The Rundown: Red Dirt Battle

Get ready for a Red Dirt Battle July 8 in Oklahoma City at Battle in the Saddle, presented by RFD-TV. Admission is free for all spectators.

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal
June 28, 2011

Fred Whitfield and Ryan Jarrett will face-off in the 2011 Battle in the Saddle Match-Roping competition.

PRCA tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett (right) will try his hand against defending Battle in the Saddle Match-Roping Champion Fred Whitfield.

One hails from Texas, the other from Oklahoma. One already has a Battle in the Saddle Match-Roping championship under his belt, while the other will gun for his first chance at a winner-take-all prize of $10,000 at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 8, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

Some might say that Ryan Jarrett of Comanche, Oklahoma, has the upper hand in the battle – Ryan will be battling it out in the match-roping competition at Battle in the Saddle, presented by RFD-TV, on his home turf. And in 2010, home field advantage proved advantageous for Ryan – he won all-around titles at three Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos in Oklahoma.

Since joining PRCA in 2004, Ryan has amassed career earnings of more than $984,000, plus a tie-down roping world championship and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo average title, both of which he won in 2005.

But in the other corner of the ring is Fred Whitfield of Hockley, Texas. In 2010, in a down-to-the-wire match, it was Fred who went home $10,000 richer with the title of the 2010 Battle in the Saddle Match-Roping Champion in a showdown against Hunter Herrin of Apache, Oklahoma.

Fred, a ProRodeo Hall of Famer, joined the PRCA in 1990 and has bankrolled career earnings of $2,981,555. In his 21-year career, Fred has qualified for the WNFR 19 times and has returned from Las Vegas with seven tie-down roping world championships, one all-around title and four WNFR average titles.

The match-roping is just one of many exciting roping events on July 8 at Battle in the Saddle. Both Fred and Ryan will rope five calves in the first section of the match-roping before the junior heading and heeling and senior heading and heeling finals get under way.

After the senior heading and heeling finals, the second section of the match-roping will conclude. Bringing up the end of the evening’s excitement is the steer-stopping portion of the World’s Greatest Horseman Shootout.

During this year’s Battle in the Saddle, which runs July 5-9, competitors will shoot it out in fast-paced, exciting events: ranch horse, barrel racing, working cow horse, roping, cowboy mounted shooting and cutting.

Don’t miss out on the excitement as competitors battle it out for their share of more than $140,000 in added money.

The cutting, barrel racing, cowboy mounted shooting, versatility ranch horse, roping and working cow horse classes are recognized as AQHA special events, with all breeds welcome. American Quarter Horses competing in these events will receive AQHA points and is a great opportunity to earn qualifying points for the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show. The qualifying period ends July 31.

Admission is free to the public for all events July 5-9. In addition to all the excitement in the arena, visitors will also enjoy a trade show and a free Family Fun Day on Saturday, July 9 from 4 – 6 p.m. in Barn 3 with games and activities fun for children of all ages. AQHA On-Site Services will also be available for all your AQHA business needs. AQHA members are encouraged to bring any paperwork and all their questions to the AQHA booth.