Once the Rodeo Round Up team arrived in Texas we were immediately greeted with open arms from the entire staff here working the RFD-TV’s The American. After a few hours of some much needed shut eye, it was time to begin our in-depth coverage of all the happenings surrounding both the RFD-TV’s The American and the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series Iron Cowboy events. These first two days the action would focus on an iconic area of Ft. Worth, Texas as the Stockyards played host to the semi-finals of the RFD-TV’s The American.
Along with the event itself taking place in the historic stockyards area of Ft. Worth it also included one of the most legendary rodeo arenas in the world as the Cowtown Coliseum hosted the action for the second of three nights. The theme of the night seemed to be how the up and coming young superstars of professional rodeo would deal with the nerves of competing for a 1.1 million dollar payday. If last night’s performances were any indication I have a feeling that someone in their teenage years just might be the one collecting the huge payday Sunday afternoon once things are all said and done!
12 Year-Old Wylee Mitchell Competes Thursday Night
Photo Credit: Denise Hetland Photography
In a night where the youngsters took center stage for the most part 12-year-old Wylee Mitchell of Pioche, Nevada, just 3 hours away from Las Vegas, gained thousands of fans on a Thursday night. This young cowgirl was spotlighted during the opening ceremonies and gained the support of each and every fan inside of the cowtown coliseum after her infectious smile and pageant-like wave to the crowd cheering for her. That energy would soon carry over to her amazing run down on the dirt later in the evening!
I had the opportunity to talk to this well-spoken barrel racer and found out what it was like to be in the running for a one-million dollar payday. She did not show one ounce of nervousness but we all know that the wait was weighing on her heavily. That wait would be prolonged as she was the second to last barrel racer to go but that did not have any effect on this talented young lady. Once it was her turn to go she laid down an amazing 14.012-second run to solidly sit sixth in the standings with just ten ladies to go later tonight.
Brenton Hall And Paden Bray Wow The Crowd On Thursday Night
Photo Credit: Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media
As the Thursday night performance continued to raise the bar and set the young guns in the sights of many it would be two team ropers that would leave the sold-out crowd in awe of what they had just witnessed. Two teenage superstars would lay down a blazing 4.00-second run to sit atop the leaderboard with just one run standing between them and a trip across town to the AT&T Cowboy Stadium to compete for one million dollars! Brenton Hall, 17, and his partner Paden Bray, 18, may live 4-hours apart but this is a team that is fastly becoming one to watch in the sport and is making the veterans a little nervous causing them to look over their shoulders in anticipation of what is up and coming in the ranks of team roping!
After they laid down the fastest time over the two days of qualifications they stopped by to chat with me regarding their amazing performance thus far as they strive to reach the Sunday afternoon performance to compete for the 1.1 million dollar payday. I was able to sit down with them for a few minutes to talk about the nerves and how they handle all the emotion that goes along with competing in such a prestigious event like the RFD-TV’s The American. See what they had to say in my sit down interview with them inside the iconic Cowtown Coliseum!
Derek Kolbaba Wins The Bull Riding Thursday Night
Photo Credit: Jenn Swallwell Photography
As the second semi-final round was about to draw to a close there was only one event remaining as the bull riders took the spotlight to see who would advance to tonight’s final round to determine who would head to AT&T Cowboy Stadium Sunday afternoon. Many of the PBR’s top athletes were on display tonight but only one could score 90 points to claim the victory. Walla Walla, Washington’s Derek Kolbaba would conquer his bovine counterpart, Udder Lover, to head to the top level of the coliseum to sit down with me.
Once everything was said and done there would be a spectacular display of athleticism put on as five of the nine competitors were able to earn a score and advance to tonight’s round to set the field for the American on Sunday afternoon. The field of contestants coming into tonight’s final round of the American semi-finals is going to be one for the ages as many of the fan favorites will be competing inside of one arena for the ultimate goal, qualifying for the RFE-TV’s The American and the one million dollar payday across town on Sunday afternoon!
Last night’s event in the legendary Ft. Worth Stockyards was simply amazing. This was the first opportunity I have had in my 15-year rodeo career to witness a performance inside of the Cowtown Coliseum and it blew my mind watching history take place in such an iconic building. As we look forward to tonight’s final round we will set the field for the American Sunday afternoon and watch these amazing young superstars bring the crowds to their feet one more time as we draw the RFD-TV’s The American Semi-Finals to a close for the 2017 edition!
The Rodeo Round Up team have added a few amazing photographers to our list this year to cover even more of the action from Texas and the Iron Cowboy and RFD-TV’s The American events throughout the week. First off is my amazing wife, Denise Hetland, and you can see all of her coverage from her facebook page by clicking the link HERE. Secondly, Jenn Swalwell will be covering some of the action as well and you can see all of her photographs from Texas by clicking her facebook page link HERE. Lastly, Jeana Wilson Kilcrease who shot for us in Oklahoma City and will continue to shoot throughout the year including here in Texas. Follow all of her photographs by visiting her photography page by clicking the link HERE!
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