Bronc riding champ coming back for richest rodeo

6-time bronc riding world champion Mortensen coming out of retirement for richest rodeo

Associated Press

Six-time bronc riding world champion Dan Mortensen is coming out of retirement to compete in the richest one-day rodeo.

Mortensen, the first roughstock cowboy in the history of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to earn more than $2 million in career earnings, has accepted the first exemption invitation to compete in the AMERICAN event on March 2 at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium.

Event organizers announced Mortensen's entry Monday.

There is a potential purse of $2 million, which each rodeo event paying $100,000 for first place and $25,000 for second. Qualifiers will be entitled to share in a $1 million side purse.

The 44-year-old Mortensen, a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, retired in 2008.

"I've been out of bronc riding and western sports for a while now. I've missed matching my physical and mental skills against powerful and impressive animals in the arena," Mortensen said. "THE AMERICAN allows me to get back into the saddle to compete in the sport I love, while being part of this historic event that gives us a shot at some of the biggest payouts ever."

Mortensen won one All-Around World title in 1997. The last of his six world titles in bronc riding came in 2003, which tied him with Casey Tibbs for the most.

Randy Bernard, one of the event organizers, said Mortensen was selected "for his sheer talent, sportsmanship and record in the arena."

Other participants will be determined by five qualifying events for each rodeo event in the weeks before the March 2 competition.

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