top 12 to make it back at "ole Cheyenne" on Sunday,
July 28, included a mix of NFR qualifiers, young hopefuls
and former Cheyenne champs Kim Schulze and Brittany Pozzi.
But after it drizzled all morning on Sunday, the arena was
wetter than usual and it was anyone's guess which horses would
respond best. The first girl to run, University of Wyoming
student Chandler Markel from Scottsbluff, Neb., smoked a 17.68
on mushy mud around the first barrel. The time held up, and
she won the round and $4,175.
Christy Loflin ran fifth out. Her mare, Movin, slipped coming
off the back of the first barrel and Loflin rode plenty free
around the second so as not to hit it (as she had done to
win Nampa, Idaho, a week earlier). Loflin was clean for a
17.80. When Paige Conrado's hard-running horse didn't get
the first barrel cranked tight, Sydni Blanchard's stepped
wide around third, and Kelli Tolbert hit the second barrel,
the only gal remaining with a chance to beat Loflin was the
final runner, Michele McLeod.
McLeod was only two-tenths behind Loflin coming in, so a 17.57
would win the rodeo. Slick overshot the first barrel like
most horses did in the mud, but still clocked a 17.72. It
wasn't quite enough, and Loflin came back after finishing
second in 2012 at Cheyenne to win it all this time.
"I've seen that horse [Slick] run clear to the fence
and clock, so I was holding my breath," Loflin said.
"Movin doesn't do well in the mud, but I was lucky enough
to see a couple people go before me."
When all was said and done, she'd won the rodeo by just .14
seconds and was cashing a paycheck worth $16,776. The win
moved her from 22nd in the world standings into the top 15.
Loflin's mare had torn a deep digital flexor tendon in a hind
leg back in November. She'd only earned $400 in May when she
picked up Movin after six months of rehabilitation, so the
comeback is special indeed.
It was especially sweet to Byron Walker, who has been entering
Loflin strategically and was holding a victory-lap horse for
Loflin before the barrel race was even over. Soon enough,
Loflin hopped on Jake (one of Mary Walker's colts) to take
her victory lap in the 200x700 foot arena.
"Every run I get to make on this mare is special,"
she said. "You never know if they'll make a full comeback
after an injury like that."
Cheyenne hosted 107 barrel racers this year and prize money
in the barrel race was $116,850.
Final Round: 1, Chandler Markel, Scottsbluff, Neb., 17.68,
$4,175. 2, Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, 17.72, $3,131. 3, Lisa
Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 17.75, $2,087. 4, Kim Schulze, Larkspur,
Colo., 17.77, $1,043.
Total on three: 1, Christy Loflin, Franktown, Colo., 52.50,
$8,454. 2, Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 52.64, $7,247.
3, Chandler Markel, Scottsbluff, Neb., 53.31, $6,039. 4, Kim
Schulze, Larkspur, Colo., 53.43, $5,233. 5, Lisa Lockhart,
Oelrichs, S.D., 53.48, $4,026. 6, Paige Conrado, Hudson, Colo.,
53.50, $3,220. 7, Sydni Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M., 53.54,
$2,415. 8, Whitney Baker, Stephenville, Texas, 53.62, $1,610.
9, Christina Richman, Glendora, Calif., 53.72, $1,207. 10,
Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 53.88, $805.
Loflin kisses arena record with 17.07
at the Daddy
There are three performances remaining before the prestigious
short round at Cheyenne Frontier Days, and it's doubtful a
single soul will move Christy Loflin in the go-round.
On Tuesday afternoon, running first out on the ground, Loflin
held up her tiny mare Movin to a high gallop all the way to
the first barrel and still crossed the finish line in 17.07
seconds. The fastest time ever recorded at the Daddy of 'em
All was a 17.03 turned in by Kristie Peterson back in 1996.
"Kristie is one of my heroes, and to come close to what
she did is just amazing," Loflin said tearfully after
the run. "I am so grateful for every run I make on this
mare after her surgery and being without her. This horse made
all my dreams come true."
Sheza Blazin Move tore a deep flexor tendon last fall just
before the NFR, and was finally ready for action again in
May after surgery and six months of PRP, salt water therapy
and swimming. Loflin had only won $400 in late May when she
picked up the wonder horse, and was doubtful she should even
make an attempt at the NFR. Byron Walker, who does her entering,
said she should go for it.
Overshadowed by Loflins' smoking run was former Cheyenne champ
Kim Schulze, who clocked a 17.56 on Tuesday and moved to second
in the round and average. But she was moved on Wednesday when
Michele McLeod turned in a smoking 17.38 - the second fastest
time of the rodeo. McLeod is two-tenths behind Loflin in the
average, but almost seven-tenths out in front of third-place
Also Wednesday, Lisa Lockhart and Brenda Mays turned in a
pair of solid 17.7-second runs to land themselves in fourth
and fifth in the average. Of the 36 horses remaining, plenty
of contenders are up. Thursday's action will see runs by the
likes of Kelli Tolbert, Sue Smith and Calgary champ Jean Winters,
while the roster for Friday's perf includes first-round winner
Sydni Blanchard, Christina Richman, and Brittany Pozzi.
