The American will feature the best rodeo talent in the world brought together in one venue to compete for $2 million in prize money.
"This all started five years ago when Jerry Jones and I talked about a major rodeo at what was then Cowboys Stadium. The timing wasn't right then for me, but when I took this position as CEO it made sense to do this," said Randy Bernard, RFD-TV CEO. "This is a fantastic way of developing the No. 1 rodeo event in the world."
He added AT&T Stadium was the perfect place for the event to take place.
"The stadium is part of the romance of having this event. It's the greatest stadium in the world, and with those big screens, it's a high-class venue," Bernard said. "It's a phenomenal place for a major rodeo. Since it's where America's Team plays, we decided to call the event The American."
The event will be the first of its kind, as it will involve competitors from several sanctioning bodies, including the PBR and PRCA.
"We don't want to be a sanctioning body. We are just a medium to promote the sport of rodeo," Bernard said.
The top 10 ranked competitors in each event will receive automatic entry into The American. The remaining five competitors for each event will have to earn their way into the semifinals by being a Top 5 finisher at one of several qualifiers. The semifinals will be held Feb. 21-23, 2014, at Mesquite Arena, 1818 Rodeo Drive in Mesquite, to determine the last five competitors for each event.
"The competition will be fierce. There will be a lot of world champions vying for the spots," Bernard said. "People will get to see the best in the world competing."
Mesquite Arena was chosen as the semifinal location because of its location in North Texas and its history within the rodeo community.
"It's known for rodeo. The place is built for rodeo, and there is a lot of history and tradition there," Bernard said.
"RFD-TV's The American is the most innovative concept witnessed for the sport of rodeo in decades. This is big. Randy Bernard has proven again he is the most forward thinker in our industry. Here at Mesquite Arena we are honored [he] has the confidence in us to host the semifinals as a televised event. It will give Mesquite, the Rodeo Capital of Texas, an added national audience," said Steve Gander, Mesquite Arena general manager.
Bernard said that 100 percent of the entry fees will go into the prize money during the semifinals, so he anticipates there could be $600,000 in prize money available.
"There are very few rodeos that have that kind of payout," Bernard said.
The unique structure of the event allows competitors to measure themselves against the best competition the world of rodeo has to offer.
"We have set the event up so that the underdog can have the chance to win $1 million if they can beat the best in the world," Bernard said. "Everyone loves an underdog."
Bernard said RFD-TV hopes The American can become an annual event, but right now their focus is primarily on making sure the first one is a success.
"This may be the best rodeo anyone has ever seen," Bernard said.
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