November 26, 2013 | 10:08pm
Just say ‘neigh’ to ‘Rodeo Girls’
The stars of “Rodeo Girls”: Megan Etcheberry (left), Barb West, Darcy LaPier, Marvel Murphy and Jessica Holmberg.
Premieres Dec. 11 on A&E
Looks like Darcy LaPier, famous for marrying extremely wealthy men, has bought herself a new toy: a reality TV series.
I can’t think of any other explanation for “Rodeo Girls,” which plays like a boring vanity project disguised as a six-part A&E series. It purports to document the jet-setting LaPier’s attempts to fit in as a newbie “barrel racer” — a rodeo sport open only to women who, on horseback, navigate their mounts around a barrel to win prize money (if their horse hits the barrel, they’re penalized).
The enhanced, fortysomething LaPier (and her trout pout) are supposed to be the main draw here, given her back story of having married and divorced both Ron Rice — the founder of Hawaiian Tropic — and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme (once dubbed “The Muscles from Brussels”).
Her third husband, Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, died a year into their marriage at the age of 44. His death was ruled an accidental overdose of alcohol and antidepressants — though, on “Rodeo Girls,” LaPier claims that he died from a “respiratory ailment.”
Whatever. It’s hard to feel much empathy for LaPier, since the show’s premise is that she flaunts her fabulous wealth, including the purchase of a $200,000 barrel horse, while her “mean girls” competitors — Marvel, Barb, Megan and Jessica — snicker behind her back about how “you can’t just buy the horse, you gotta ride it.”
Because there’s nothing much going on here besides flirting cowboys and lots of beer-drinking, the producers pile on the supposed “drama” with the requisite reality show staples: forced conflict augmented by quick-cut editing and doomsday music and staged scenes.
There’s even a vignette where, during a night out on the town, LaPier just magically happens to be lurking near a barroom table while her “friends” bash everything about her. Cue the dramatic music and cut to LaPier’s meltdown (well, OK, as much emotion as her seemingly frozen face will allow) as she launches into the speech about how she’ll prove herself to her catty competitors because she tries so much harder.
Watching the “Rodeo Girls” premiere means you’ll invest an hour of your life that you’ll never get back. Hoof it away from here ASAP.