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WPRA Rookie Takes Ft. Worth by Storm --Wins $14,796
by Kenneth Springer
2/10/13
Taylor Jacob, photo by James Phifer
Taylor Jacob's WPRA card may say she's a rookie but she lead the way during the Ft. Worth Finals and pulled off the average win like a seasoned pro. Running Finals from slowest on two to the fastest, Jacob's was 10th to run of the 12 finalist. She followed a tough act when 6-time Wrangler NFR qualifier and $1 million dollar barrel racer Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD went to the lead in the average with a total on three of 49.53. She met the challenge head on and brought the crowd to their feet when she posted the rodeo's fastest time of 16.19. Her total on three runs tallied 49.16 to take the lead.

Jane Melby followed with a 16.36 for a total on three of 49.25. Last to run was the leader on two Natalie Foutch. Staying solid, Foutch and her palomino clocked a 16.40 to edge ahead of Melby by one one-hundredth of a second with 49.24 on three runs.

Drawing up in the Semi Finals on Friday night and running in the Finals on Saturday night was an ideal situation for Jacob's left handed, 8-year-old buckskin gelding, Honor Thy Frenchman aka Bo. "He gets better the more you run him," said the Texas A&M senior Communications major. "I actually ran him at the college rodeo in Athens, Texas this afternoon. Just knowing that he thrives on making runs, I decided to run him there because I need the points in order to qualify for the College National Finals. I've been to the College Finals three times in either the breakaway or goat tying but never in the barrel race. Since I'm a senior I would like to qualify in the barrel race this year. We won the long go and of course I had to turn out the Short Go tonight in order to come back to Ft. Worth for the Finals."

Jacob, from Carmine, Texas, finds it hard to believe that it was just a year ago that she purchased Bo, a former futurity colt trained and ridden by Marne Loosenort, from Angela Michaels. "She let me run him twice and I was convinced he was the right horse for me. I liked his breeding too, because his sire is Frenchmans Guy and on the bottom side there is Jet Of Honor."

Ranked fourth in the Rookie standings prior to Ft. Worth with $2,027, that she had won last fall when the 2013 point year began, Jacob now speeds quickly to the top of the Rookie leaders with her winnings from Ft. Worth of $14,796 added in.

After clocking a 16.69 in the first go that didn't draw her a check, Jacob proceeded to dominate Ft. Worth, topping the Semi Finals with then fastest time of the rodeo of 16.28 for $4,565. To leave no doubt of their ability, she and Bo clocked the fastest time of the rodeo in the Finals with a 16.19 for $3,382. It was the first place average check of $6,848 that put her over the top with total Ft. Worth winnings of $14,796.

"His run tonight was simply amazing," recounted Jacob. "He flew to the first barrel, turned it tight and I had to lift my leg up at the second barrel, just like I did last night, to keep from hitting it and his third barrel was great. I think I'm still in shock. I've never won anything like this in my life. Last night I couldn't help but think about all the NFR girls that I was running against and was just happy to be there. I never expected anything like this."

Jacob believes Bo climbing to the top of his game couldn't come at a better time. "I've given a lot of thought to what I want to do after college graduation. It would be the perfect time for me to take off rodeoing if Bo is still working and winning for me. We will just have to wait and see."

If she does use her Ft. Worth winnings as springboard to the Wrangler NFR as last year's champion, Nikki Steffes did, she won't be the first in her family to do so. Her cousin's Tammy Fischer and Jackie Jatzlau both have NFR qualifications on their resume.

Times in the Finals were as follows: Taylor Jacob, 16.19 ($3,382); Kendra Dickson, 16.30 ($2,536.50); Sherry Cervi, 16.32 (1,691); Jane Melby, 16.36 ($845.50); Natalie Foutch 16.40; Lisa Lockhart, 16.48; Sharin Hall, 17.09; Kelly Yates, 21.44; Jennifer Kent, 21.66; Kay Blandford, 21.76, Carlee Pierce 23.31 and Sarah Kieckhefer NT.

FORT WORTH --- The following are unofficial results from the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Feb.9, 2013.
28th performance (Saturday matinee): 1, Debra Cooper, Poolville , Texas , 16.56 seconds. 2, Kassidy Dennison, Tohatchi , N.M. , 16.67. 3, Lindsay Sears, Nanton , Alberta , 16.72. 4, Taylor Young, Carlisle , Pa. , 16.96.
Finals Performance (Saturday evening)
Second round: 1, Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Texas , 16.28 seconds, $4,566. 2, Jennifer Kent, Grand Cane, La. , 16.36, $3,913. 3, Natalie Foutch, Eldora , Iowa , 16.39, $3,261. 4, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs , S.D. , 16.41, $2,826. 5, Kay Blandford, Sutherland Springs , Texas , $2,174. 7, (tie) Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho , and Jane Melby, Burneyville , Okla. , $1,087 each. 9, Cindy Smith, Hobbs , N.M. , 16.53, $652. 10, (tie) Sheena Robbins, Fresno , Calif. , and Sharin Hall, Kingston , Okla. , 16.54, $217 each.
Final round: 1, Jacob, 16.19, $3,382. 2, Kendra Dickson, Aubrey , Texas , $2,537. 3, Sherry Cervi, Marana , Ariz. , 16.32, $1,691, 4, Jane Melby, Burneyville, Okla., 16.36, $846.
Average: 1, Jacob, 49.16 on three, $6,849. 2, Foutch, 49.24, $5,870. 3, Melby, 49.25, $4,892. 4, Lockhart, 49.53, 44,240. 5, Dickson, 49.58, $3,261. 6, Cervi, 49.60, $2,609. 7, Hall, $1,957. 8, Kelly Yates, Pueblo , Colo. , 54.62, $1,304. 9, Kent , 54.79, $978. 10, Blandford, 54.89, $652.


New Dogs in Hunt at Ft. Worth - Kent & Jacob Take Leads for Semifinals
by Kenneth Springer
Taylor Jacob, photo by Kenneth Springer
While the famous "kiss cam" at the Ft. Worth Stock Show momentarily focused spectator's eyes away from the WPRA barrel racing competition, Jennifer Kent, Grand Cane, La., slipped in and ran the fastest time of the rodeo. In all due respect to the camera operator, there was no reason to think such a time was to be expected from the second runner in Friday afternoon's 2:30 matinee on Feb. 8 (27th perf). She had clocked a 16.77 on her first run at the 19th performance Monday matinee on Feb. 4. But the 16.36 on the score board had them scrambling to change the leader board.

