By Jolee Jordan
Fort Worth, Texas — The historic Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo concluded its long run on February 6, awarding more than half a million dollars in prize money to the rodeo contestants who competed. More than 1,200 cowboys and cowgirls rode in Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum during the FWSSR’s 29 performance run including 210 WPRA barrel racers.
Every WPRA lady entered made one run and the fastest 70 got a second one during the final week’s performances. The Championship Round was limited to the top 10 on two runs and was held Saturday night.
Utah cowgirl Kimmie Wall led the way until the final day of the show but was bumped to fourth prior to the short go by 2014 FWSSR Champ Shelly Anzick, 2016 opening round winner Michele McLeod and top newcomer Ivy Conrado. During Saturday’s matinee performance, Anzick posted the fastest run of the 2016 rodeo, a 16.55 second run that won the second round.
With her 16.62 Conrado also moved into the finals and McLeod paired her Rd. 1 winning time of 16.58 with another solid run of 16.74 seconds.
The field was finally set for the finals with just a few hours to prepare from the matinee to the evening performances. Two former Ft. Worth champions made the cut, Anzick and Taylor Jacob, who won in 2013 as a rookie. Anzick took the lead into the final performance with a two-run total of 33.24 seconds. McLeod was second at 33.32 and Conrado carried a 33.39 into the final round.
The top three had separated themselves from the pack by a couple of tenths of a second. Because the rodeo provides a hand rake for each and every runner, the final round is run from slowest to fastest, allowing the suspense of who will take home the championship to build with each competitor.
College cowgirl Kellie Collier kicked off the final round in dramatic fashion. Riding Lolo, Streakin Easy April, Collier put a 16.64 on the board as the first lady to run. Her time would get pushed hard by the lefty, BB French Fooledya and Kelly Tovar. Ironically, the cowgirls had split second in the first go but Collier held the other Kelly off in the finals by one one-hundredth of a second.
Conrado continued her blistering start to 2016 by posting a third flawless run in Fort Worth during the finals. Riding her home grown superstar CFour Tibbie Stinson, Conrado stopped the clock with a time of 16.65 to tie for second in the round with Tovar. The quick time also landed her on top of the average with just Anzick and McLeod to run.
When both top cowgirls fell victim to penalties, Conrado notched the biggest win of her young career. Her three-run total of 50.04 seconds was nearly two tenths better than Tovar, who moved up from eighth to second.
Conrado was one of a pack of extremely tough rookies in 2015 and had already climbed to second in the current WPRA World standings prior to Fort Worth on the strength of wins last fall in Casper (WY) and Billings (MT). She added a reserve title at the National Western Stock Show in January.
In Fort Worth, she placed second in the second round as well as sharing second in the final go. Along with the huge check for first in the average, she put $14,510 in her Wranglers and should see her name go to the top of the standings. She has now won nearly $30,000 for the year, about $23,000 of that coming in the last month.
Collier finished third in the average with Andrea Busby taking fourth.
The FWSSR paid out over $95,000 to the WPRA barrel racers in 2016 in no small part thanks to a big jump in committee purse. The added money for the World’s Original Indoor Rodeo was $40,000 this year.
In addition, the committee annually awards the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award in conjunction with the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Judged during the short round, the award comes with a $5,000 bonus. In 2016 the honor was given to Anzick.
For more information on the FWSSR, visit them on-line at www.fwssr.com and find a complete story on the FWSSR Champion Ivy Conrado in the next issue of the Women’s Pro Rodeo News magazine.
1. Shelly Anzick, Scooten ta Fame, 16.55, $5,145
2. Ivy Conrado, CFour Tibbie Stinson,16.62, $4,410
3. Andrea Busby, Kellies Chick, 16.69, $3,675
4. Kimmie Wall, TKW Bullys Famous Fox, $3,185
5. Ashley Day, Queen of Bullets, 16.72, $2,450
6. Jill Wilson, 16.74, $1,1715
7. Michele McLeod, Streakinflingindisco, 16.74, $1,715
8. Taylor Jacob, Honor Thy Frenchman, 16.78, $980
9. Paxton Segelke, HPQ Smokin Rascal, 16.78, $735
10. Tiany Schuster, JSYK Im Famous, 16.79, $490
1. Kellie Collier, Streakin Easy April, 16.64, $3,811
2. Kelly Tovar, BB French Fooledya, 16.65, $2,382
3. Conrado, 16.65, $2,382
4. Busby, 16.76, $953
1. Conrado, 50.04, $7,718
2. Tovar, 50.23, $6,615
3. Collier, 50.29, $5,513
4. Busby, 50.32, $4,778
5. Schuster, 50.44, $3,675
6. Wall, 50.53, $2,940
7. Jacob, 50.66, $2,205
8. Anzick, 55.16, $1,470
9. McLeod, 55.21, $1,103
10. Segelke, 60.71, $735