Brett Hofman: Legal drama behind them, rodeo cowboys focus on The American

Trevor Brazile, 2015 All Around Champion, The American.  Photo by Rodeo Country Radio.

This is third year AT&T has hosted The American

Competition draws best talent in the sport

Event begins at 2 p.m. and will be televised live on RFD-TV




Special to the Star-Telegram

There’s money to be made this year on the rodeo circuit.

Make that both rodeo circuits.

With the Elite Rodeo Athletes dropping their lawsuit against the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association this past week, the focus returns to competition and the fans.

The $2 million American on Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington is an independent, high-profile rodeo with an all-star collection of riders.

The world’s top-10 ranked athletes in each event, including all-around star Trevor Brazile, bull rider J.B. Mauney and barrel racer Fallon Taylor, are set to go against the qualifiers from the $500,000 semifinals, which were held last week in Fort Worth.

Each of the events will pay $100,000. There will be a $1 million bonus pool for the qualifiers. If a qualifying athlete can win his or her event, they will be entitled to a share of the $1 million bonus pool.

The sport had been under a legal cloud before the ERA this past week dropped a lawsuit that alleged the PRCA had implemented bylaws last year in violation of federal antitrust laws. 


Elite Rodeo Association president and CEO Tony Garritano

The ERA will continue its circuit, and ERA cowboys who are shareholders will be excluded from PRCA events.

“The ERA has always been about creating a rodeo property that is unique to the marketplace and that fans could enjoy,” said Tony Garritano, chief executive officer and president of the ERA. “The unwavering support and commitment to the vision of the ERA, whether by an owner or participant has been overwhelming. The idea of showcasing the best rodeo contestants on one stage through a regular-season format that culminates in a championship event and having it all nationally televised has always been the vision.”

The PRCA said in a statement that “the efforts of the PRCA to protect its members and the association were vindicated.” 

In October, the PRCA enacted bylaws denying anyone with an ownership share in ERA from purchasing a PRCA membership this year and performing in PRCA events.


Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, on the ERA dropping its lawsuit

The ERA sought a preliminary injunction to stop the PRCA from enforcing the new bylaws, pending the outcome of a lawsuit that challenged the PRCA’s right to punish ERA shareholders by withdrawing their memberships. 

On Feb. 4, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn ruled in favor of allowing the PRCA to enforce the bylaws.

Several cowboys were banned from competing in the Feb. 6 finals of the Fort Worth Stock Show, which is sanctioned by the PRCA. 

Lynn, however, denied the PRCA’s motion to dismiss the original lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs have sufficiently and plausibly pled the existence of monopoly power” in arguments against the PRCA, she wrote.

But on Tuesday, the ERA announced it would drop the antitrust lawsuit.

With the legal drama behind them, at least for now, the sport is back in a positive spotlight.

The American

The competitors for Sunday’s The American rodeo at AT&T Stadium in Arlington:

Bareback Riding

Top Ten: Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore., Kaycee Feild, Spanish Fork, Utah, Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, Austin Foss, Terrebonne, Ore., Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn., Will Lowe, Canyon, Jake Brown, Cleveland, Texas, Evan Jayne, Marseille, France; Clint Laye, Cadogan, Alberta, Canada; Bobby Mote, Stephenville.

Semifinals qualifiers: Jake Vold, Ponoka, Alberta; Tyler Nelson, Victor, Idaho; Steven Dent, Mullens, Neb.; Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D.; RC Landingham, Pendleton, Ore.

Steer Wrestling

Top Ten: Hunter Cure, Holliday, Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev.; KC Jones, Las Animas, Colo.; Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont.; Clayton Hass, Terrell, Tanner Milan, Cochrane, Alberta, Canada; Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif.; Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo.; Baylor Roche, Premonton, Utah; Casey Martin, Sulphur, La.

