By Jolee Lautaret
Reno, Nevada — Here she comes again.
For three straight seasons, Florida cowgirl Kaley Bass has owned the summer. She and her great horse Wonders Cowboy Dan have dominated the big rodeos, essentially punching their tickets to Las Vegas for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in the months of June, July and August.
In fact, a year ago, Bass won so much in the heat, she went from way outside the top 20 to number one in the standings at the conclusion of the regular season.
This season has already been a little different for the 22-year old cowgirl; unlike a year ago when she had just over $13,000 won by the Fourth of July, in 2015 Bass is already ranked 12th with nearly $31,000 in earnings.
And summer is just getting started.
On Saturday, June 20, Bass came to the Reno Rodeo, bringing her partner for the first time in 2015. She had never run Cowboy here as the grey gelded son of Wonders Pal out of Jackies Cowgirl Bar was usually north of the border at Canadian rodeos during the Wildest Richest Rodeo in the West.
The fast ground, big arena and huge crowds seem to suit the 15 year old gelding just fine.
All the timed events, including the barrel racers, are given two go rounds of preliminary competition. The rodeo is limited to 96 barrel racers, 12 per day from June 19-26. Every cowgirl makes on run in the morning slack and follows with her second go round during that evening's rodeo performance. The top 12 in the average will qualify for the Championship Round on Saturday night, June 27.
In her morning run, Bass clocked in at 17.33 seconds, an impressive run that led the round at that point. But that night, during Patriot Night, Bass produced some serious fireworks for the fans. She and Cowboy scampered through the pattern in an event-best 16.94 seconds.
Her two-run total of 34.27 is way out in front through the first weekend. Her closest competition is from 2014 Wrangler NFR qualifier Kassidy Dennison. Dennison ran on Sunday, taking the lead in the opening go round with her 17.31 second effort aboard Sierra Hall of Fame, aka Eagle.
Dennison was fifth in Reno a year ago and is looking well positioned for another trip to the Championship Round after backing her 17.31 with a 17.23 in the evening performance. Her average time is 34.54 for second.
Texas cowgirl Callie duPerier also ran on Sunday. She is ranked fourth in the World as she chases her first trip to the Wrangler NFR and will likely add to her season total in Reno. She is currently third in the first go with a 17.36 and fourth in round two with her 17.31. She is third in the average with 34.67 on two runs.
Monday must be Rookie Day at Reno with four of the top five contenders for the WPRA's Rookie of the Year award scheduled to compete: Jackie Ganter (1), fresh off a big win at Wainwright, Alberta; Vickie Carter (2), Morgan Breaux (3) and Katelyn McLeod (5), who picked up a big check for winning Pleasant Grove last weekend.
For more information on the Reno Rodeo, visit them on-line at http://www.renorodeo.com and stay tuned to wpra.com for continuing updates.
Kassidy Dennison, Sierra Hall of Fame, 17.31 seconds
Kaley Bass, Wonders Cowboy Dan, 17.33
Callie duPerier, Rare Dillion, 7.36
Ruth Haislip, Famous Scarlett, 17.39
Amber Moore, CP Dark Moon, 17.52
Sherry Cervi, Atlas Peak, 17.57
Cindy Woods, 17.63
Rachel Dice, Tivitosatthegogobar, 17.68
Tillar Murray, 17.73
Lori Todd, 17.75
Sammi Bessert, Terrible Tommy Twist, 17.29
Tiegan Adams, 17.60
Dena Kirkpatrick, 17.66
Dawn Lewis, 17.77
Rachel Stoller, 35.78
Dawn Lewis, 35.90
Carlee Pierce, 36.23
Jordan Wright, 36.23
Tillar Murray, 36.24