Promoter accuses 2 star calf ropers of rigging rodeo

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) A rodeo promoter is suing two star calf ropers, accusing them of rigging an event in Arlington, Texas, last year so that they could get a cut of a possible $1 million prize.

RFD-TV Events made the allegations in a lawsuit Tuesday against three-time world champion calf roper Tuf Cooper and the world's current top-ranked roper, Timber Moore. The alleged scheme centered on a bonus reward for those who qualified for the event rather than being invited, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (http://bit.ly/2aMkSaE ) reported. Qualifiers could earn up to $1 million from a ''side pot'' for winning any of seven competitions at The American Rodeo on March 1, 2015.

Cooper and Moore agreed to throw a competition to improve a qualifier's chances. The qualifier won the event, with Cooper finishing second and Moore third, and all three were to split the winning check of $517,000 - $100,000 for the first-place finish and $417,000 from the ''side pot,'' the lawsuit alleged.

However, rodeo organizers soon learned of the scheme and stopped payment on the check, the lawsuit said. RFD-TV Events now wants to recover other prize money earned by Cooper and Moore up to $100,000.

A telephone message left by The Associated Press for Cooper at Elite Rodeo Athletes, of which he is a member, was not returned Wednesday. A message left by the AP on Moore's cellphone also was not returned.

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Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com

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