TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — A Tulsa native is getting some national attention in the rodeo arena.
William Whayne is competing in one of the country’s biggest rodeos with the chance to win over $2 million.
Whayne, better known by his family and friends as "Humpty", says this is something he’s prepared for his whole life.
“There's not very many things you can do in this world to win $2.1 million, and to have the opportunity to rope for $2.1 million, it's just a blessing,” he said.
Whayne qualified for The American Rodeo after winning the Guts and Glory television show.
“The more and more I thought about it, I was like, 'Man, what else are you doing other than roping every day, so you might as well take a chance at changing your life,' and so that's what I did,” said Whayne.
He, his wife, and daughter all packed up, leaving the practice arena in north Tulsa, heading down to Fort Worth for the big show.
“It's just another rodeo," he said. "I can't look at it like, 'Oh man, I got a chance to win $2.1 million,' because in the end, I just got to score good, rope the neck, and tie,” said Whayne.
He knows he has some stiff competition, but says just being able to show his skills as a Black cowboy is a prize in itself.
"To be in this spotlight, right here at the end of Black History Month is big to me because there may be some other kids, some other Black kid, sitting at home wondering what should they do in life," Whayne said. "I'm gonna tell you, grab life by the horns and let it roll because, if you keep sitting back, you'll never know what you can accomplish, that's for sure.”
As Tulsa is cheering him on, he says he plans to use the money to give help others right here in his hometown.
“There's not very many opportunities around here for us, so you got to create the opportunity, and I feel like I created this opportunity for myself, and if I was fortunate enough to go win $2.1 million, I'm going to change somebody else’s life,” said Whayne.
He is set to compete in the final contenders round Friday night at 7 p.m.
If he wins, that he will move on to the top 10 round, and he'll be one step closer to winning the grand prize.