After weeks of less-than-stellar scores, rodeo champ Ty Murray was eliminated from "Dancing With the Stars."
The 39-year-old bull rider came into Tuesday's semifinal results show in last place with 48 points out of 60.
"We might be at the bottom this week, but week one we were the 13th-worst couple," Murray joked of his unlikely success in the ABC dance-off.
The nine-time world champion rodeo cowboy joined the hit show with wife Jewel, who was sidelined by an injury before the competition began. Alongside professional partner Chelsie Hightower, Murray plodded ahead with stiff hips and a positive attitude that moved fans to bring him back week after week.
Judges praised Murray for his hard work and can-do approach.
"If the others have climbed hills, you've climbed mountains," head judge Len Goodman said Tuesday. "With that dedication and work ethic, you've been a credit to everyone on the show."
On Monday, judge Carrie Ann Inaba named Murray "the most valuable player of season eight."
The lovable cowboy said he knew dancing would be "a giant stretch" but that he approached it with the same vigor he does bull riding.
"There's not one ounce of quit in this entire body," he said Monday.
The ballroom audience rose to its feet to bid Murray farewell Tuesday. He smiled, saying he has "a whole new respect" for dancing. He also thanked his partner.
"Teaching me to dance is like trying to teach a blind guy to paint," Murray quipped.
Tuesday's results show also included a performance by Raphael Saadiq and the continuation of the new professional dance competition: Two pro dancers are vying for viewer votes and a spot on the next season of "Dancing With the Stars," slated to begin in September.
Actor Gilles Marini, Olympian Shawn Johnson and "The Bachelor" reject Melissa Rycroft will compete for the mirrorball trophy on Monday.
A new "Dancing" champ will be crowned May 19.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.