World champs to compete for The American slots |

World champs to compete for The American slots

Rich Skelton (foreground) honors the American flag during last year’s The American alongside fellow legends Fred Whitfield, Clay O’Brien Cooper and Jake Barnes. Three of the four will match in San Antonio on Feb. 10 for a 2016 exemption (Cooper is already invited).
Andy Watson |

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 14, 2016 – RFD-TV announced today a series of matches between some of the most decorated cowboys and cowgirls in history.

On Feb. 10, a dozen individuals will saddle up at the San Antonio (Texas) Rose Palace armed with the skills that have earned them 54 gold buckles in professional rodeo. They’ll compete head-to-head for exemptions into RFD-TV’s The American, presented by Polaris Ranger, on Feb. 28. There, they’ll have a shot at winning $1 million!

The network already announced an epic match for an exemption that day between tie-down roping legends Cody Ohl and Fred Whitfield, using different score lengths and different-sized calves. The two have earned 14 world championships between them. And that same day, Feb. 10, there will be three other big timed-event matches at the same venue.

Rope Myers, 46, won the gold buckle in steer wrestling in 2001 and has wrestled his way to $1.2 million. Myers, who has been hosting steer wrestling camps and clinics, told Justin McKee recently, “I can still slam ’em.” He will match Lee Graves, 44, who earned two world titles (in 2005 and 2009) and has earned $1.6 million.

“It’s go time,” said Graves. “I’ve been shoeing horses and ranching in Canada, so maybe I can cut back on that and make some money I know how to make.”

Also, world champion barrel racers Lindsay Sears and Kelly Kaminski will face off, likely with the requirement they’ll each ride two different horses. Kaminski won two world titles back-to-back in 2004-05, and Sears was the world champ in 2008 and 2011.

And the match in team roping could be the most talked-about, ever. It pits a round-robin-style format among six legends who own a staggering 32 gold buckles, including headers Jake Barnes (7), Speed Williams (8) and Tee Woolman (3); pairing with heelers Allen Bach (4), Rich Skelton (8) and Walt Woodard (2).

Get your tickets to the Gold Buckle Matches in San Antonio by calling (817) 599-7681. For more information, visit or

And to buy your tickets to the American Semi-Finals in Fort Worth, Feb. 17-21, and/or The American in Arlington on Feb. 28, plus the PBR’s Iron Cowboy on Feb. 27, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or visit

For more information, visit, and Twitter with handle @RFDTVAmerican. To follow trends, it’s #TheAmerican.