Ty Murray may have entered the competition on shaky ground, but he exited Dancing With the Stars last night triumphant, as one of four couples to make the semifinals and one of the show's biggest success stories ever. “No one expected me to make it past week one,” Ty tells In Touch. “So to make it as the fourth-best dancer on the show is incredible.” Ty credits all of his newfound skills to partner Chelsie Hightower, whom he admits he and wife and Jewel would love to adopt. And when you consider he beat the likes of rapper Lil’ Kim and Belinda Carlisle to secure his top four placing, it’s a pretty amazing feat.
The three remaining couples, Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke, Shawn Johnson and
Mark Ballas, and Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani, will each dance freestyle
next week in what is to be the closest finale in the show's eight-season
For more with the eliminated couple, click here.
Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower
Eliminated: May 12
“It was time for me to go.”
Are you okay that the show has ended for you?
Ty: We felt like we had a whole army of people behind us cheering us on, and that motivated us to keep working. I’m not going to lie, I am tired of learning dances. I am so glad I don’t have to learn two more this week, but it’s one of those things. If America had kept us on, it would have been the motivation to go another week. I don’t have a dancer's bone in my body and at this point, with the three couples left, they are such good dancers — it was time for me to get out of their way and let them have their competition. It was time for me to go.
Chelsie: I feel awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better celebrity. He was so great to work with and a such a nice guy. No diva-ness, which is a huge thing for me. To come as far as we did is remarkable. Ty worked so hard.
Ty: I think Jewel will be glad to have me back. I achieved everything I wanted to, had fun, and have zero regrets. I just don’t want to learn any more dances.
Were you worried about the freestyle next week?
Ty: For me, you can name all the dances — it doesn’t matter — I am starting from square one. Be it freestyle or whatever, I still don’t know the names of all the dances.
Are you proud of what Chelsie did with you?
Ty: This experience for her was like teaching a blind guy to paint. Chelsie had her work cut out for her and did a great job. I loved that Len gave her a shout-out. She’s 19 years old and her first year on the show they gave her a block of wood, and every Wednesday she’d start carving away. I looked at pictures of us dancing — it’s amazing. She says more with a smile than most people can by talking all week.
Chelsie: He is so sweet!
What did the show do for you professionally?
Ty: I am a founder and owner of the PBR [Professional Bull Riders Association], and that’s something that I am more proud of than anything I have done in my career. Before the organization was founded, professional riders would gross about $150,000 a year — now we have guys making up to $2 million a year in the arena. I did the show to bring awareness to cowboys and our sport of bull riding. We have a great sport and are great athletes both physically and mentally, doing a dangerous sport, and this show helped do that in spades.
How are you going to treat yourself now it’s over? And Chelsie, are you going to help Ty on the ranch?
Ty: Me and Jewel will take a vacation, but I need to get back to the ranch. I have about 500 head of cattle I need to work. As soon as I have done that, the grass is green and Mother Nature will take care of the rest.
Chelsie: I am not really a farm girl.
Ty: She’s as much a ranch girl as I am a dancer.
Chelsie: Not that I am high-maintenance, I just don’t like getting up early. I’m not going to do a whole lot of relaxing. I have a bunch of stuff I want to do over the summer. I’ll take a day or two off, then hit the studio again and start training for next season. I hope I am back.