The All American ProRodeo Series was created in order to offer new professional and weekend cowboys the opportunity to win more money at the smaller PRCA rodeos held throughout the year. It also gives them a chance at a very large purse if they choose to pursue that venue.
For the cowboys and cowgirls who work the normal 8-5 job, the PRCA wanted to let them know that they value their membership and sportsmanship as much as the full-time cowboys and cowgirls and that is why the All American ProRodeo Series were created.
The All American ProRodeo Series replaced the once Heartland ProRodeo Series which was centered around Texas rodeos and had different rules and guidelines. The guidelines of the All American ProRodeo Series state that PRCA and WPRA members must go to an additional 10 rodeos a year and must compete in at least 30 All American rodeos over the course of a season, and unlike the Heartland ProRodeo Series, the All American ProRodeo Series rodeos are distributed across the country.
The finals were held this past weekend in Waco, Texas at the Extraco Events Center and cowboys and cowgirls from all across the U.S. pointed their rigs towards the heart of Texas in hopes of securing a championship title.
In the bareback riding, Winn Ratliff was crowned the champion. He rode Pickett Rodeo’s Top Flight to the win with a beautiful 90-point ride. Ratliff is an NFR qualifier and actually started out in his rodeo career as a bull rider. It wasn’t until his sophomore year of college rodeo that he was convinced to give bareback riding a try in order to improve his bull riding. He has qualified for NFR again this year and will be one to watch in Vegas, especially after coming off a heater such as this!
In the steer wrestling, Gonzales, Louisiana cowboy Tyler Waguespack took home the bacon when he was crowned the champion. His consistency throughout the All American ProRodeo Finals secured him the championship. He placed in both rounds of his bracket, placed 3rd in the semi-finals and won the finals. He will be making his second trip to the NFR in December, sitting #3 in the world.
Jake Cooper and Tyler McKnight better get used to the nicknames “All-American Boys” now that they are the 2016 All American ProRodeo Series Team Roping Champions. The dynamic duo stayed consistent throughout the finals and earned them a spot in the finals on Sunday. They won the final round with a time of 9.5-seconds to edge out Tom Richards and Russell Cardoza.
Big Rafter Rodeo Company’s Pearl gave CoBurn Bradshaw one heck of a ride to clench Bradshaw the championship among some of the best bronc riders in the business. Bradshaw also had consistency on his side, placing 2nd in the first round of this bracket, winning the second round of this bracket, winning the semi-finals and then the finals with his 88-point ride aboard Pearl. He will be headed back to Vegas to December for his second straight NFR Qualification, with his lovely wife, Rebecca, at his side.
26-year-old Caleb Smidt had an incredible 2015 rodeo season, winning the world in the tie down roping and this year, he hasn’t much slowed down, claiming the championship in the tie down roping in Waco. Smidt roped his calf in 8.8-seconds in the first round of his bracket to win the round, and then roped his second calf in 8.3-seconds to place 3rd in the second round of his bracket. In the semi-finals, Smidt tied for second with Cody Quaney with a run of 8.4-seconds. It was Seth Hall who won the semi-finals with a blistering 7.9-second run, however in the finals, Smidt proved to be a force to reckon with, tying his calf in the fastest run of the entire rodeo of 7.2-seconds, securing him the win.
America’s sweetheart Stevi Hillman has had a fairytale year out on the rodeo trail. She qualified for her very first NFR in December and just won the All American ProRodeo Series in the barrel racing. Hillman was riding the gorgeous palomino mare Morning Traffic who she just recently won Pendleton on. She and “Martini” stayed consistent in both rounds of their bracket and placed in the semi-finals, earning them a spot in the finals where she blew the doors off the rest of the girls with a time of 15.73, a new arena record.
In the steer roping, Scott Snedecor and Cody Lee tied for the average win with a time of 33.1 on three head. Both Snedecor and Lee proved to be faces of consistency throughout their brackets to give them both the best total time on three.
Ballard, Utah bull rider Dalan Duncan had a pretty good 2016 rodeo season, finishing 18th in the world standings. This past weekend his earned himself another championship to add to his resume, winning the bull riding in Waco. The competition and stock were tough but that didn’t scare Duncan. He rode 4L Diamond S Rodeo’s Go Texan to the final round win with a 86-point ride, one of the highest scoring points of the rodeo.