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Hall-of-Fame Steer Wrestler Ote Berry to Return for World’s Richest One-Day Rodeo
Written by: Julie Mankin< Back to Articles
Nashville, Tenn. – One of rodeo’s legendary champions is coming out of retirement to compete in RFD-TV’s $2.5 million rodeo, The American presented by Polaris Ranger, on March 1 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
At 52 years old, Pro Rodeo Hall-of-Famer Ote Berry will be competing in one of the most physically demanding events – steer wrestling. He climbed back into the saddle in 2014 after nearly a decade of retirement specifically to accept an exemption invitation to The American. The rodeo is the first to invite retired legends and up-and-coming kids to compete against the best rodeo athletes in the world for a share of millions of dollars. Berry astounded fans inside Cowboys Stadium last year by nearly qualifying for the top-four finals. The standing ovation he received has become an iconic moment in professional rodeo.
“I’d have loved to have some 50-year-old man come try to beat me back in my prime,” said Berry. “It’s an amazing concept. I said last year that I wanted to go back to The American even if it meant untying calves or working on the crew. The atmosphere was so electric it just made me glad to be in the building. I doubt there was a person there who didn’t think it was the greatest one day of rodeo we’ve ever seen in the history of the sport.”
Berry turned pro in 1982. He qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo in 1985 and won his first world championship that same year. During a career that spanned a quarter-century, he qualified for the NFR 13 more times and won three more world titles in 1990, 1991 and 1995.
“We’re honored to have Ote join us on March 1 as one of our exemption athletes,” said Randy Bernard, CEO of RFD-TV Events. “He’s always been a great ambassador to the sport of rodeo and to the state of Oklahoma. The fact that he’s coming out of retirement to compete proves that The American is about the fans and the athletes.”
Berry is the fifth rodeo celebrity to accept an exemption into the event, joining eight-time world champion team ropers Speed Williams and Rich Skelton, 11-time world champion barrel racer Charmayne James and eight-time world champion tie-down roper Fred Whitfield. The American takes over the home of the Dallas Cowboys for the second straight year with the collective cash prize package coming to an unprecedented $2.5 million.
Tickets for the American Semi-Finals at the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, Feb. 18-22, are available for $40 per single day or a three-performance package of $100, not including taxes. They can be purchased at the Cowtown Coliseum box office, at stockyardsrodeo.com, or americanrodeo.com
Tickets for RFD-TV’s The American, presented by Polaris Ranger, and the Iron Cowboy VI are on sale at the AT&T Stadium Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations and at americanrodeo.com. Prices for each event range from $20 to $150, not including taxes.