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Tarleton student wins $1.1 million at rodeo event
Million-Dollar Cowboy Richmond Champion is all smiles on stage while receiving his $1 million prize upon winning the bareback riding event at RFD-TV's The American. Champion, a junior majoring in agriculture at Tarleton and member of the men's rodeo team, secured the record payout for a single rodeo performance after winning $100,000 in his event. (Photo by Andy Watson/RFD-TV THE AMERICAN)

Tarleton State University

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 3, 2014

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Tarleton junior agriculture major Richmond Champion is now known as the “Million-Dollar Cowboy” after winning a record payout for a single performance during RFD-TV’s The American, held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Champion, a 21-year-old bareback rider and member of Tarleton’s rodeo team, made history on March 2 when he earned $1.1 million for his efforts in the arena. The Woodlands, Texas-native was the only qualifier to win his event Sunday, which paid out $100,000, and was one of 46 qualifiers and nine exemptions eligible for the million-dollar side pot.

With the bareback riding title on the line Sunday afternoon, Champion clinched the title with an 8-second, 90-point ride atop a bronc named Show Stopper. It was one of two 8-second rides—the first of which earned him 84 points—that advanced Champion to the four-man final round.

“It will change my life, and The American will change rodeo forever,” Champion told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Champion is currently ranked No. 1 in bareback riding in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Southwest Region standings. In 2013, he won the Southwest Region bareback title and qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo as a member of Tarleton’s men’s rodeo team.

Most recently he split the bareback title in January during the National Western Stock Show in Denver, and enjoyed earnings at both the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo. Those wins have propelled Champion to a fourth-place ranking in the PRCA’s world title hunt as he looks to qualify for his first-ever berth in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas.

Champion’s performance at the Mesquite, Texas, rodeo on Feb. 23 qualified him for a spot in The American after he finished in the top five in his event. As a result of earning a berth through the qualifier system at Mesquite, Champion was eligible for the $1 million payout this past weekend.

“I felt really good coming out of the Mesquite semifinals. It was a huge confidence boost,” Champion said. “When you come to an event like The America you have to set goals. After my second ride it started to hit me that I would have a chance at the million dollars. I never thought for a minute that something like this could happen in my career this soon. But here it is. It’s awesome. I’m pumped.”

For more information about Tarleton Rodeo visit: http://www.tarleton.edu/rodeo.

dingbat

Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System

Contact: Tibba Smith, assistant rodeo coach
254-968-9187
tibbasmith@tarleton.edu

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Million-Dollar Cowboy

Richmond Champion is all smiles on stage while receiving his $1 million prize upon winning the bareback riding event at RFD-TV's The American. Champion, a junior majoring in agriculture at Tarleton and member of the men's rodeo team, secured the record payout for a single rodeo performance after winning $100,000 in his event. (Photo by Andy Watson/RFD-TV THE AMERICAN)