Ivy Hurst
Fernando Sam-Sin


By Jolee Jordan

NFR Hurst Makes Headlines with First Reno Title


Reno, Nevada—Winning a set of silver spurs that say Reno Rodeo Champion Barrel Racer is a bucket list goal for many cowgirls. At stake is not just a piece of one of pro rodeo’s most lucrative purses but a big boost in momentum as the rodeo season hits its big summer run.

Winning in 2019, on the 100th anniversary of the rodeo, is just double frosting on an already very sweet cake for the champion.

As the rodeo began its centennial celebration on June 21, it was anybody’s guess who would rise to the top in the WPRA’s barrel racing. Could two-time champ Nellie Miller win a third title, joining only WPRA World Champions, and ProRodeo Hall of Famers, Charmayne James, Kristie Peterson and Sammy Thurman-Brackenbury with so many wins at the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West?

Would one of the hot rookies defy the odds and beat the veterans inside the huge Reno Livestock Events Center arena with crowds topping eight thousand five hundred enthusiastic fans?

Or would someone else break through and propel themselves to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo thanks to a big run on Saturday night?

Ninety-six cowgirls began the quest to be the 100th anniversary Reno Rodeo Champion. After two preliminary rounds, only 12 cowgirls remained on the final night, each with one more round to try to move to the top of the leaderboard.

Eighth Set, Friday, June 28

It was no surprise to see the two-time and reigning Reno Rodeo Champ Nellie Miller rise to the top during the final slack of the 2019 Reno Rodeo. Miller and her always tough mare Sister scampered through the pattern in a fast 17.25 to win third in the go round. Miller was one of three cowgirls to get into the money on Friday morning; Jill Wilson’s 17.27 slotted in right behind Miller in fourth while Shali Lord posted a 17.31 to win sixth.

Lord took her stallion Can Man to the top in the Friday night performance, stopping the clock 17.28 seconds. She and leader Ivy Hurst are the only two cowgirls to place in both the first and second round payoffs.

Lord moved to a tie for third and fourth in the average at 34.59 seconds with Miller moving into fifth right behind them at 34.61 seconds, just fourteen one-hundredths of a second behind Hurst as she chases her third straight Reno championship.

Championship Round

Oklahoma cowgirl Ivy Hurst led from wire-to-wire through the preliminary rounds after taking the lead on the opening day. Hurst and her great horse Diddy held off all challengers to carry the eight one-hundredth lead over Sabra O’Quinn into in the final night.


Jill Welsh
2019 Fast Time of the Rodeo 17.06 seconds
Photo By Fernando Sam-Sin

Three former Reno champions made the short round in 2019: Miller, Jill Welsh and Stevi Hillman. Hillman punched her ticket after tying for the final qualifying position but winning out over Lacinda Rose by virtue of the tie breaker: Hillman’s 17.18 in round two was the fastest single run produced by the two cowgirls, allowing her to advance to the final night.

The order of competition in the short round is drawn although the committee hand rakes following each cowgirl to keep the conditions as even as possible throughout the competition. As luck had it, Miller drew the top spot, giving her a chance to lay down the mark to beat. Hurst ran second while other top contenders O’Quinn, Cheeney and Lord were further down in the draw. In fact, Lord would be the final lady to compete.

As expected, the 2017 WPRA World Champion came out smooth and fast, showing the consistency that has become their trademark. Miller and Sister were 17.27 seconds on the run, fast to be sure but leaving the door cracked a bit for the field.

Turned out that Hurst didn’t need much space and that her big, brown gelding Diddy hadn’t cooled off since his first runs a week prior to the finals. As the second runners, the team posted a 17.11 second run, the best of the rodeo at that point.

At 51.58 seconds, Hurst’s time was three tenths ahead of the reigning champion to set a high bar for any challenger yet to run.

Leading WPRA rookie Carly Taylor was next in the draw. Running in her first Reno Rodeo finals, she ran 17.56 seconds.

Megan McLeod-Sprague ran fourth on the night. She and her great gelding Bucky seem to love Reno, finishing inside the top five in each of the past two years. In 2019 she moved up the ladder. With a blistering 17.21 on the final night, McLeod-Sprague moved to second in the average at 51.85, just three one hundredths of a second ahead of Miller.

O’Quinn and her mare Nosey ran next. Coming into the round with the best chance of catching Hurst of anyone in the field, she needed to run a 17.02 to take the lead. After taking a bit wider go around the first, she finished up in 17.53, not enough to take over the lead but good enough to stay in the money.

Texas cowgirl Ryann Pedone also ran into the mid-17’s, putting 17.55 on the board from sixth on the ground. She moved into a tie with Taylor at 52.33 seconds on three runs.

