BUCKEYE, AZ —Katie Garthwaite of Merritt, BC and originally Oregon, has qualified for The American Semi-Finals in Mesquite, Texas on February 21-23, 2014. As one of fifty barrel racers who qualified for the event, she will compete to be one of the top ten advancing to The American on March 2 at Arlington, Texas’ AT&T Stadium.
Garthwaite finished in eighth place aboard her horse Frenchie at the Buckeye, Arizona Qualifier, the final qualifying race for the 2014.
“This was the first qualifier I entered. I was eighth. It was such a crazy tight race there was a 16.8 that happened in the first five to run then after that 16.9’s were there and Frenchie was a 17.033. Last place was a 17.055 so it was so crazy tight.”
The eighth place finish put her in the money.
“They paid the first 9 spots in Buckeye. So I was able to win my money back and won $612. First place won somewhere around $2,200, I think.”
The warmer weather was something that Garthwaite is looking forward to heading into the semi-finals.
“It has been a really long time since I have been to Texas to any rodeos. Mike and I are going to enter a few along the way. My horses took a bit to adjust to the warmer weather down here in Arizona, I was feeling pretty bad for them as they came from -10 to 65-70 degrees. They are starting to shed off now I have told my husband that we can’t go home now.”
New to many, The American offers a unique spin on the tradition rodeo format. In this case, the top 10 barrel racers in the world, the top ten contestants who made it through all the qualifiers and semi-finals and the Exemption will make up the field of twenty one. All twenty one competitors will have one run, with the top 4, after that run, moving on to a shootout round that will determine the champion and reserve champion. This will not be an average on 2 runs but rather a one run determination. The champion will win $100,000 and the reserve champion will win $25,000. In the event, that the champion came from the pen of qualifiers rather than the top 10 in the world, they will place themselves in a pot for the chance to win $1,000,000.
Garthwaite weighed in on the format.
“I had just seen where there was a chance to win a lot of money and I wanted to have my name down for that chance. I think it all comes back to the fastest time. I do like an average way of things but shoot sometimes just letting it all hang out for one run is good too! It will be a pretty wicked tough race.”
Garthwaite joins fellow barrel racer Nina Smith and bronc rider Dustin Flundra to the Semi-Finals in Mesquite. Bull Rider Tanner Byrne has already qualified for his shot at the million dollar prize on March 2nd.
For more information on The American, the Semi-Finals or to view the qualifiers visit www.rfdtv.com.