There's nothing like outrunning the biggest names in the game to make people wonder who Jennifer Kent is. She lives 4 1/2 hours from Ft. Worth and rides a speedy 9-year-old gelding Brovos Best Talker aka Burnie. She bought him as a yearling, trained him herself and started out last year by placing at Denver. But a foot surgery the end of November laid him off until last Monday--Ft. Worth was his first rodeo back.

"Today was only the second run we've made at a rodeo," said Kent. "He normally gets better with every run you make on him and he especially dropped off a lot of time here on our second run because he was running so much harder than on his first run. I could tell when I was warming him up that he was ready. He was high and feeling good. My biggest concern was getting him by the third barrel after I knew we had a good run started. I just concentrated on not looking at the third barrel and trying to do my job and let him do his. If I do that, he won't hit a barrel."

As luck would have it, Kent's 16.36 wasn't the biggest surprise of Friday, Feb. 8. The evening performance was the cliff hanger. With everyone in the set having better than a good shot at making it back to the Finals, it was the next-to-the last runner that brought the house down.

Taking the left barrel first, Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Texas clocked the fastest time of the 28 performances to go to the lead in the Semi Finals with a 16.28. Combined with their first go time of 16.69, the talented pair moved to third in the average with 32.97 on two behind leader Natalie Foutch with her 32.84 and first go round winner Jane Melby, who posted a 16.51 during the Friday evening perf, with a 32.89. Lisa Lockhart, also in the Friday night pen of wolves sits fourth with 33.05 after clocking a 16.41 to move to third in the Semi Finals Round.

A definite boost to her Rookie status, Jacob was excited to even be able to compete at Fort Worth. "Because I'm a rookie this is the first big winter stock show that I've been able to run in," said Jacob, who earned some nice checks last Fall but nothing to compare with Ft. Worth.

Jacob purchased her winning equine sidekick a year ago from Angela Michaels after riding him a couple of times. "I just felt like he had it," said Jacob about her 8-year-old buckskin gelding Honor Thy Frenchman aka Bo, sired by famed Frenchmans Guy with bloodlines on the bottom of his pedigree tracing to Jet Of Honor. WPRA super hand Marne Loosenort trained and competed on the gelding in the futurities.

"He was a stallion until he was 4 or 5 and I think Marne actually ran him to the right barrel first and then Angela started running him to the left."

Jacob admits to being a little intimidated by the group of 10 she drew up in, "There were ladies running that have been to the NFR more times than I can count," said Jacob, a senior Communication major at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. "But Bo just made a near perfect run. He flew to the first barrel and turned it close and we were at the second barrel before I knew it."

Being on the college rodeo team, Jacob has a college rodeo tomorrow in Athens, Texas but she thinks she'll let Bo rest for his big run in the Finals tomorrow night and ride another horse in the college competition that starts at noon.

"This is really exciting," explained Jacob. "I was wondering what I was going to do when I graduated from college this year. If we can keep doing good like this, I'll take off rodeoing for a while."

FORT WORTH. --- The following are unofficial results from 27th and 28th performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Feb. 8, 2013.
27th performance - 1. Jennifer Kent, 16.36; 2. Martha Wright, 16.67; 3. Jean Winters 16.74; 4. Kim Schultze 16.87; 5. Lauren Sparks 16.90; 6. Ashley Leifeste, 16.92; 7. Morgan Figueroa, 17.00; 8. Ellie Dabney, 17.08; 9. Emily Efurd, 17.33; 10. Fallon Taylor, 21.55.

28th performance - 1. Taylor Jacob, 16.28; 2. Lisa Lockhart, 16.41; 3. Jane Melby, 16.51; 4. Sarah Kieckhefer, 16.70; 5. Whitney Baker, 16.91; 6. Tiffani Sonnier, 16.95; 7. Jackie Jatzlau, 16.96; 8. Karen Little, 17.02; 9. Mary Burger, 21.87; 10. Trula Churchill, 26.60.

Second round leaders 1, Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Texas; 2. Jennifer Kent, Grand Cane, La., 16.36; 3. Natalie Foutch, Eldora , Iowa , 16.39. 4. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 16.41; 5, Kay Blandford, Sutherland Springs , Texas , 16.44. 6, Angie Meadors, Blanchard , Okla. , 16.50. 7, (tie) Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho , and Jane Melby, 16.51.
Average leaders: 1, Natalie Foutch, Eldora , Iowa , 32.84. 2, Jane Melby, 32.89; 3. Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Texas, 32.97; 4. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 33.05; 5. (tie) Blandford, Sutherland Springs , Texas , and Jennifer Kent, Grand Cane, La., 33.13. 7. Sarah Kieckhefer, 33.14; 8, Kelly Yates, Pueblo , Colo. , 33.18. 9, Sharin Hall, Kingston , Okla. , 33.23. 10, Carlee Pierce, Stephenville , Texas , 33.27. 11, (tie) Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz. , and Kendra Dickson, Aubrey , Texas , 33.28. 13, Angie Meadors, Blanchard , Okla. , 33.29. 14, Cindy Smith, Hobbs , N.M. , 33.30. 15, Sue Smith, Black Foot, Idaho , 33.31.


Blandford Moves to Second at Ft. Worth
by Kenneth Springer
Kay Blandford, photo by Kenneth Springer

Just like the stock market, the WPRA barrel race cooled off a bit during the Thursday, Feb. 7 matinee performance with the fastest time of 16.74, posted by Laura Kennedy, Quitman, Ark. falling short of placing among the leaders in the semifinals round. No one in the group of 10 will advance to the Saturday night top 12 Finals.

But a big rally took place during the Thursday evening Feb. 7 show with Kay Blandford, Sutherland Springs, Texas clocking a 16.44 to move to second in the semifinal round and second in the average with a total on two of 33.13. Blandford, like all others, trails semifinals and average leader Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa. Kendra Dickson, Aubrey, Texas also moved into the top 12 on two during the Thursday evening performance.

Blandford, who has an impressive 12 trips to the Wrangler NFR on her resume, along with a 2007 WPRA World Championship and a 1996 WPRA Reserve World Championship, felt her 11-year-old mare Talents Dark Angel gave it everything she had to post the evening's fastest time.

"The key to her here is getting her down the alley," said Blandford. "On my first run she got away from me in the alley. But tonight I was ready for her and was able to get her way down before she broke. I was surprised that when we entered the arena she didn't instantly see the first barrel, but the minute I touched her she was there and had it turned. We were a little wider than usual going in to it but somehow by the time we were on the backside she was lined up perfectly for the second. She couldn't have turned a better second barrel. That's where we made up a lot of our time plus she was running hard the entire run."

