Houston 2016-Field Set for Semifinal at RodeoHouston, Hunter and Lockhart Win Their Super Series Bracket



Nancy Hunter

By Jolee Jordan

Houston, Texas — The field of WPRA barrel racers at the 2016 edition of RodeoHouston has been cut in half from the rodeo’s beginning two weeks ago. The forty qualifiers competed in five Super Series rodeos consisting of three go rounds each with the four high money winners earning a spot in the semi-finals.

The remaining 20 ladies will battle through the two Semi-Finals sets on Wednesday and Thursday (March 16-17) and the Wild Card round Friday (March 18) for a chance to run in Saturday’s Championship (March 19) and try for the huge $50,000 payday.

Super Series IV

When Utah cowgirl Nancy Hunter won RodeoHouston last year for the third straight time, she joked that she was renaming her great gelding Fuzz. New name? RodeoHouston of course.

So RodeoHouston showed up for well, RodeoHouston in 2016 and the results are already looking pretty scary for the rest of the field.

Hunter and the horse who is registered Flit N Fizz topped two of three rounds in Super Series IV with the two fastest times of the entire rodeo. Her time for victory in round one was 13.97 seconds, the first time under fourteen since Hunter herself posted a 13 second run to win the Championship Shootout in 2015.

The reigning champs had a rare mistake in round two, clipping the first barrel for a penalty that prevented them from a clean sweep because the mistake just seemed to fuel the fire. In the next round, Hunter bettered her first round time to 13.94 seconds, just two one hundredths off the arena record.

Hunter easily advanced as the top money winner of the bracket with $6,000.

While all eyes were on Hunter, Carley Richardson and her consistent gelding Radio quietly had a great bracket run as well, winning money in every round including the second go victory at 14.16 seconds. She finished second to Hunter by just $250.

In the final two spots, 2015 RodeoHouston finalist Brenda Mays hung on with a pair of round checks aboard Dora while California cowgirl Rachel Dice and Katie bounced back from an opening round penalty to pick up a third and second place to match Mays’ $3,000 in earnings.

photoLisa Lockhart

Super Series V

It seems that the horses who like NRG Stadium continue to do so from one year to the next, making the field of finalists shape up fairly the same from one year to the next. Thus far 2016 is looking to keep that trend going with Sherry Cervi and Stingray already into the semi-finals along with Hunter and Fuzz, Mays and Dora and Britany Diaz and Rootie.

One cowgirl who perennially makes the trip to the Championships here is two-time WPRA Reserve World Champion Lisa Lockhart and her great equine partner Louie. Lockhart has been second here the last two seasons, winning close to $30,000 each time.

Lockhart came to RodeoHouston ranked 83rd in the WPRA World standings with just over $3,000 in earning in 2016 in the early going. She nearly doubled that in the first round of her Super Series, winning first in the round with a run of 14.33 seconds.

WPRA World No. 1, Ivy Conrado interrupted Lockhart’s clean sweep of the series, winning round two with a run of 14.15 seconds. Lockhart was back on top in round three with a Super Series best time of 14.05 seconds.

Lockhart and Louie looked tough en route to $8,000 in earnings, best of the set to advance to the semi-finals for the third straight year. Conrado picked up a second on the final night to run her earnings to $5,000, putting her second in the set to keep her winter dominance alive.

The final positions in the next round went to 2015 top four cowgirl Kaley Bass and fellow Floridian Megan Swint. Like Lockhart, Bass placed in all three payoffs, earning $3,750, while Swint picked up a third in the final go to tie former RodeoHouston winner Lindz Sears for the fourth spot in the Super Series with $1,000 in winnings. Swint was awarded the position in the semi-finals based on the tie breaker.

Semi-Finals Preview

The first semi-final should be wicked to watch with the WPRA’s newly minted $3 million cowgirl Sherry Cervi and 2012 WPRA World Champ Mary Walker both competing against three-time and reigning RodeoHouston Champion Nancy Hunter. Both Cervi and Walker swept through their Super Series, winning all three go rounds, while Hunter won two, running the only two runs under fourteen seconds during the 2016 edition of the rodeo.

