When I first got to AT&T Stadium, I found the tucked away media entrance and had my bag searched. I looked around and was so excited to see such a massive place being filled with true rodeo fans and competitors. I joined the group of press and media contributors in the elevator. We were then led halfway around the world it felt like to the media room.
I’m not exceptionally skilled at sitting around. I found a spot to drop my bag off at a table and I was out of there. Walking down to the stadium floor entrance, I paused for just a moment to take in the view. If you think the home of the Cowboys looks big from the seating, you should see it from the floor! I’ve never felt more privileged to feel like I was the size of an ant.
I saw other people with media badges milling around and followed suit. I wanted to get to say hello to the cowboys I had grown up around. Being a seasoned team roper’s daughter, I made my way to the cattle holding pen. I knew they would want to come see what they’d drawn for the round.
One of my favorite things about team ropers and rodeo in general is how welcoming people are. Most of these guys I hadn’t seen in person since I was 12 or 13. They may not have recognized me right away, but once I told them my name they welcomed me with a handshake and a hug. Even the handful that I met for the first time were just as happy to talk with me.
There’s not many sports where you can walk up to top athletes like Trevor Brazile, Derrick Begay, Clay Tryan, Junior Nogueira, and Joe Beaver. But in rodeo and in team roping, you can.
Team roping is a family, and no one can tell me any differently. Each of the cowboys I talked to offered their condolences for the loss of my father, Rickey Green. Most of them added in a memory or two about Dad that made them smile.
One of my favorite stories that I heard over the weekend came from Derrick Begay.
“So I asked your dad, because for a while I was having trouble with my timing,” he told me. “I asked him about timing. Rickey, he leaned in close and asked me if I wanted him to teach me timing.” Derrick laughed before continuing.
“I nodded yes and he slapped me! Then he pulled back his hand to slap me again, and when he swung, I moved my head back away from him,” he said. “Your dad said, ‘see THAT is timing!’”
I am so thankful to get to talk to Derrick, for a shared memory, and for a good laugh.
When the lights started to flicker, I went to the edge of the stage and took a look around at the flashing lights, the massive screen above me, and the arenas to my left and right. As the competitors came out of the tunnel, flames shot into the sky signaling to the world that this would be a sight to see!
Saturday was the long go with 16 teams: the Top 10 from the PRCA and 6 from the Patriot qualifier. The top eight teams would come back the second day. The top three teams were tightly packed with only .16 of a second separating them. When the top eight teams were announced, we were left with four PRCA teams and four qualifiers. The first round was so fast that some expected speed would rule the second day.
Sunday began with the short go. Speed and mistakes helped narrow the field with two no times and one expertly fished on head catch. Luke Brown and Paul Eaves led the round moving into the shoot out.
And then there were four! There’s nothing like a shoot out to end a rodeo, especially when there’s so much on the line. You can feel the whole crowd tense up. I even caught myself holding my breath at one point.
While some may have thought the American was about speed, it proved to be about consistency. Only two teams got a time in the final round. Riley and Brady Minor started out strong with a 4.75 second run. That was going to be tough to beat, and the guys knew it. Everyone was trying to be fast, but only one other team caught, and man did they do it quick! Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes won the American with a 4.24 and took home over $400,000!
At the end of the weekend, consistency ruled the day as it often does. As competitors, it can be tempting to only want to make fast runs. It’s important not to get carried away in the flash of the lights and the roar of the crowd. Before you can make a fast run, you have to catch first, even at the American.
Congratulations to Coleman Proctor, Ryan Motes, and all the other winners at the 2019 RFD-TV’s The American!
Be on the lookout for more blog posts as I bring you interviews from the American and other news! Until next time!
– Whitney Green