They’re gutsy. They’re tough. They’re fired up to win. There’s only one person standing between them and the prize of a lifetime—the ultimate judge, Trace Adkins.
Season two of Ultimate Cowboy Showdown kicks off with the arrival of fourteen real-life cowboys to the sprawling Texas ranch where they’ll call home until only one remains. As they set up camp in the sweltering heat, they make their introductions and size up the competition. While getting better acquainted, personalities clash, and alliances form. In the first of many challenges, the cowboys work in teams to sort gold-tagged cattle from a mixed herd. When miscommunication affects a team’s performance, they have to answer to Trace. After consulting with two expert judges, Trace eliminates the team member who didn’t pull their weight. As the eliminated contestant hits the trail, the remaining thirteen breathe a sigh of relief and prepare for the next challenge.
The thirteen remaining cowboys face their first immunity challenge that tests their individual skills. The contestants race to score the fastest time in barrel racing and calf roping. While most cowboys impress Trace and the judges, only one will be safe from the next elimination. For the team challenge, the cowboys take on a group of untrained horses that they have to break, saddle, and ride. In the end, it all comes down to strategy, and the team that thinks ahead takes the win. After a few choice words, teammates lock horns, determined to out-cowboy the other. When an unexpected cowboy heads home, the rest of the contestants realize every move they make counts in this competition.
The twelve remaining cowboys saddle up for another immunity challenge —tournament-style pasture roping. The contestant who ropes and tie-downs a steer the fastest won’t be on the chopping block during the next elimination. Guest judge, eight-time PRCA Champion Fred Whitfield, joins Trace and the other judges to help narrow down the immunity buckle winner. The cowboys compete in a grueling relay race for the elimination challenge that tests their horsemanship and showcases various riding skills. The relay race takes its toll on a contestant’s horse, slowing down the blue team. After an avoidable mistake, the green team suspects one of their own of sabotage. Trace ups the ante, sending two cowboys home and leaving the rest in shock.
Now down to ten cowboys, the competition continues with an all-new immunity challenge that focuses on a whole different aspect of cowboyin’ — business acumen. The contestants must prove they know the cattle market by estimating the value of various livestock at auction. Trace asks the contestants to continue to train the colts from the last elimination challenge, but they struggle to develop a plan that will work for everyone. The elimination challenge tests the contestants’ team strategy, roping, and speed. Each team has forty-five minutes to collect fifteen gold ear tags from mixed herds in two different pastures. Frustrations build when the green team has trouble with the pens, and a cattle escapes during the blue team’s run. As the competition intensifies, one cowboy tries to get rid of his biggest competition. Unimpressed by how the teams handled the challenge, Trace shakes things up by sending two cowboys home.
With only eight cowboys left, the competition is neck-and-neck, and everyone has their eyes set on the immunity buckle. The immunity challenge tests their speed and control on horseback in a tournament-style battle, and they go head-to-head until only one remains. Two teammates, who have had it out for each other from the start, decide to set their differences aside for the team’s greater good, and to their surprise, they work well together. In the elimination challenge, each team has to sort a herd of cattle by their ear tag colors and drive them into three separate corrals. The blue team comes together to implement a strategy that proves to be effective. The green team makes a risky decision that could cost them the challenge. During elimination, a contestant throws their biggest rival under the bus yet again. Trace sends another cowboy packing.
Only seven cowboys remain, eager for the chance to prove they can win it all. The immunity challenge examines each cowboy’s patience and control in a point system challenge. The contestant with the highest score won’t have to sweat the next elimination round. When it looks like it might come down to a tie, the last cowboy to ride prevails. In the two-part elimination challenge, the contestants must gather and load a herd into a trailer before racing off to a neighboring field where they must doctor a few yearlings in open pasture. The green team starts strong, but a few wrong moves have major repercussions. On the blue team, a cowboy takes the lead, curious to see if his teammate will sink or swim under pressure. The elimination comes down to two rivals who don’t hold back when it comes to letting Trace know why the other should go home. In the end, Trace sends the cowboy whose heart doesn’t seem to be in it to win it, but they don’t go quietly.
The remaining six contestants battle it out for the immunity belt buckle with an old-fashioned horse race. Two-by-two, they race over rough terrain, ravines, and a pond until the three winners go up against each other to win safety from elimination. Two cowboys bond over their rodeo experience and confide in each other about their past. The elimination challenge tests the cowboys’ ability to drive cattle out of hazardous and rugged terrain. Using only the map provided, each team has to locate three stray steers and drive them back to a trailer. The blue team comes up with a smart strategy, but one member grabs the wrong steer, sending the rest of the team searching for a steer they’ll never find. The green team works together and creates a streamlined plan that they execute with ease. During elimination, one cowboy doesn’t fret throwing their teammate under the bus if the result means staying in the game. Trace sends the cowboy, who acts too much on impulse, packing.
It’s now down to the top five cowboys. In the last immunity challenge of the season, Trace tests the competitors’ cattle IQ with a trivia challenge — the cowboy way. For every true or false question, the cowboys must rope a steer wearing a sign with the correct answer to earn a point, and the cowboy with the most points wins. One cowboy’s strategy to hang back and let the other contestants take themselves out backfires. In the elimination challenge, Trace gets rid of the teams! It may be every cowboy for themself, but they still have to work together to separate two bulls from a herd of cattle. The cowboys debate over how to get the job done, but they eventually reach an agreement. When their plan quickly goes south and puts them all in danger, two cowboys lock horns, and the arena heats up during elimination. The judges make a major revelation about the challenge, and the cowboy with a bossy attitude gets the boot.
The competition takes a new turn now that it’s down to the top four cowboys. This time around, there’s no immunity challenge, and teams are a thing of the past. Every cowboy stands on their own, and one wrong move could cost them the competition. The cowboys have two shots at making it to the final three with a twopart elimination challenge. In Part One, the first cowboy to rope, drive and load two steers and their horse in a trailer wins. Two cowboys are neck and neck the entire round, but only one comes up on top. Part two’s obstacle course tests the contestants’ control and handling of the unruly colts they’ve been training since early on in the competition. But just when the finish line is in view, Trace throws a curveball into the competition that catches the cowboys off guard. While some thrive under the pressure, ultimately, the cowboy that can’t adapt in the moment goes home.
In the season finale of Ultimate Cowboy Showdown, the top three competitors cowboy up for a chance to win it all. Trace sits down with each cowboy to talk about what winning would mean to them before announcing the Ultimate Cowboy Showdown winner.