Local cowgirl and owner of Livin’ the Dream Boutique, Katie White, is getting set to make her debut on the world stage of rodeo as she prepares to compete at RFDTV’s The American this weekend.
“It means a lot to me. This is life-changing money. We are just blessed they are giving us breakaway ropers an opportunity to rope on this kind of stage, and we are so thankful for that,” said White of the experience.
RFD–TV’s The American is known as “the world’s richest one-day rodeo” and pays out $2.5 million annually through a series of qualifiers, The Semi-Finals, and the final event, RFD-TV’s The American. The event, held at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, unites the top athletes in the world from the PRCA, WPRA, and PBR world standings and pits them against underdogs who advance from The American Semi-Finals, together to battle for the biggest single paycheck of their lives.
Last year was the first year the event included the ladies breakaway roping. Outside of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA), breakaway roping is rarely seen at any pro-rodeo event.
The WPRA is the oldest women’s sports organization in the country and is recognized as the leader in sanctioning women’s professional rodeo.
“As breakaway roping continues to gain attention and traction in the rodeo industry, the Women’s Professionals Rodeo Association is thrilled to showcase the best our sport has to offer and provide an opportunity for our members to compete for a share of the $85,000 breakaway purse at THE AMERICAN,” said WPRA President Doreen Wintermute in October 2018. “This relationship is important because any money that our members win at WPRA co-approved breakaway qualifiers, THE AMERICAN semi-finals and finals will count toward the 2019 WPRA Breakaway Roping World Standings.”
White is the first local to make it through the qualifying rounds to rope during the big show after qualifying at LT&NJ Productions in Texarkana during January.
“Being able to rope on the biggest stage possible for us breakaway ropers, is the biggest opportunity I am honored to be apart of,” she said.
White, who has been competing since she was 7-years old, will be roping off her gelding Ziptye, who she purchased a few years back and trained with her partner.
“It’s always a great feeling to be able to compete and win on something you trained and then to get to compete at this level on him. I didn’t do all the training, but Colt did. The joke is he’s the trainer I’m the jockey,” she said with a laugh.
Colt, White says, is her biggest supporter on the rodeo road, aside from her son Kollin and her family.
“He helps figure out the start and keeps me calm. Tells me to just do what you do. Also, my little boy, Kollin, tells me, “mom just rope the neck,”’ she said of her coaches.
When it came down to the wire, White said before the qualifiers she had hoped to have had more practice in, but the weather in Lamar County didn’t help with the ground not being optimal to hit the practice pen. So, she said she would be making sure she got in a good workout in the warm-up pens before hitting the arena, setting up against hundreds of other ropers.
“It was a great feeling, a sigh of relief. I got bumped a few times, but when I knew I was in, we were excited to get to go to Jerry’s world!” she said.
Although she said she didn’t draw the best calves during the qualifying rounds, she was prepared to make the most of the draw she had, and it paid off.
As she prepares for the lead up to the “big” stage on Saturday and Sunday at AT&T Stadium where she will rope against some world champions in front of a worldwide viewing audience, she is making the most between now and then as she heads back to Ft.Worth for another big event.
“Right now, we are headed to The Patriot event in Ft. Worth to get some more runs in. I will continue to make runs and practice some this week to make sure my horse is tuned up and ready to go,” White said.
“I’m just thankful for my parents working so hard when I was younger and allowing me to be able to ride horses then get me to this level. Dad is always there to push me to do better and turning many, many calves out for me when I was younger and mounting me on the best horses. Mom was always the supporter, and they both did whatever they could to get me up and down the rodeo road,” she said.
It’s not just her parents, partner, and son that continuously strive to push her to her best and support her on the sidelines, White says her best friend Abby is another cheerleader she couldn’t do without.
Now Lamar County will have to sit and wait for this weekend and hope that one of their homegrown cowgirls can come home with her share of the $1 million purse that is up for grabs and become the next big superstar in the sport of professional rodeo.
“I’m just living the dream running one calf at a time!” White said.
PHOTO: Jackie Jensen Photography-Professional Rodeo Photographer