Saturday afternoon, 70-year-old June Holeman will run, as
well as the recently hot Sarah Kieckhefer, Nikki Steffes,
Paige Conrado and defending Cheyenne champ Mary Walker.
. CHEYENNE, Wyo. ---The following are
current leaders after the fifth performance of the 117th
Annual Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, Wednesday, July 24,
Women's Barrel Race: (second round) 1, Christy Loflin, Franktown,
Colo., 17.07 seconds. 2, Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas,
17.38. 3, Kim Schulze, Larkspur, Colo., 17.56. 4, Ann Peterson,
Avondale, Colo., 17.64. 5, Lizzy Ehr, Abilene, Texas, 17.69.
6, Jaime Barrow, Lake Wales, Fla., 17.70. (overall - on
two) 1, Christy Loflin, Franktown, Colo., 34.70 seconds.
2, Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 34.92. 3, Kim Schulze,
Larkspur, Colo., 35.66. 4, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D.,
35.73. 5, Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 35.76. 6, Lizzy
Ehr, Abilene, Texas, 35.85.
Blanchard wins first round, Peterson
takes early lead in the average at Cheyenne
A quarter of the Daddy of 'em All is in the books and the
first 24 girls have already made their second runs in Cheyenne.
The committee responded generously to requests to ditch limits
and have more than one long round, so this year everybody
made their first run in slack last week and the top 96 ladies
are coming back in each of eight performances that began Saturday.
Nineteen-second runs came back in the
progressive round, including a 19.04 turned in by Shelly
Anzick in slack. Considering that the winning time from
round one was Sydni Blanchard's 17.45, it was mind-boggling
to watch what Anzick did on her big bay horse coming back
in the first performance. Running to the left barrel first,
she gave herself just a tiny bit too much room going into
first and tipped it coming out - to run a 17.35 plus an
agonizing five-second penalty. The next fastest time was
Things heated up Sunday in the second
performance as the ground dried some, with Ann Peterson
of Colorado clocking a 17.64 to take the early lead in the
second round. Combined with her 18.29 from slack, she's
winning the average through Sunday.
Plenty of great horses are coming back
Monday and Tuesday, including Cindy Smith and Kim Schulze
fresh off a good week at Calgary and the recently hot Christy
Loflin, who was fifth in the first round. Then on Wednesday,
fans will watch the likes of Lisa Lockhart, Kenna Squires,
Michele McLeod (third in round one), Brenda Mays and the
always-tough-at-Cheyenne Kelly Yates.
Missing next Sunday will be Cheyenne
favorite Lindsay Sears, who hit a barrel with an 18.21 on
her first run. But later in the week the defending champ
of the Daddy - Mary Walker - will try to improve on an 18.46
(she ran a 17.29 last year in the first round). The hottest
cowgirl on the trail, Sherry Cervi, will need to make up
for an 18.67.
Meanwhile, more front-runners to come
next weekend are Blanchard, Nikki Steffes, and more - including
a fun appearance by 70-year-old June Holeman, who finished
11th in the first round with a 17.85.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. ---The following are
current leaders after the second performance of the 117th
Annual Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, Sunday, July 21, 2013.
Women's Barrel Race:
First round: 1, Sydni Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M., 17.45
seconds, $5,637. 2, Nikki Steffes, Vale, S.D., 17.51, $4,831.
3, Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 17.54, $4,026. 4,
Paige Conrado, Hudson, Colo., 17.61, $3,489. 5, Christy
Loflin, Franktown, Colo., 17.63, $2,684. 6, Brittany Pozzi,
Victoria, Texas, 17.73. $2,147. 7, Sarah Kieckhefer, Prescott,
Ariz., 17.78, $1,610. 8, Victoria Williams, Kiln, Alberta,
17.79, $1,074. 9, Chandler Markel, Scottsbluff, Neb., 17.83,
$805. 10, Marisa Simpson, Eagar, Ariz., 17.84, $537.
Second round: 1, Ann Peterson, Avondale, Colo., 17.64. 2,
Sharon Harrell, Wickenburg, Ariz., 17.98. 3, Elaine Hollings,
Pavillion, Wyo., 18.02. 4, Sadee Wheeldon, Jackson, Wyo.,
18.17. 5, Taylor Reneau, Surry, Texas, 18.27. 6, Kandace
Average: 1, Ann Peterson, Avondale, Colo., 35.93 seconds
on two runs. 2, Sharon Harrell, Wickenburg, Ariz., 36.78.
3, Sadee Wheeldon, Jackson, Wyo., 37.07. 4/5 (tie), Elaine
Hollings, Pavillion, Wyo., and Kandace Blanchard, Albuquerque,
N.M., 37.08 seconds each. 6, Christie Hebert, Pavillion,