Next came a run that had fans and fellow barrel racers alike standing to cheer. 2015 Reno Champion Jill Welsh was back in town aboard the 2015 AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year Custer, the second lefty competing on Saturday. A cancer survivor twice over, Welsh narrowly missed a berth into the Wrangler NFR that season, finishing 16th in the WPRA World standings.

On Saturday night in Reno, she seemed carried on wings as Custer flawlessly glided around three barrels. The clock stopped at 17.06, the fastest time of the entire rodeo. Just out of the money in both opening go rounds, Welsh jumped up the average standings with the speedy run, landing fourth at the time.

After Wrangler NFR cowgirl Jessie Telford took the round’s first barrel penalty on the next run, it was up to Wyoming cowgirl Sara Cheeney. Cheeney was competing in her first Reno Rodeo as she seasons her mare Mac to the rodeo scene following a successful futurity and derby career. The pair has looked anything but green here, picking up a big check in round two and finishing their 2019 Reno Rodeo in 17.39 seconds. She landed in a tie with Welsh for fourth and fifth in the average at the time.

The final former champ competing on Saturday, Stevi Hillman, ran next though she wasn’t aboard the same horse that carried her to the title in 2016. That year she ran her bay gelding Truck but in 2019, she called upon Toni Dixon’s pretty palomino Sherlock. The pair was able to run a 17.30, helping her move up from the 12th position in the average.

After second ranked rookie Megan Champion ran into a little bit of trouble with her run, managing only an 18.07, Hurst had just one more lady to get by and she is a formidable one.

A former Wrangler NFR qualifier, Lord has won big rodeos in the past and looks poised for a second Wrangler NFR appearance in 2019 as she comes out of the winter and spring in sixth position in the WPRA World standings. She would need to break seventeen seconds to hoist the silver spurs.

Making a long, calm walk down the big arena in Reno, Lord positioned Can Man for the run and finally let him fly. She made a smoking run, good enough for third in the round at 17.17 seconds. The time was good enough for second in the average, eighteen one-hundredths behind Hurst.

Hurst and Lord were the only cowgirls to place in every payoff, earning $10,511 and $7,690, respectively. Ranked 38th prior to Reno, Hurst will jump up about ten positions in the standings, keeping alive any Wrangler NFR dreams for 2019.

“As I wake this morning I get to realize this wasn’t just a dream! I think about Whitney DeSalvo’s post I just shared, “work until your idols become your rivals,”” Hurst posted to Facebook on Sunday morning. “So much truth to that for me.”

“Year after year, I’ve watched the Reno finals and it is always great watching to see the very best in the world go head to head! But last night..... it was my turn as some would say! To win the Reno Rodeo on its 100th year celebration is just a fairy tale ending to all the long days of hard work that got me where I am today!”

“If there’s one thing you take away from this, it’s to NEVER GIVE UP!” she continued. “If you want something, go after it, day after day, take the good runs in stride with the bad! When you’re in a slump, you don’t always see it at the time, but God is teaching you how to win, if you choose to let him. Let the failures makes the victories that much sweeter! Don’t make excuses and follow your heart!”

Hurst took time to thank her equine partner too.

“Top Of The Roc is such a special horse and for him I am so grateful! He really does give me his heart! Extra cookies for him today!” she wrote. “THANK YOU to each and every one of you that called or text! Sorry my service hasn’t been to great! It’s the support from you that melts my heart!”

Hurst also gathered 240 points on the Wrangler Network Tour; thanks to Wrangler, the top point earners at the tour’s end will get bonus money. Telford is leading those standings though Miller (2nd) and Hillman (5th) both gained ground in Reno.

Already in solid position, Lord will go over $60,000 in the standings while Miller padded her position as the standings leader as the Fourth of July run begins in earnest this week.

Though the short round didn’t go quite as she’d wanted, Champion was honored in Reno as the California Six Pac Champ. The title is determined based on points awarded to those contestants who entered and competed in each rodeo in the series: Oakdale, Red Bluff, Clovis, Hayward, Redding, Livermore and Reno. The winner receives a buckle and $4,000 bonus; second place is also awarded a $2,000 bonus.

“I’m so honored to say Smarty pants and Katy won the six pack award,” Champion posted to social media. “Reno was exciting just to have made it back . . . was a wonderful experience. Smarty made $2k placing 4th in the 2nd Round. We may have had a terrible run in the last round at Reno (horses have a mind of their own and it’s a reminder we all have bad runs). I’m just grateful to have made it back and the opportunity to run with some of the best girls in the world.”