Blandford's successful barrel racing career, that now spans four decades, has deep roots in Fort Worth. It was at the 1975 Fort Worth Invitational Ranch Girl's Barrel Race (where no pros could compete) that Blandford, then running under her maiden name of Kay Proctor, got her first taste of competing at a winter Stock Show rodeo riding a big sorrel gelding she called Big John. Immediately after the rodeo she purchased her GRA card (forerunner to the WPRA) and by year's end found herself among the elite top 15 at her first NFR in Oklahoma City in Dec. of 1975.

After winning Fort Worth in 2011, Blandford returned to the Fort Worth Finals in 2012 but had the misfortune of hitting a barrel. She's anxious for an opportunity to get it right in 2013 in the Saturday night, Feb. 9, Fort Worth Finals.

FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from 25th and 26th performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Feb. 7, 2013.
25th perf - 1. Laura Kennedy 16.74; 2. Kyndal McCown 16.79; 3. Sarah Attea 16.88; 4. Lizzy Ehr 16.92; 5. Marci Jackson 16.99; 6. Lisa Kaul 17.12; 7. Savannah Reeves 17.28; 8. Shelly Anzick 17.89; 9. Mattie Jackson 18.13

26th perf - 1. Kay Blandford 16.44; 2. Jana Bean 16.71; 3. Kendra Dickson 16.76; 4. Gretchen Benbenek 16.81; 5. Holly Cauthen 16.83; 6. Brenda Mays 16.91; 7. Benette Little 16.92; 8. Ashley Mohon 17.10; 9. Britany Fleck 21.66; 10. Rachel Primm 21.89

Second round leaders 1, Natalie Foutch, Eldora , Iowa , 16.39. 2, Kay Blandford, Sutherland Springs , Texas , 16.44. 3, Angie Meadors, Blanchard , Okla. , 16.50. 4, Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho , 16.51.
Average leaders: 1, Natalie Foutch, Eldora , Iowa , 32.84. 2, Blandford, Sutherland Springs , Texas , 16.44. 3, Kelly Yates, Pueblo , Colo. , 33.18. 4, Sharin Hall, Kingston , Okla. , 33.23. 5, Carlee Pierce, Stephenville , Texas , 33.27. 6, (tie) Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz. , and Kendra Dickson, Aubrey , Texas , 33.28. 8, Angie Meadors, Blanchard , Okla. , 33.29. 9, Cindy Smith, Hobbs , N.M. , 33.30. 10, Sue Smith, Black Foot, Idaho , 33.31.


Okies Shine During Wednesday's Performances at Ft. Worth
by Kenneth Springer

Angie Meadors, photo by Kenneth Springer
The leaderboard didn't change during Wednesday's two performances (23rd and 24th perfs) at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Fort Worth on Feb. 6. Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa still leads the semifinals with a 16.39 and the average with a 32.84 on two runs. But two Okies made impressive runs that have placed both in the money in the semifinals and put both in the average on two runs.

Sharin Hall, Kingston, Okla., was the fastest of the Wednesday matinee runners topping her group of 10 with a 16.54. After running a 16.69 on her first at Fort Worth back on Jan. 26 during the 3rd performance, Hall's mount, a 5-year-old bay gelding named Cartels Fame, was sold. "The lady that owned him came and picked him up on Sunday. But his new owner, Angela Ganter, has been kind enough to let me continue riding him here at both the Quarter Horse Show and the rodeo," said Hall.

Hall has ridden the classy bay gelding since early Fall, drawing a check at every futurity since, including a second place in a go round at the BFA World Championships in Oklahoma City last December. "He's a great horse and has a great future," said Hall. "He's just one of those special ones that doesn't come along very often."

Ganter was present at the rodeo to watch her new purchase clock his 16.54 and move into the average on two where Hall sits third.

Former Wrangler NFR qualifier Angie Meadors posted Wednesday night's fastest time of 16.50 to move to second in the semifinals go-round and sixth in the average on two. Meadors, riding her 11-year-old buckskin mare Frenchmans Flirt, posted a 16.79 on her first run. She credits the near three-tenths of a second improvement on the additional runs she made on her since she ran in the first go round.

"Flirt seems to do better the more runs you make on her," explained Meadors. "I ran in the rodeo last Saturday, then in the Quarter Horse show on Monday and in the Cowboy Publishing Timed Event Challenge last night and she's gotten better every run. I think I finished 6th in the Quarter Horse Show and 4th in the Timed Event Challenge. Her run tonight felt like she was running hard and her turns were snappy."

Meadors credits Carlee Pierce with the opportunity to ride a seasoned rodeo horse as her usual rodeo mounts are ones that are being seasoned after their futurity year. "Carlee loaned me Flirt beginning last July and offered to let me buy her last November and I jumped at the chance. I love this mare. She's a dream to ride and she's well bred, being sired by Frenchmans Guy, so I look forward to raising colts out of her in the future."

Meadors competed close to home last year, making mostly rodeos in her circuit that were in large outdoor arenas. "I didn't know how she would like these smaller building runs, so I was looking forward to running at Ft. Worth because it's a big run like I know she likes."
FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from 23rd and 24th performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Feb. 6, 2013.
23rd perf - 1. Sharin Hall 16.54; 2. Kelly Yates 16.64; 3. Layna Kight 16.67; 4. Ashley Rice 16.81; 5. Shada Brazile 16.86; 6. Tammi Reynolds 16.94; 7. Heather Wilson 16.97; 8. Casey Doebbler 17.08; 9. Ryann Pedone 17.69; 10.Jessi Fish 21.98

24th perf - 1. Angie Meadors 16.50; 2. Sheena Robbins 16.54; 3. Molly Powell 16.65; 4. Ryan Ivy 16.69; 5. Lynn K. Brown 16.78; 6. Jymmy Kay Cox 16.79; 7. Andrea Cline 16.81; 8. Ivy Hurst 21.70; 9. Kortney Fisher 21.80; 10. Tana Poppino NT

Second round leaders: 1, Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa, 16.39. 2. Angie Meadors, 16.50; 3, Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho, 16.51. 4, Cindy Smith, Hobbs, N.M., 16.53. 5, (tie) Sheena Robbins and Sharin Hall, 16.54.
Average leaders: 1, Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa, 32.84. 2, Kelly Yates, 33.18; 3. Sharin Hall, 33.23; 4, Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas, 33.27. 5, Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 33.28. 6, Angie Meadors, 33.29; 7. Cindy Smith, Hobbs, N.M., 33.30.