Add to the mix former RodeoHouston winner Mary Burger, also a WPRA World Champion, and WNFR qualifiers Taylor Jacob and Layna Kight along with tough California cowgirls Rachel Dice and Brittany Kelly, and Wednesday’s round will be superb.

Burger, Cervi and Hunter are the only cowgirls still competing who have won a title at RodeoHouston in the past.

In the second semi-finals, Carley Richardson and Pam Capper lead the way, the only competitors in the group who placed in all three go rounds of their respective Super Series. Although no averages are paid here, Richardson ran the second fastest time on three runs behind Lockhart during Super Series competition.

Also in the field is Sarah Rose McDonald, who was in the final four last year along with Hunter, Lockhart and Bass, and Britany Diaz and Brenda Mays, who were among the top 10 here a year ago. Add in Katelyn McLeod, one of 2015’s top rookies, two-time WNFR qualifier Jana Bean and 2015 Ram National Circuit Finals Champion Carmel Wright.

The four fastest cowgirls in each semi-finals will move directly to Saturday’s Championship while the remaining semi-finalist are given one more chance through Friday’s Wild Card Round. The top two from the Wild Card will also advance to the final night at RodeoHouston.

The Championship Round will consist of ten cowgirls. Following the first run, the four fastest move into the Shoot-out Round and will run again, sudden death, for the $50,000 payoff. All monies won in Houston count towards WPRA World standings and will play a big role in qualifying cowgirls to the WNFR in December.

For more information on RodeoHouston, visit them on-line at www.rodeohouston.com and stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates.

Super Series IV
1st Go
1. Nancy Hunter, Flit N Fizz, 13.97, $3,000
2. Carley Richardson, Doda Flit, 14.26, $2,000
3. Brenda Mays, Judge My Fame, 14.59, $1,000
4. Christina Richman, Xtrared, 14.60, $750

2nd Go
1. Richardson, 14.16, $3,000
2. Mays, 14.36, $2,000
3. Rachel Dice, Tivitosatthegogobar, 14.41, $1,000
4. Kirsten Darnell, 14.49, $750

3rd Go
1. Hunter, 13.94, $3,000
2. Dice, 14.29, $2,000
3. Richman, 14.34, $1,000
4. Richardson, 14.35, $750

Total Money Winners
Hunter, $6,000*
Richardson, $5,750*
Mays, $3,000*
Dice, $3,000*
Richman, $1,750
Darnell, $750

*Advance to Semi-Finals

Super Series V
1st Go
1. Lisa Lockhart, An Okie with Cash, 14.33, $3,000
2. Kaley Bass, Wonders Cowboy Dan, 14.45, $2,000
3. Lindz Sears, Ima Guy of Honor, $1,000
4. Fallon Taylor, Flos Heiress, 14.58, $750

2nd Go
1. Ivy Conrado, CFour Tibbie Stinson, 14.15, $3,000
2. Lockhart, 14.18, $2,000
3. Bass, 14.25, $1,000
4. Jessica Dunbar, Make It Holland, 14.28, $750

3rd Go
1. Lockhart, 14.05, $3,000
2. Conrado, 14.17, $2,000
3. Megan Swint, Bar Bee Stealing Sue, 14.37, $1,000
4. Bass, 14.57, $750

Total Money Winners
Lockhart, $8,000*
Conrado, $5,000*
Bass, $3,750*
Swint, $1,000*
Sears, $1,000
Dunbar & Taylor, $750

*Advance to Semi-Finals

Semi-Finals #1, March 16
Sherry Cervi
Mary Walker
Nancy Hunter
Mary Burger
Layna Kight
Brittany Kelly
Rachel Dice
Taylor Jacob

Semi-Finals #2, March 17
Carley Richardson
Pamela Capper
Britany Diaz
Katelyn McLeod
Jana Bean
Brenda Mays
Sarah Rose McDonald
Carmel Wright