Q&A with World Series of Team Roping's Denny Gentry on American Partnership
#10 teams will compete on the biggest stage in rodeo at AT&T Stadium, alongside PRCA cowboys and qualifiers at RFD-TV’s The American in 2019, Denny Gentry and Randy Bernard announced May 29.
TRJ: How did this partnership between the World Series of Team Roping and The American come about?
Denny Gentry: Randy Bernard and I have been friends for years, and he was hearing about our tournament concept and felt this could serve both purposes. He’s wanting to push the envelope and do a few things that are different. He wants to tie team roping into it.
TRJ: How will ropers qualify for the #10 at The American, and what are the fees?
DG: There will be qualifying rotations at certain WSTR and USTRC qualifiers. Eventually the tournament fees will be $150/roper, but since we have limited time, we may opt for a one time $200/roper entry fee. We will offer it to all producers if they want to do it. We will have 60 or 70 WSTR left and the rest of the USTRC ropings, too. We’ll be in a race for the next nine months. I’m not worried about hitting what he’s expecting—and I intend to do a lot more.
TRJ: Why do you think World Series and USTRC ropers will respond well to this format?
DG: The recreational or working class ropers know this is a really expensive hobby. They’re here for the money, the excitement, and the adrenaline rush. Sticking those people in front of a 30,000 people crowd—how will it be better than that? That’s bucket list stuff right there. When we first came in, all these working class guys—ranchers and farmers—had always heard of places like Cheyenne and Calgary, and we put on ropings in every one of those facilities so the every day roper could get to feel that way. After a while it wasn’t a big deal, but in the beginning the Lazy E was the newest, greatest thing. Every arena that had a façade to it, we put events on there. The AT&T Stadium is in the top three in the whole world. So if we can place people in the middle of that with a crowd that appreciates what they’re doing, I think you can’t get better than that.
TRJ: How many times can ropers enter the #10 American qualifier?
DG: It will be enter twice.
TRJ: Why was the #10 selected as the key division to highlight at The American?
DG: It has the largest demographics for success.
TRJ: Will the #10 be the traditional 21-and-up WSTR format, or will kids be allowed to rope?
DG: No, 21 and up.
TRJ: Will the #10 roping be on TV like the rest of The American?
DG: Yes, about six teams will run at the beginning of the team roping. Six teams will be roping for hundreds of thousands.
TRJ: What are your long-term plans for growth in this partnership?
DG: They just signed a five-year deal, and we are their at their pleasure. However, the WSTR will probably develop the team concept of trying to produce a million-dollar division on a $150 base entry fee in other divisions. These divisions will not be be held at The American.