Foutch Takes Early Lead in Average at Fort Worth
by Kenneth Springer
One of the best kept secrets of any entry at Ft. Worth was the talent of Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa and her 10-year-old palomino gelding Orville. Even after posting a 16.45 in the long go round to finish third, little was known about the duo as their excellent time was overshadowed in the same performance by go round winner Jane Melby with her time of 16.38.

Coming back in the Semi Finals on Tuesday night, Feb. 5 during the 22nd perf, with a 16.39, the pair are making their family and friends back in the Great Lakes Circuit proud that their 2012 Circuit and Average champion is winning the Semi Finals at Ft. Worth and sitting first on two runs with a total of 32.84. The left handed palomino will bear close watching in the Saturday night Finals.

"His run tonight felt amazing, like he was firing on all cylinders," said Foutch who purchased her WPRA card in the fall of 2011. "He always gives me 110-percent every time. The quieter I ride him the better he runs and works. It was a great run and I'm very proud of him."

Registered as Maggies Moon Fire aka Orville, Foutch purchased the gelding as a green broke 3-year-old from former Great Lakes Circuit director Sandi Brandli. "He's just been an amazing horse for me."

Prior to Ft. Worth, Foutch had competed at Rapid City where she had ground trouble and Topeka, Kan., where she finished second. She'll compete in the Friday morning slack in Jackson, Miss., before returning to Ft. Worth for the Saturday night Finals on Feb. 9.

"I can't wait to run again here," said Foutch with confidence.

Cindy Smith, Hobbs, N.M., was the fastest in the Tuesday matinee, Feb. 5 performance which started the Semi Finals Round with a time of 16.53. Second fastest with a 16.60 was Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., who chose her gelding George for her mount at Ft. Worth. With a total on two of 33.28 Cervi took an early lead in the average but was bumped to third following the Tuesday performance where Foutch and Carlee Pierce moved her. Pierce rode her backup horse to clock a 16.39 for a total on two of 33.27.

FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from 21st and 22nd performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Feb. 5, 2013.
21st perf - 1. Cindy Smith 16.53; 2. Sherry Cervi 16.60; 3. Brittany Pozzi 16.62; 4. Jody Sheffield 16.73; 5. Jessica Frost 16.91; 6. Kylie Shumaker 17.18; 7. Rainy Graham 17.76; 8. Jenna Moore 21.34; 9. Jessi Eagleberger 21.54; 10. Aimee Kay 21.95

22nd perf - 1. Natalie Foutch 16.39; 2. Sue Smith 16.51; 3. Carlee Pierce 16.66; 4. Sammi Bessert 16.78; 5. Kenna Squires 17.09; 6. Sabrina Ketchum 17.67; 7. Lee Ann Rust 21.58; 8. Tara Schroedter 21.63; 9. Melanie Southard 21.81; 10. Kelli Tolbert 21.91

First round winners: 1, Jane Melby, Burneyville, Okla., 16.38 seconds, $4,566. 2, Sarah Kieckhefer, Prescott, Ariz., 16.44, $3,913. 3, Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa, 16.45, $3,261. 4, Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 16.49, $2,826. 5, Kendra Dickson, Aubrey, Texas, 16.52, $2,174. 6, Karen Little, San Saba, Texas, 16.53, $1,739. 7, Kelly Yates, Pueblo, Colo., 16.54, $1,304. 8, Emily Efurd, Pittsburg, Texas, 16.59, $870. 9, (tie) Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas; Holly Cauthen, Bowie, Texas; and Trula Churchill, Valentine, Neb.; 16.61, $362 each.
Second round leaders: 1, Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa, 16.39. 2, Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho, 16.51. 3, Cindy Smith, Hobbs, N.M., 16.53. 4, Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 16.60.
Average leaders: 1, Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa, 32.84. 2, Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas, 33.27. 3, Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 33.28. 4, Cindy Smith, Hobbs, N.M., 33.30. 5, Sue Smith, Black Foot, Idaho, 33.31. 6, Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 33.37. 7, Jody Sheffield, Ogden, Utah, 33.65. 8, Sammi Bessert, Loma, Colo., 33.65.


Kieckhefer Ends Ft. Worth Long Go With a Bang
by Kenneth Springer
The WPRA barrel racers at the 2013 Ft. Worth Stock Show Rodeo didn't exactly save the best for the last but they certainly saved the next-to-the-best for the last. Running last in the 20th performance on Monday night, Feb. 4, Sarah Kieckhefer, Prescott, Ariz., not only ran the fastest time of her set but the 16.44 she posted on the scoreboard earned her the second place pay check in the long go round that started back on Jan. 24. The long go ended the instant Kieckhefer crossed the time line running home.

Jane Melby's 16.38 stands as the rodeo's fastest time and earns the first go round first place check. Other first round check earners were (unofficially) 2. Sarah Kieckhefer 16.44; 3. Natalie Foutch, 16.45; 4. Brenda Mays, 16.49; 5. Kendra Dickson, 16.52; 6. Karen Little, 16.53; 7. Kelly Yates, 16.54; 8. Emily Efurd, 16.59; and 9/10th split Carlee Pierce, Trula Churchill and Holly Cauthen 16.61 each.

Taking Kieckhefer, who sits on the WPRA board representing the Turquoise Circuit, to the pay window at Ft. Worth was her home grown bay gelding Stingray Booger aka Stingy. "I raised him, trained him, ran him in the futurities and have slowly brought him up through the ranks," said Kieckhefer, who has qualified for the past three Turquoise Circuit Finals riding the now 9-year-old.

"I haven't run him since last Nov. at the Brawley, Calif., rodeo," stated Kieckhefer. "He's a little hard for me to judge his time because he's deceiving. Tonight's run just felt really fluid. He turned good and kept moving."

She's entered in San Angelo and San Antonio after she finishes at Ft. Worth then she'll head to her home state for Tucson. "I'd like to go some this year but I'll play it month-by-month. I know I'll go to the spring run of rodeos in California because we have cattle there to ship which puts me near those rodeos anyway."

Shada Brazile, Decatur, Texas, wife of 17-time world champion Trevor Brazile, posted the fastest time of the 18th performance on Super Bowl Sunday night, Feb. 3 with a 16.62. Brazile rode her 7-year-old bay gelding Dial It Fast, a former futurity horse that won major bucks with LaTricia Duke aboard (the same background as Brittany Pozzi's Yeah Hes Firen aka Duke).

