Ohio's Justin McMillion and Kentucky's William Evans won the World Series of Team Roping's American Cowboy #10 in RFD-TV's The American with a time of 35.51 seconds on four head, worth $70,000.
"I just wanted to go out there and do my job, let my heeler throw his rope. He did it and we finished," McMillion said. "We were just going for a check. I’m just happy to be taking it back East with us. It means a lot. I’ve got a baby on the way. It’s going to help out with everything to just keep entering and having fun—doing what I love."
Backing into the box at the AT&T Stadium was a dream come true for these ropers, facilitated by the World Series of Team Roping’s American Cowboy tournament-style concept. Despite the nerves and excitement, McMillion and Evans went in there making one of the best runs of their life.
"You know, it’s a little chaotic back there, and you’re just not wanting to be late," Evans said. "When you get in there and you back in everything just blacks out and you just go do your job. Honestly, I don’t even remember throwing my loop. I can’t wait to see the video and refresh my memory. It will probably make it real."
Despite the blacked out memory, McMillion and Evans were 8.26 seconds on their short-round steer to take home the win, including The American buckles, guns, saddles and more.
"They didn’t say that we won saddles and guns—we were just hoping to get a buckle,” Evans, who runs his own construction company said. "To get the buckle was amazing—it’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. Then to add everything else on top is just crazy. We represented the Southeast. There were a lot of friends that stopped what they were doing today to watch it."
In the heat of it all, McMillion was encouraged by none other than All-Around World Champion Junior Nogueira before he backed in the heading box to rope for the big money.
"Junior came up to me and just said, ‘do you'." McMillion, who farms for a living, said. "It was just unbelievable. Being able to rope in the same pen as those guys, and in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, it’s unbelievable."
Evans was more than thrilled to have three-time World Champion Header Clay Tryan ask him questions about the roping.
"It’s not real," Evans said. "Clay Tryan came up to me asking me what was going on and when it was going to happen, what was going to happen. I mean, I’m nobody so it’s neat to see your idols and the guys you watch on TV, and to be right there with them. I know I’ll never compete against them, but I want to compete against them. Even though I won’t beat them, I want to compete against them and this is the opportunity to do that."
McMillion rode Montana, his 19-year-old bay gelding to give Evans a good handle on the little red steer.
"That’s just my all-around horse," McMillion said with tears in his eyes. "My kids ride him at the youth rodeos. I keep saying I’m going to retire him."
Evans' has a deep connection with his 15-year-old sorrel mare, Cracker.
"I’ve had that little mare for 15 years now,” Evans, who paused to take a heartfelt moment to think about his special mare, said. "I made her. She’s a nice little horse that does her job. She probably caught that steer for me. She’s special. We can’t go up and down the road without them. When you own a horse for 15 years and you put the time and effort into them—the vet bills, the feed—it pays off. Does it pay for everything, no, but the memories and the emotion in front of this, there’s no words or money that could explain it."
McMillion and Evans got their qualification spot at Johnny Johnson's JX2 NTRL Finals in Florida. Then they ran their last three steers before advancing to The American at the #10 American Cowboy NRS Rope-Off in Decatur, Texas, where Evans was surprised by his two kids who flew in to watch him compete.
"We entered down there and had our match roping in Florida," Evans said. "I like the match roping. I think it’s awesome. It gives everyone a chance to get here. Decatur was an awesome facility. The cattle have been outstanding everywhere we’ve been. They didn’t set it up for failure."
When you ask McMillion what he is going to do with his share of $70,000, he says he's going to keep entering and put it towards his new baby on the way. Evans on the other hand is putting it toward a new horse to help him and Cracker down the road.
"I’m going to go find something that fits me and try to move on up and continue this journey," Evans said. "It’s what we chase. Once it’s in your blood, it’s there, and now it’s not going to be easy to quit."
American Cowboy #10 Results:
1. Justin McMillion and William Evans, 35.51 seconds on four head, worth $70,000
2. Cassie Hambrick and Mike Hughes, 37.14 seconds on four head, worth $54,600
3. Shawn Felton and JB Kirchenschlager, 44.90 seconds on four head, worth $41,600
4. Heath Crofford and Curtis McKnight, 49.50 seconds on four head, worth $36,600
5. Josh Wilderson and Slade Wittbeck, 51.48 seconds on four head, worth $30,600
6. Terry Crawford and Murphey Black, 56.85 seconds on four head, worth $25,600
7. Jorge Ramirez and Gilberto Porras, 59.21 seconds on four head, worth $21,600
8. Karen Little and Willie Moreland, 26.46 seconds on three head, worth $19,600
9. Natie Johnson and Eddie R. Scogin, 31.20 seconds on three head, worth $17,600
10. Bobby Jean Colyer and Scott Myers, 33.15 seconds on three head, worth, $14,600