Cheyenne, Wyoming—The 120th anniversary of the only rodeo dubbed “The Daddy of them All” is rolling through the final week of July with momentum building towards the short round on Sunday, July 31.
Cheyenne has long held an important position on the rodeo schedule for cowboys and cowgirls. As one of the richest events of the summer, winning can make or break a season for competitors. With its position near the end of the big summer run, it’s often the turning point where contestants decide whether to push on or to head home and rebuild for the next season.
Nearly 200 WPRA cowgirls came to Cheyenne in hopes of winning the coveted title as champion. That field was narrowed to 96 after the opening go round more than a week ago. Twenty-four ladies still have a chance to move into the top 12 on two go rounds and punch their ticket to the short go.
The mid-week performances seemed to bring out the best of the WPRA ladies with three very, very important moves.
The clutch performance of the rodeo thus far has to go to Jana Bean. Ranked 17th in the WPRA World standings, Bean needed to come through when the most money was up and she did just that on Tuesday afternoon. Riding her talented lefty Chick, Bean smoked a run of 17.16 seconds, better than anyone else has managed here by more than a tenth of a second. In fact, the run is the fastest in three years at Frontier Days and the second best in the last nine years.
The run not only put Bean on top of the second go standings, it also moved the Texas cowgirl to the lead in the average. Though her lead would last just 24 hours, it’s still a huge step toward a third straight WNFR qualification.
Tuesday’s performance featured several great runs with Kathy Korell-Rach and her mare Shine moving to second in the round with a 17.29 while Tyra Kane posted a 17.46 aboard Sheza Blazin Move, a former champion here under the saddle of former owner Christy Loflin.
PHOTO BY: Dan Hubbell
Probably the second biggest run of the mid-week belonged to Sherry Cervi. Sitting 13th in the WPRA World standings, Cervi—like Bean—was needing a win to inch her closer to what would be her record-tying 19th WNFR qualification.
Cervi delivered on Wednesday afternoon with the fastest run of the performance. Riding reigning WPRA World Champion Callie duPerier’s horse, Arson, Cervi stopped the clock at 17.42 seconds, three one hundredths of a second ahead of Amber Leigh Moore. The cowgirls moved to third and fourth in the second round.
For Cervi, the run helped her bump Bean from the top spot in the average, virtually assuring her a spot in the Finals on Sunday. She is looking to add another Cheyenne title to her already stellar resume. She won this rodeo 21 years ago and was second a year ago.
PHOTO BY: Kenneth Springer
On Thursday, it was Texas cowgirl Tillar Murray who came up with a big run. After winning second in the first round, Murray just needed a solid effort to ensure that she would be back for the finals and she got that and more with her run of 17.58, nearly identical to her first round time.
The run allowed her to bump Cervi to second by nearly two tenths of a second as she now leads for the championship.
The second round wraps up with the final performance on Friday and Saturday afternoons. On Friday the field includes newly crowned 2016 California Rodeo champ Nellie Miller, WNFR cowgirl Carley Richardson, as well as current top 20 cowgirls Stevi Hillman and Taylor Langdon.
Saturday brings the remainder of the money winners from go round one including Sydni Blanchard, Mary Burger, Kelly Tovar, Jana Griemsman and Megan Swint. The 2014 Cheyenne Frontier Days Champ, Brenda Mays, will also compete on Saturday.
For more information on Cheyenne Frontier Days, visit them on-line at www.cfdrodeo.com and stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates.
1. Sydni Blanchard, Famous Heartbreaker, 17.46, $6,212
2. Tillar Murray, Royal Star Commander, 17.56, $5,324
3. Mary Burger, Sadiesfamouslastwords, 17.69, $4,437
4. Mary Walker, Perculatin, 17.70, $3,845
5. Lisa Lockhart, An Okie with Cash, 17.71, $2,662
6. Kelly Tovar, BB French Fooledya, 17.71, $2,662
7. Jana Griemsman, Chase It With Brandy, 17.73, $1,775
8. Kelly Yates, Fiestanozshezfamous, 17.74, $1,183
9. Jane Melby, Brookstone Jo, 17.78, $739
10. Megan Swint, Bar Bee Stealing Sue, 17.78, $739
2nd Go (In Progress)
1. Jana Bean, Dashing Klee, 17.16
2. Kathy Korell-Rach, Smoke N Sunshine, 17.29
3. Sherry Cervi, Dash ta Diamonds, 17.42
4. Amber Leigh Moore, CP Dark Moon, 17.45
5. Tyra Kane, Sheza Blazin Move, 17.46
6. Murray, 17.58
7. Kelly Kennedy-Joseph, Dashers Hot Panajet, 17.60
8. Romany Gordon, Ozzy, 17.60
9. Sarah Rose McDonald, Fame Fling N Bling, 17.64
10. Jeni Cerise, Kelly Chache Tee, 17.66
11. Sharon Harrell, Bug Jet Can Dance, 17.66
Average (In Progress)
1. Murray, 35.14
2. Cervi, 35.31
3. Bean, 35.39
4. Lockhart, 35.43
5. Kane, 35.57
6. Korell-Rach, 35.58
7. Moore, 35.59
8. Cayla Melby, Shameon U, 35.61
9. Kennedy-Joseph, 35.61
10. McDonald, 35.62
11. Jane Melby, 35.67
12. Yates, 35.74