"Trevor saw him last year at the Circuit Finals when Brittany Pozzi ran him and liked his looks," said Brazile. "We bought him just about a year ago. He really wanted to head on him because he just has that look about him but of course that didn't happen because he's my barrel horse," said Brazile with a wide grin.

Jennifer Kent, Grand Cane, La. and former Wrangler NFR qualifier Cindy Smith, Hobbs, N.M. were the fastest at the 19th performance on Monday afternoon with matching times of 16.77. Kent was especially proud of her time since it was the first run back for her 9-year-old sorrel gelding Brovos Best Talker aka Burnie after foot surgery last Nov.

The next nine performances at Ft. Worth will be filled with the fastest 90 times from the long go. The Semi Finals begin with the Tuesday, Feb. 5 matinee and continue thru the Saturday matinee on Feb. 9.

FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from 19th through 20th performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Feb. 4, 2013.

19th performance: 1. (tie) Cindy Smith and Jennifer Kent 16.77; 3. Christine Laughlin 17.19; 4. Tasha Welsh 17.46; 5. Lesley Luttrell 17.49; 6. Deb Frasier 17.57; 7. Sally Young 17.80; 8. Nicki Zimmerman 17.93; 9. Catherine Medlock 18.21; 10. Jordan Taton 22.33.

20th performance: 1. Sarah Kieckhefer 16.44; 2. Kenna Squires 16.88; 3. Jean Winters 16.92; 4. Jody Sheffield 16.92; 5. Nicole Aichele 17.07; 6. Jenna Marie Moore 17.07; 7. Sherrylynn Johnson 17.46; 8. Tara Lee Woodall 17.73; 9. Brooke Rix 21.67

First Round: 1, Jane Melby, 16.38 seconds; 2. Sarah Kieckhefer , 16.44; 3. Natalie Foutch, 16.45; 4. Brenda Mays, 16.49; 5. Kendra Dickson, 16.52; 6. Karen Little, 16.53; 7, Kelly Yates, 16.54; 8, Emily Efurd, 16.59; 9, (tie) Carlee Pierce, Holly Cauthen and Trula Churchill, 16.61.


Melby Takes Ft. Worth Lead During Friday Night's 13th Perf
by Kenneth Springer
Jane Melby, Burneyville, Okla., doesn't have to fear the number 13 or being the last in the draw as long as she's riding her 12-year-black gelding First Down Perk aka Blackie. Melby drew up last in the Friday night, Feb. 1, 13th performance at Ft. Worth and brought the house down when a 16.38 flashed on the score board. She knew she had to run fast as the fourth runner out, Natalie Foutch, Eldora, Iowa had taken the rodeo lead with a 16.45. Going in to the Sunday night, Feb. 3rd 18th performance they remain first and second in the long go round with 30 remaining to run in the round that ends on Monday night, Feb. 4.

The narrowed down field of 90 semifinalist in the WPRA barrel race will begin taking their turn, 10 a performance, with the Tuesday, Feb. 5 matinee performance and end with the Saturday, Feb. 9 matinee. The top 12 will run in the Fort Worth Finals on Saturday night, Feb. 9, where the Best Dressed among them will receive a check for $5,000 from the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed memorial fund.

Fresh off a $10,677 championship win at Denver, Melby described her run at Fort Worth as awesome. "A lot of time I'll whip him going to the third barrel just to make sure we get by it. But I never got my hand off the horn tonight going to the third so I just squeezed him. And I know I sounded like a wild Indian running home because I knew we had a good run going and I wanted to keep him running," said Melby, who qualified for her first Wrangler NFR in 2011 riding a black mare she called Beauty.

Former Fort Worth champion Tana Poppino, Big Cabin, Okla., turned in the fastest time of the 12th perf during the Friday, Feb. 1 matinee running a 16.62 aboard her 11-year-old gray gelding she calls Goose. "You can't image how good it felt to make a good run here," said Poppino. "I think he's feeling good and they've got to feel good before they can work good."

After Melby's and Foutch's fast times were posted during the 13th performance, Kassidy Dennison, Tohatchi, N.M., was the fastest in the 14th perf with a 16.79 run aboard her 8-year-old gelding she calls Eagle. "I didn't think we did as good as we could, so we have some room for improvement when we hopefully come back for the Semi Finals," said Dennison.

2007 WPRA World Champion and former Fort Worth champion Kay Blandford, Sutherland Springs, Texas was the fastest during the Saturday matinee 15th performance. Clocking a 16.69 riding her famed mare Talents Dark Angel aka Angel. After winning a 3rd place, $3,500 check at Odessa, Blandford felt her mare felt a bit "rusty". "She got away from me at the top of the alley the minute they opened the gate to let us out of the holding pen. She ran half her race before we ever got to the first barrel. I could feel her giving out before we got back in the alley from the third barrel. She's never done that to me here."

World Champions from left to right: Kappy Allen (2000), Mary Walker (2012) and Mary Burger (2006), photo by Kenneth Springer

Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., and her 2012 Wrangler NFR average winning mount Jethro were the fastest in the Saturday night's 16th perf with a 16.49. Mays drew up in the most talented group of 10 that will run at Fort Worth with 7 of the 10 being former Wrangler NFR qualifiers including three World champions--Kappy Allen, Mary Burger and Mary Walker. The time places her third in the go round.

Former NFR qualifier Jackie Dube-Jatzlau, Giddings, Texas rode her 6-year-old sorrel mare Catch The Rain aka Pudden to the fastest time honors in Sunday's matinee 17th performance. Posting a 16.67 assures the pair a second trip around the course in Ft. Worth.

"She's not been to any pro rodeos before here," said Jatzlau. "I ran her in 6 amateur rodoes last summer before she got cut in the fence. She ran really solid today. I wasn't worried about her turning and she didn't let me down." Pudden is out of one of Jatzlau's top futurity and rodeo horses Takin On The Bug.

FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from 12th through 18th performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Feb. 3, 2013.