Semifinals qualifiers: Todd Suhn, Hermosa, S.D.; Jacob Burks, Glen Rose, Ark.; Bray Armes, Ponder, Justin Shafer, Hallsville, Olin Hannum, Malad, Idaho, Cody Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta

Exemption: Lee Graves, Calgary, Alberta

Team Roping

Top Ten: Aaron Tsinigine (HD), Tuba City, Ariz., and Ryan Motes (HL), Blanchard, Okla.; Luke Brown (HD), Rock Hill, S.C. and Jake Long (HL), Coffeyville, Kan.; Derrick Begay (HD), Seba Dalkai, Ariz., and Clay O’ Brien Cooper (HL), Gardnerville, Nev.; Trevor Brazile (HD), Decatur, and Patrick Smith (HL), Lipan; Coleman Proctor (HD), Pryor, Okla., and Kory Koontz (HL), Stephenville; Colby Lovell (HD), Madisonville, Texas, and Kollin VonAhn (HL), Blanchard, Okla.; JoJo Lemond (HD), Andrews, and Junior Nogueira (HL), Scottsdale, Ariz.; Clay Tryan (HD), Billings, Mont., and Jade Corkill (HL), Fallon, Nev.; Erich Rogers (HD), Round Rock, Ariz., and Cory Petska (HL), Marana, Ariz.; Chad Masters (HD), Cedar Hill, Tenn., and Travis Graves (HL), Jay, Okla.

Semifinals qualifiers: Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla., and Paul Eaves, Stephenville; Andrew Ward, Edmond, Okla., and Jace Harris, Vilonia, Ark.; Blaine Vick, Dublin, Texas, and Dakota Kichenschlager, Stephenville; Manny Egusquiza, Madison, Ga., and Daniel Braman, Refugio; David Key, Stephenville, and Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, Calif.

Exemption: Jake Barnes, Phoenix, Ariz., and Rich Skelton, Llano; Kaleb Driggers (Triple Crown contender), Albany, Georgia

Saddle Bronc Riding

Top Ten: Jacobs Crawley, Dublin, Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa, Rusty Wright, Milford, Utah, CoBurn Bradshaw, Beaver, Utah, Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb., Jake Wright, Milford, Utah, Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La.

Semifinals qualifiers: Steven Dent, North Platte, Neb., Clay Elliott, Nanton, Alberta, Wyatt Casper, Balco, Okla., Jeremy Meeks, Interior, S.D., Joey Sonnier, New Iberia, La.

Exemption: Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa (Triple Crown contender)

Tie-Down Roping

Top Ten: Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Monty Lewis, Hereford, Marty Yates, Stephenville, Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., Tyson Durfey, Weatherford, Sterling Smith, Stephenville, Timber Moore, Aubrey.

Semifinals qualifiers: Justin Maass, Giddings, Taylor Santos, Creston, Calif., Cooper Matthews, Rio Vista, Cory Solomon, Houston, Randall Carlisle, Beaumont, Braxton Laughlin, Westlake, La.

Exemption: Fred Whitfield, Hockley

Barrel Racing

Top Ten: Callie duPerier, Boerne, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga., Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Cassidy Kruse, Gillette, Wyo., Fallon Taylor, Collinsville, Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Jackie Ganter, Abilene, Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., Nancy Hunter, Neola, Utah.

Semifinals qualifiers: Ivy Conrado, Hudson, Colo., Dustin Angelle, Lafayette, La., Jessica Dunbar, Del Rio, McKenzie Morgan, Medford, Ore., Kelli Barichello, Kennewick, Wash., Rylee Jo Dick, Oakley, Utah, Ashley Shafer, Yoder, Wyo., Derek Diedrich, Goose Lake, Iowa, Mary Smothers, Sinton, Sabrina Ketcham, Sealy.

Exemptions: Lindsay Sears, Nanton, Alberta, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D. (Triple Crown contender)

Bull Riding

Top 10: J. B. Mauney, Mooresville, N.C., Kaique Pacheco, Itatiba, SP, Brazil, Joao Vieira, Itatinga, Spain, Fabiano Vieira, Perola, Brazil, Matt Triplett, Columbia Falls, Mont., Cooper Davis, Jasper, J.W. Harris, Mullin, Tanner Byrne, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, Stetson Lawrence, Williston, N.D., Nathan Schaper, Grassy Butte, N.D.

Semifinals Qualifiers: Mason Lowe, Exeter, Mo., Guilherme Marchi, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wallace de Oliveria, Goiania, Brazil, Pistol Robinson, Burleson, Robson Palermo, Tyler.

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