I made it! The top 50 teams (10 from each of 5 qualifying ropings) competed at The American Semi-Finals in Mesquite, Tx. last Friday. Everybody ran 2 steers, and the top 20 teams on 2 steers advanced to the performances. The fastest 5 times on one steer out of those 20 teams would advance to the biggest one day rodeo in the history of the sport! 10 teams roped Saturday evening in the first performance and I was up Sunday afternoon in the matinee performance. After the Sat. perf there was a 5.1, two 5.4s, a 6.0 and 6.2 was 5th place progressing to The American. Cale Markham and I where 4th to go Sunday. The first 3 teams all took no times. Cale got a good start, reached and got it on him fast. This was not a "just catch" senario like the final round of a big rodeo or jackpot usually are. With 6 teams behind us I really thought a short 5 second run would be the cut to the top 5. The steer we had was pretty lively. I heeled him the 2nd jump off the corner and we where 4.9. We ended up finishing 2nd overall for around 8k each and more importantly a progression to Arlington, Tx. I have had some big wins and losses in my career but this is definitely one of the highlights. I am not a very outwardly emotional person. I am really excited about this opportunity. I heard about The American last fall and I was immediately excited about the opportunity to rope there. I didn't rope well enough at the NFR and finished outside the top 10 in PRCA World Standings. I still had an opportunity to get in "the hard way"; Thru the qualifiers and semi finals. The process to get thru was pretty tough. It came down to 1 steer. My partner roped him fast and if I caught him I made it. I'm really blessed to have this opportunity.
The American is an 18(10 from 2013 Standings, 5 from qualifiers and semi-finals, and 3 exemptions) team progressive format. The top 4 on 1 steer progress to another 1 head go-round where the event winner will win $100k and 2nd pays $25k. There is a separate pot for the contestants who qualified through the qualifiers and semi-finals and the Exemptions. It is a One Million Dollar pot. The original 10 from standings are not eligible for this pot. You must win 1st place overall in your event to be eligible. There is a possibility that there will be multiple, eligible event winners. (ex. Cale and I are Both Qualifiers) In the case that there are multiple winners the pot will be split up to 8 times if every event was won by an eligible contestant.
God Bless, RopeBetter,
Buddy Hawkins II