12th performance: 1. Tana Poppino 16.62; 2. Tammi Reynolds 16.87; 3. Kylee Schumacher 17.03; 4. Savannah Reeves 17.12; 5. Tana Renick 17.30; 6. Marvel Murphy 17.41; 7. Renea Bolling 17.68; 8. Jamie Ashford 17.71; 9. Syd Wheeler 17.76

13th performance: 1. Jane Melby 16.38; 2. Natalie Foutch 16.45; 3. (tie) Holly Cauthen and Trula Churchill 16.61; 5. Lindsay Sears 16.76; 6. Nicole Yost 16.78; 7. Kim Schulze 16.85; 8. McKinley Goodger 17.40; 9. Becky Nix 19.08; 10. Paige Conrado NT

14th performance: 1. Kassidy Dennison 16.79; 2. Ellie Dabney 16.84; 3. Rachel Primm 17.05; 4. Debra Cooper 17.16; 5. Heather Wilson 17.17; 6. June Holeman 17.20; 7. Kayce Warren 17.21; 8. Heidi Tillard 22.25; 9. Nicole Deason NT

15th performance: 1. Kay Blandford 16.69; 2. Rainy Graham 16.96; 3. Jymmy Kay Cox 17.00; 4. Marisa Simpson 17.31; 5. Rachel Underwood 17.59; 6. Polly Hunter 18.18; 7. Jolee Lautaret 19.18; 8. Lacey Donegan 22.17; 9. Dollie Lautaret 22.33; 10. Nikki Steffes N.T.

16th performance: 1. Brenda Mays 16.49; 2. Kendra Dickson 16.52; 3. Mary Burger 16.68; 4. Angie Meadors 16.79; 5. Molly Powell 17.06; 6. Clay Sewalt 17.14; 7. Annesa Self 17.17; 8. Jana Turner 17.26; 9. Mary Walker 21.68; 10.Kappy Allen 22.91

17th performance: 1. Jackie Jatzlau 16.67; 2. Brittany Pozzi 16.75; 3. Jessi Fish 16.94; 4. Mary Smothers 16.99; 5. Sheena Robbins 17.06; 6. Layna Kight 17.08; 7. Lisa Kaul 17.08; 8. Tammy Fischer 17.67; 9. Kelley Carrington 21.78; 10. Lisa Ogden 21.96

18th performance: 1. Shada Brazile 16.62; 2. Whitney Baker 16.63; 3. Sherry Cervi 16.68; 4. Sue Smith 16.80; 5. Kelli Tolbert 16.93; 6. Lainie Whitmire 17.53; 7. Kyra Stierwalt 17.65; 8. Brooke Jeter 21.83; 9. Sierra Dawn Thomas 22.25; 10. Kelly Allen 26.27
First Round leaders: 1, Jane Melby, 16.38 seconds; 2. Natalie Foutch, 16.45; 3. Brenda Mays, 16.49; 4. Kendra Dickson, 16.52; 5. Karen Little, 16.53; 6, Kelly Yates, 16.54; 7, Emily Efurd, 16.59; 8, (tie) Carlee Pierce, Holly Cauthen and Trula Churchill, 16.61.


Ft. Worth Lead Still Belongs to Little thru 11 Perfs
by Kenneth Springer
Jessi Eagleberger, photo by Kenneth Springer
Thanks to tipped barrels, Karen Little, San Saba, Texas still holds the lead at Ft. Worth that she turned in during the 9th performance. The woulda, shoulda, coulda times were both turned in during Thursday night's 11th performance on Jan. 31. Randa Kellogg, Point, Texas was the first victim with a 16.47 that went to a 21.47 when the second barrel fell over. Next was P J Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla. who clocked a 16.43 while dragging over the first barrel taking her time to 21.43.

Little still leads with a 16.53.

Fastest time in the Wednesday night 10th performance was Jessi Eagleberger, Stringtown, Okla., with a 16.76. Eagleberger and her 13-year-old sorrel mare (Breezin Flit Bar) pulled into Ft. Worth from Denver with the second place $2,976 check still in her pocket that the pair had collected for winning second in the second go round at the Denver Stock Show.

"My mare made a nice run," said Eagleberger, who is ranked 25th in the 2013 World standings. "She seemed to run a lot more free here than she did at Denver."

Martha Wright, photo by Kenneth Springer

Martha Wright, Stephenville, Texas was the fastest official time from the 11th performance riding her 13-year-old sorrel gelding Famous Lil Dasher. Wright and Dasher also ran well last year at Ft. Worth, advancing to the Semi Finals--an accomplishment they will surely repeat with their time of 16.69 turned in during the Thursday night performance which honored Ft. Worth's famed college Texas Christian University (TCU).

"His first and second barrels felt really good and quick," said Wright, a two-time Wrangler NFR qualifier. "He slipped just a hair at the third and it caused him to flatten out but he didn't loose much time because he kept running."

Sired by Dash Ta Fame, Wright describes her sorrel gelding as a "resident space cadet".

"He's a really intense Dash Ta Fame that you wish would just take a deep breath, let it out and chill out. But he never does," said Wright with a laugh.

FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from Wednesday's 10th and Thursday's 11th performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, January 31, 2013.
10th Performance: 1. Jessi Eagleberger 16.76; 2. Fallon Taylor 16.90; 3. Melanie Southard 16.95; 4. Sammi Bessert 16.96; 5. Reiney Hatch 17.52; 6. Carolyn Uhler 17.64; 7. Deb Guelly 18.13; 8. Jo Scarmardo 21.77.

11th Performance: 1. Martha Wright 16.69; 2. Jana Bean 16.88; 3. Ashley Rice 16.96; 4. Casey Doebbler 16.98; 5. Laura Kennedy 17.05; 6. PJ Burger 21.43; 7. Randa Kellogg 21.47; 8. Kaley Bass 21.86; 9. Christy Fullen 22.15; 10. Kara Large 22.41

First Round leaders: 1, Karen Little, 16.53; 2, Kelly Yates, 16.54; 3, Emily Efurd, 16.59; 4, Carlee Pierce, 16.61; 5, Lisa Lockhart, 16.64; 6, Sabrina Ketcham, 16.68; 7, (tie) Taylor Jacob, Sharin Hall, and Martha Wright, 16.69 seconds.


SpeedyTimes in 9th Perf Shift Lead & Placings at Ft. Worth
by Kenneth Springer
Times dropped faster than the outside temperature during the 9th performance of the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo on Tuesday night, Jan. 29. With the temperature changing from shirt sleeves to a light jacket (still mild for a winter stock show), the last runner of the evening, Karen Little, San Saba, Texas took the lead in the WPRA barrel race away from Kelly Yates. Little clocked a 16.53 as the last runner (of 10) in the performance. The standings had already been shaken up early in the performance with 2012 WPRA Rookie of the Year Emily Efurd (2nd out), Pittsburg, Texas running a 16.59 and two-time Wrangler NFR qualifier Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas (1st out) close behind with a 16.61.

