By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (March 2, 2015) — Reese Riemer has been to rodeo’s biggest events, including the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
But nothing, he says, compares to the RFD-TV The American, which held its finals for the second Sunday in front of 42,563 in attendance at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, that’s a 12,” said Riemer of The American. “That rodeo alone, just the production, is heads and tails above nothing I’ve been to or that anyone else has competed at.”
And for Riemer, 24, The American proved to be life altering from a financial standout. The former Tarleton State University competitor made it through qualifying, into the short go then won the tie-down roping in 7.25 seconds Sunday night, edging three-time world champ Tuf Cooper for $600,000.
There is a $1-million bonus to be split between competitors who reach the finals through qualifying then defeats the entire field of the world’s top 10. Riemer and bareback rider, Taylor Price, of Huntsville, each achieved the feat, and each took home $500,000 in bonus money on top of the $100,000 for winning their events.
“For me to even say that amount is unreal, and it’s not just me. I look around and KC Jones, Wade Sundell and Kaleb Driggers, they won $100,000,” said Riemer. “You can go to the Wrangler National Finals for 10 days and rope against the best in the world for 10 straight nights, and if you have a good run you might win 100,000.”
“That’s what’s so crazy about The American. It’s one day, best of the best, and if you win it, wow. It’s unreal the opportunity it’s putting forward for the cowboys. It’s exceptional and unheard of in our sport,” he added. “I think it’s just going to continue to grow and get better. I’m excited to see where it is in 10 years. It might get to where every event winner gets a million or half a million and change a lot of people’s lives.”
Riemer will use the money to make life easier, not only for himself on the road competing, but for his ranching family back home in Stinnett, Texas.
“My dad and I, we partner on a bunch of cattle. The ranch has been in the family for since the turn of the (last) century, so when I’m not on the road rodeoing I’m back there playing real cowboy,” explained the 2014 WNFR qualifier. “Ranching life is hard, and with this money, life will be a lot easier for a while.”
Riemer, who finished 15th in the world in tie-down roping last year, said his time at Tarleton helped prepare him for life as a professional cowboy.
“Tarleton has a great program, especially for the rodeo kids. It’s kind of a central hub for college rodeo, the best of the best. “Kids from all over the country one down here, and it kind of makes up the standard for college rodeo,” Riemer said. “There are rodeos close, so you can compete all year long, and in the long run, that helps you grow as a competitor and as an athlete. The two years I spent at Tarleton really helped shape and prepare me for professional rodeo.”
For Riemer, the biggest of goals remains the same, and it’s no different than that of many other young cowboys.
“I’m chasing that gold buckle. Everyone wants to be the world champion, and that’s definitely what I’m chasing,” he said. “But this title is definitely life changing. From now on, I’ll be recognized as someone who won The American as a qualifier. That’s a title I will definitely wear proudly.”