Article Written by Robert Lang for the Fall Issue of Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine
We can guarantee you’ve never seen a show like the Ultimate Cowboy Showdown. But first, let’s take a look back at the history of reality TV. On May 31, 2000 televisions in the United States tuned to the first season of the reality competition show Survivor, which began America’s fascination with reality TV shows. Over the years, we could watch shows about baking, cars, traveling, and groups of people living together, interacting, and competing, yet there weren’t any shows highlighting the true American cowboy. We did see CMT release a reality TV show called “Cowboy U”, but that show was based on taking city dwellers and putting them up against cowboy tasks, not taking real cowboys and putting their skills to the ultimate test.
That is until, almost twenty years later, in the fall of 2019, INSP aired the only reality competition show that celebrated the life and work of the American Cowboy. “Ultimate Cowboy Showdown” aired on the INSP Network and became an instant hit with fans from around the country. In the first season, America met twelve hard-working cowboys as they gathered at a cattle ranch to compete for the title of the first Ultimate Cowboy.
In that first season, we saw men and women from around the United States compete as they bunked together, ate together, and worked together for the duration of the competition. Represented amongst the competitors were working cowboys, rodeo athletes, and business owners each adding their unique spin. From that very first season, the show still follows the familiar pattern of team competitions where there are eliminations at the end of each episode until one cowboy has been crowned the winner by the host, and country music legend, Trace Adkins.
In addition to the title of being named the first “Ultimate Cowboy”, the first season winner took home $50,000 worth of cattle and equipment to begin or enhance their own herd. Each week the cowboys competed in challenges, designed by professional cowboys, using their skills including riding, roping, and racing, and many other skills integral to the cowboy way of life.
Unlike any other reality show, the Ultimate Cowboy Showdown celebrates the life of real working cowboys and highlights the tradition of the cowboy code. Speaking of cowboy code, it’s part of the show’s landscape that the cowboys and judges discuss taking responsibility for their actions, how they handled themselves, and how they need to improve. Values such as hard work, clear thinking, and good planning are rewarded, and those that fall short are sent packing. The show is a refreshing and much-needed look at the life and contribution of the American cowboy.
All of these elements have been masterfully combined for three seasons of incredibly enjoyable programming, and have introduced Americans to some memorable characters. Each season introduces a new crew of cowboys, competing at a new location. Season One was filmed in Alabama, Season Two in Texas in the summer, and Season Three was filmed in Wyoming in the winter and Trace Adkins is the perpetual host each and every season. I couldn’t think of a better host for a cowboy reality TV show, Trace is direct, clear, and doesn’t pull any punches, proving he is the perfect host for this competition. He handles the situations with humor, and it is clear that he desires each cowboy to work hard and succeed. He has been a great example of a Western icon since we first heard him on country radio in 1996. In addition, he has been on The Celebrity Apprentice twice (he won the second time) and stars in numerous movies.
This fall we will be treated to Season Four of the Ultimate Cowboy Showdown, but this season is for the All-Stars. We will see fourteen familiar faces from the first three seasons, each memorable in their own right, as they battle for their second chance to take home the title and the prizes. Old friendships and rivalries will combine with new relationships to provide what will be the most memorable season to date.
New episodes air on WEDNESDAYS | 8PM ET, visit INSP.com for the schedule and to see all the offerings of the INSP Network.
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