It is a borrowed horse that has taken Little to the Fort Worth lead. "He's a 15-year-old gelding named Stoney and he's owned by Wendy Boyd," said Little. "My horse came up crippled right before Denver. I started calling about horses to ride at Denver and Fort Worth and my friend Stacey Grimes told me about a gray horse that Lynn Hinds had been running and doing really good on. Stoney had been laid off for about five years and Lynn was legging him up and running him some for Wendy. It was my lucky day when Wendy agreed to let me run him at Denver and here."

After having clipped the first barrel on both her runs at Denver, Little was acutely aware that she needed to ride hard at Fort Worth to leave them standing. "He's such a fun horse to ride and so deceiving as he doesn't feel like he's clocking but he does. I would have been high in the money both runs at Denver had I not hit barrels. Here we got around the first two really good and I worked really hard not to let him get in too close on the third."

FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from Monday's 8th performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, January 29, 2013.
Ninth Performance: 1. Karen Little 16.53; 2. Emily Efurd 16.59; 3. Carlee Pierce 16.61; 4. Andrea Cline 16.82; 5. Morgan Figueroa 16.84; 6. Lizzy Ehr 17.02; 7. Robyn Herring 17.29; 8. Stevi Hillman 17.54; 9. Megan Williams 17.56; 10. Kirby Harter 17.97

First Round leaders: 1, Karen Little, 16.53; 2, Kelly Yates, 16.54; 3, Emily Efurd, 16.59; 4, Carlee Pierce, 16.61; 5, Lisa Lockhart, 16.64; 6, Sabrina Ketcham, 16.68; 7, (tie) Taylor Jacob and Sharin Hall, 16.69 seconds.


Yates Moves Ahead at Fort Worth
by Kenneth Springer
A big shift in the leader board took place during Monday night's 8th performance of the Southwestern Livestock Show & Rodeo in Fort Worth. Kelly Yates, who calls Fort Worth and Pueblo, Colo. home, went to the lead with a 16.54 and literally immediately behind her came million dollar cowgirl Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D. and her buckskin gelding Louie with a 16.64. The two sit first and second in the long go round.

Yates, a 4-time Wrangler NFR qualifier, rode her 7-year-old gelding Fiesta Del Ray aka Wizzard (a son of her great mare Firewater Fiesta that took her to three of her Wrangler NFR trips) to the top stop for the evening.

"My run felt awesome," said Yates, whose only other rodeo competition this winter has been at Denver. "I just tried to hang on and stay out of his way. Sometimes when you've trained a horse it's hard to make that transition from helping them to letting them work on their own but he didn't need much help from me tonight other than to stay out of his way."

Yates placed 5th in the semifinals at Fort Worth on Wizzard last year and narrowly missed advancing to the Short Go. Other than Fort Worth, she's entered in Belton and San Angelo for upcoming rodeos. "I just enter when I want to and go to where I want to and don't intend to burn up the road with Wizzard."

After placing at Fort Worth, Houston and Guymon in 2012, Wizzard got a long rest after getting hurt in June and basically made very few runs until the AQHA World Show in November. Yates is proud that she entered the Quarter Horse Shows while she was at Denver and already has Wizzard qualified for the 2013 AQHA World Show.


FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from Monday's 8th performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, January 28, 2013.
Eighth Performance: 1. Kelly Yates 16.54; 2. Lisa Lockhart 16.64; 3. Ryan Ivy 16.89; 4. Ivy Hurst 17.14; 5. Debby Green 19.47; 6. Liz Combs 21.94; 7. Kelly Kaminski 22.45; 8. Kendra Honeyfield 29.12; 9. Jennifer Barron 37.22

First Round leaders: 1, Kelly Yates, 16.54; 2, Lisa Lockhart, 16.64; 3. Sabrina Ketcham, 16.68; 4, (tie) Taylor Jacob and Sharin Hall, 16.69 seconds. 6, (tie) Benette Little and Kortney Fisher, 16.74. 8, Aimee Kay, 16.79.


Ketcham Takes Fort Worth Lead During 7th Performance
by Kenneth Springer
Sabrina Ketcham, Yeso, N.M. and her 15-year-old sorrel mare, Write It Thelma aka Uno, know every step of the famed Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. They've competed in the Women's Professional Rodeo Association's barrel race there since 2006. Since she's seldom left without a paycheck, it's always on her short list of must enter rodeos. In 2010, she came close to winning the famed Southwestern Exposition Livestock Show & Rodeo but had to settle for second place behind that year's Fort Worth Champion Tana Poppino.

"Fort Worth is one of those places where you can start off a good rodeo year if you place high here," said Ketcham, who has owned Uno since the mare was a 3-year-old. "I told my little boy today I'd love to win this rodeo more than any I go to all year."

Ketcham came straight from Denver to Fort Worth and she's hopeful that her mare doesn't have any bad side effects from the trip. "She's been fine until tonight when I was warming her up she coughed once, but I didn't think much about it. But after our run she coughed again like she was having trouble catching her breath. I'll let my vet at home check her out early next week."

With a 7-year-old son that has to be back for school, she'll make the 9 hour haul back to New Mexico and then come back next week for the semifinals.

"I was really proud of my run tonight," said Ketcham. "We were next-to-last on the ground. She turned her second barrel a little tighter than I wanted but she always works good here and running back into the long, dark, alley doesn't seem to bother her like it does some of the other horses. She was running hard."

Following Molly Childers opening night lead of 16.88, Benette Little took charge during the second performance with a 16.74. But her lead was short lived when Sharin Hall, Kingston, Okla. clocked a 16.69 during the early bird 10:00 a.m. 3rd performance on Saturday morning. Hall, riding a 5-year-old former futurity horse named Cartels Fame, held the lead through three more performances before Ketcham clocked her 16.68. Another fast time during Sunday night's 7th performance was Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Texas (who was first out in the 7th performance). She held a tie for the lead with Hall for seven runners until Ketcham moved Hall and Jacob to a second and third split.

