By Jolee Lautaret
Calgary, Alberta Canada — Lisa Lockhart seems to be making picking up $100,000 checks a habit. The South Dakota cowgirl picked up two in a row at RFD-TV's The American, held each March at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. After a pair of tough runs in the mud in Calgary, she added a third on Sunday afternoon, July 12.
There is a big difference in the third, however. This one counts towards the WPRA World standings... well, half of it does.
Lockhart was one of 20 barrel racers invited to compete at the 2015 Calgary Stampede. She dominated preliminary competition, winning three of four go rounds to earn $16,500 and punch her ticket for Showdown Sunday, when the really big money is divvied out.
Joining Lockhart, who is currently ranked third in the WPRA World standings, on Sunday were the top six in the current standings including second ranked Sarah Rose McDonald, who earned her spot in Saturday's Wild Card round along with Canadian cowgirl Sydney Daines,
All 10 cowgirls competed on one run of competition with the top four advancing on to the Showdown. Adding to the pressure of the day was rainfall which brought about the first muddy conditions of this year's Stampede. Conditions were bad enough, in fact, that rodeo officials chose to hold the barrel race until after the bull riding so that extra ground could be added around the barrels to ensure safe footing for the contestants.
In the round of 10, cowgirls proceeded cautiously. Nancy Hunter rode a back-up horse as the first runner, testing the waters—or more accurately, the mud—for the rest of the field. Four-time WPRA World Champ Sherry Cervi came next riding her great mare Stingray. As the only former Calgary champ in the field, Cervi took the early lead and was tied by the next cowgirl, fellow WPRA World Champion Mary Walker with matching 18.40 second runs.
The reigning world champion came next. Fallon Taylor's equine partner Babyflo had already proven her sure-footedness in the opening day of this Stampede, winning a round with challenging ground conditions. Babyflo and Taylor came through once again in the mud, taking the lead with an 18.23. The pair was seeking their third consecutive Showdown appearance.
Canadian cowgirl Tara Muldoon and her mare Revy had already captured the hearts of the Stampede crowd, keeping pace in Pool B with Lockhart and WPRA World leader Callie duPerier. The hopes for a Canadian champ in the barrels at Calgary were sky-high after the duo fearlessly raced through the mud, stopping the clock at 17.96 seconds for the lead.
duPerier was next to run and the cowgirl relied again on the experience of her great horse Dillion, who has run in Calgary in the mud with previous jockeys. Never missing a beat, Dillion didn't disappoint, posting a 17.98 for second with four cowgirls to run.
Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RNCFR) champ Carmel Wright was next but she was unable to break into the top four. The Canadian's second chance was heritage cowgirl Daines; both her parents have competed here and her father, Duane, is a past champ. Daines tipped the first barrel, eliminating her chance for a title in 2015.
PHOTO BY: Mike Copeman
Lockhart and Louie came next. Easing up the long alley, Lockhart brought Louie into the arena to set up her run and let the big buckskin roll. Testing the ground as he went, Louie was able to advance with a run of 18.00.
Taylor was now the bubble cowgirl with just one lady to run. McDonald and her mare Bling took a run but a wide turn on the first put them out of contention, meaning Taylor was in for a third try at the $100,000.
With just a short break, the four ladies would test their nerves in the muddy conditions one more time in the Showdown. As the fourth to qualify, Taylor led the way. Staying incredibly consistent, Taylor and Babyflo posted another 18.2, this time an 18.29 to set the bar for the rest.
Lockhart was the next cowgirl to take her shot at one of the few titles she has never won in professional rodeo. Setting Louie up once again for the run, the buckskin and his steady jockey added speed from their semi-final run. Another picture perfect run landed them on top with a 17.90.
duPerier brought Dillion up the lane with a calm that disguised the fact that the cowgirl was competing in her first Stampede. Despite running a little wide on the third, the pair stopped the clock at 18.19 for second with just one cowgirl to run.
Surely, Canada collectively held its breath as Muldoon and Revy aggressively tackled the first turn. Sprinting across the arena, the pair just barely clipped the second barrel, dropping it to the ground along with their title hopes. They cruised home in 18.40 seconds plus the five second penalty.
Lockhart was emotional as she accepted the bronze as champion along with the huge check worth $116,500 for the week. She said Louie will get a break for most of the summer with the exception of Cheyenne Frontier Days. She will likely go to the lead of the WPRA World standings with $66,500 of her winnings counting. duPerier kept pace after winning $25,000 for second. Taylor added $15,000 to her total while Muldoon earned $10,000. The rest of the finalists got checks for $3,300.
Sydney Daines, 17.90, $6,000
Sarah McDonald, 17.98, $5,000
Julie Leggett, 18.01, $4,000
Kassidy Dennison, 18.06, $2,500
Britany Diaz, 18.06, $2,500
Pam Capper, 18.08, $1,000
Lockhart, 17.90, $100,000
duPerier, 18.19, $25,000
Taylor, 18.29, $15,000
Muldoon, 23.4, $10,000
Total Money Won (Pool)
Lockhart (B), $116,500
DuPerier (B), $41,000
Taylor (A), $31,000
Muldoon (B), $26,000
Walker (A), $20,300
Wright (A), $15,800
Cervi (B), $13,800
Hunter (A), $11,800
Daines (A), $10,800
McDonald (B), $10,550
Other Money Winners
Leggett (A), $10,000
Dennison (A), $8,000
Diaz (B), $6,500
Capper (B), $3,500
Laughlin (B), $2,500
Mather (A), $1,500
McLeod (A), $1,500