FORT WORTH. --- The following are results from Saturday's third through seventh performance of the World's Oldest Indoor Rodeo® at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, January 27, 2013.
Third Performance- 1, Sharin Hall, Kingston , Okla. , 16.69 seconds. 2, Lauren Sparks, Conroe, Texas , 16.94. 3, Taylor Young, Carlisle , Pa. , 17.15. 4, Lisa Miller, Knippa , Texas , 17.22; 5, Jenna Cadwallader, 17.36; 6, Cheyenne Kelly, 17.76; 7, Rebecca Hughes, 17.84; 8. Kim Partain, 22.64; 9, Hallie Bradford, 22.30; 10, Shelby Frasier, 27.11
Fourth Performance- 1, Tara Schrodter, Stephenville , Texas , 16.93 seconds. 2, Marci Jackson, Durant , Okla. , 17.11. 3, Kimberly Cockrell, Cheyenne , Okla. , 17.22. 4, Christina Dusendang, Decatur , Texas , 17.39; 5. Stephanie Harris, 17.42; 6. Cathy Grant, 17.43; 7, Taylor Reneau, 17.89; 8, Edi Williams, 18.11; 9, Nancy Ortlip, 18.42; 10, Kelly Beeman, 22.19.
Fifth Performance - 1, Tiffani Sonnier 16.81; 2, Ashley Mohon 16.87; 3, Lee Ann Rust 16.88; 4, Mattie Jackson 16.99; 5, Tiany Schuster 17.06; 6, Victoria Williams 17.65; 7, Kody Horwood 19.72; 8, Tonya Parrish 21.66; 9, Chrsity Loflin 22.43; 10, Carissa Bryant 27.96

Sixth Performance - 1. Britany Fleck 16.99; 2. Sarah Attea 17.04; 3. Kyndal McCown 17.12; 4. Ryan Pedone 17.13; 5. Nicole Riggie 17.28; 6. Pam Deaver 17.47; 7. Jordon Corssley 17.64; 8. Katti Pinnix 22.72; 9. Andrea Wolf 23.07

Seventh Performance - 1. Sabrina Ketcham 16.68; 2. Taylor Jacob 16.69; 3. Kortney Fisher 16.74; 4. Aimee Kay 16.79; 5. Ashley Leifeste 16.90; 6. Lauren Cox 17.33; 7. Alexia Mehrle 17.42; 8. Cassie Moseley 21.74; 9. Katie LaMaster 23.55
First Round leaders: 1, Sabrina Ketcham, 16.68; 2, (tie) Taylor Jacob and Sharin Hall, 16.69 seconds. 4, (tie) Benette Little and Kortney Fisher, 16.74. 6, Aimee Kay, 16.79; 7, Tiffani Sonnier, 16.81; 8, Ashley Mohon, 16.87.


Little Moves to Lead at Fort Worth
by Kenneth Springer
Two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Benette Little, Ardmore, Okla., didn't disappoint the Fort Worth rodeo crowd as she served as the first of 14 representatives from the WPRA's elite 2012 top 15 who will eventually compete at the Southwestern Exposition & Livestock Show Rodeo. Little posted a 16.74 aboard her "wired for sound" sorrel stallion, JL Dash Ta Heaven, to take the lead in the long go round.

As Little dismounted after her run she said, "that was fun". Neither horse nor rider showed any signs of being tired from competing in Denver on Thursday and arriving home at 3:30 a.m. Friday morning only to leave 12 hours later for the much shorter 2 hour haul to Fort Worth. "I'm sitting fourth in the average at Denver, so if I make it back to the Short Go we'll head back tomorrow. But he'll have one night in his own stall at the ranch and he seems to rest better there."

Times from performance #2 were: Little, 16.74; Gretchen Benbenek 16.97; Shelly Anzick 17.10; Pollie Madden, 17.15; Chloe Hoovestal 17.33; Lauren Underwood 17.57; Alexa Lake 21.69; Natalie Tippen 22.65; Jill Freeman 27.01; and Gina Suick NT.

Current leaders: 1. Benette Little, 16.74 seconds; 2. Molly Childers, 16.88; 3. Jessica Frost, 16.95; 4. (tie) Gretchen Benbenek and Lynn K. Brown, 16.97; 6. Shelly Anzick, 17.10.


Molly Childers Breaks the Ice for 2013 Fort Worth Rodeo
by Kenneth Springer
The first of 29 regular rodeo performances (Jan. 24-Feb 8 with a top 12 Finals on Feb.9) has been crossed off the board by Fort Worth Stock Show rodeo secretary Mildred Farris. For decades Farris, a former GRA/WPRA President and 12-time Wrangler NFR qualifier, has presided over the clerical duties for the historic Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. After being inducted last October into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, located within walking distance of her rodeo office, she's back in Cowtown for another two weeks of hard labor.

With $30,000 added money to the Women's Professional Rodeo Assn. barrel race, it wasn't hard to fill the 200 positions allocated for one of the longest running stock shows on the winter circuit. Thursday night, Jan. 24, Molly Childers, Durant, Okla., became the first WPRA contestant to leave the famed Will Rogers Coliseum with her name on the leader board. Running next to last of the 10 WPRA members on the program, Childers clocked a 16.88 for the fastest time of the night.

Taking her to the number one spot for the evening was her 5-year-old bay gelding Just My Choice. "This time last year I was just beginning to show him the barrel pattern," said a proud Childers who filled her WPRA permit in 2008. "He started out to be a calf horse for my husband, Jason, but he pulled a muscle when he was three. Fortunately, when he got well I got the job of rehabilitating him and I started showing him the barrels."

Childers' proudest runs to date on her bay sidekick have been at the BFA World Championships last December where she placed fourth in the second go round of the futurity against the best four-year-olds in the business. "We hit a barrel in the Finals, which cost us a lot of money," said Childers. "My goal is to continue seasoning him and make a rodeo horse out of him. Considering that he's been on the barrels less than a year, I'm really proud of him."

Other times clocked during the first performance, in addition to Childers' 16.88 were: Jessica Frost 16.95; Lynn K. Brown 16.97; Teresa Turbeville 17.17; Lindsey Ewing 17.22; Shelly Weaver 17.26; Mandi Jo Fox 17.27; CJ Vondetter 18.21; Hayden Segelke 21.58; and Latisha Schueneman 27.44.

The Long Go at Fort Worth continues thru the 20th performance on Monday night, Feb. 4. The Progressive Semi Finals begins on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 5 where the top 90 will compete for a spot among the top 12 Finals on Saturday night, Feb. 9. This year's Fort Worth Finals will sport a $5,000 bonus to the Best Dressed WPRA barrel racer thanks to the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award given in memory of trick rider Jerry Ann Taylor, a 1986 National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honoree.


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