For more information on the Reno Rodeo and its long history, visit them on-line at


1st Go

Name, Horse Name, Time

  1. Ivy Hurst, Top of the Roc, 17.14, $3,311
  2. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 17.18, $2,838
  3. Nellie Miller, Rafter W Minnie Reba, 17.25, $2,365
  4. Jill Wilson, Lean Mean Blue Dean, 17.27, $2,050
  5. Megan McLeod-Sprague, Fast Feet N Freedom, 17.29, $1,577
  6. Shali Lord, Freckles ta Fame, 17.31, $1,261
  7. Lacinda Rose, RR Meradas Real Deal, 17.35, $946
  8. Tyra Kane, Majestic Knight, 17.36, $631
  9. Ashley Castleberry, Calfee Stormy Dash, 17.38, $473
  10. Amanda Waller, Streak A Roses, 17.40, $315

2nd Go

  1. Sabra O’Quinn, Bring It On Guys, 17.14, $3,311
  2. Sara Cheeney, Miss Mac N Fame, 17.16, $2,838
  3. Stevi Hillman, Guys R A Mystery, 17.18, $2,365
  4. Megan Champion, Miss Dual Smartee, 17.19, $2,050
  5. Randi Buchanan, Royal Flight Ta Fame, 17.21, $1,577
  6. Ryann Pedone, Dash ta Jones, 17.22, $1,261
  7. Lord, 17.28, $946, $946
  8. Carly Taylor, Diva Deniro, 17.29, $631
  9. Jody Hale, Too the Hilt, 17.33, $394
  10. Hurst, 17.33, $394

Average on Two (Short Round Qualifiers)

  1. Hurst, 34.47
  2. O’Quinn, 34.55
  3. Cheeney, 34.59
  4. Lord, 34.59
  5. Miller, 34.61
  6. McLeod-Sprague, 34.64
  7. Taylor, 34.77
  8. Pedone, 34.78
  9. Champion, 34.89
  10. Jill Welsh, French First Watch, 34.92
  11. Jessie Telford, Famous Cool Whip, 35.01
  12. Rose, 35.04
  13. Hillman, 35.04*

*Advances by tie breaker, fastest single run

Short Go Round

  1. Welsh, 17.06, $2,453
  2. Hurst, 17.11, $1,839
  3. Lord, 17.17, $1,226
  4. McLeod-Sprague, 17.21, $613

Average on Three

  1. Hurst, 51.58, $4,967
  2. Lord, 51.76, $4,257
  3. McLeod-Sprague, 51.85, $3,548
  4. Miller, 51.88, $3,075
  5. Cheeney, 51.98, $2,129
  6. Welsh, 51.98, $2,129
  7. O’Quinn, 52.08, $1,419
  8. Pedone, 52.33, $828
  9. Taylor, 52.33, $828
  10. Hillman, 52.34, $473

Total Money Won

Ivy Hurst, $10,511

Shali Lord, $7,690

Megan McLeod-Sprague, $5,738

Nellie Miller, $5,440

Sara Cheeney, $4,967

Sabra O’Quinn, $4,730

Jill Welsh, $4,582

Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, $2,838

Stevi Hillman, $2,838

Ryann Pedone, $2,089

Megan Champion, $2,050

Jill Wilson, $2,050

Randi Buchanan, $1,577

Carly Taylor, $1,459

Lacinda Rose, $946

Tyra Kane, $631

Ashley Castleberry, $473

Jody Hale, $394

Amanda Waller, $315



NFR O’Quinn on Track for a Reno Title


Reno, Nevada—There is never a dull moment during the week of Reno Rodeo. No matter what time of day it is at the Reno-Livestock Events complex, there is almost always something happening, from carnivals and trade shows, to major team ropings and even drill team competitions.

Of course, the crown jewel in the middle of it all is the rodeo itself. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West packs a huge crowd into the stands each night to watch as some of the best in pro rodeo compete. A stop on the ProRodeo Tour, and one of the most lucrative rodeos on the schedule all year, Reno is the unofficial starting block for the huge summer run, a slingshot into the Fourth of July run and the craziness of July for rodeo contestants chasing a berth into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR).

Competing inside the huge arena, ninety-six WPRA barrel racers get a shot to run here, divided into sets of 12 ladies per day. Each cowgirl runs in the morning slack for her first go round run and then returns that same night for the performance for round two. Only the 12 fastest on two runs will advance to Saturday’s final go round where they will compete for the Reno Rodeo Championship.

The top of the leaderboard for the barrel race has been stagnant since day one here last Friday, June 21 but finally saw a little shake up midweek. Though Oklahoma cowgirl Ivy Hurst still leads, she was pushed hard by Floridian Sabra O’Quinn.

Sixth Set, June 26

WPRA rookies have been tough here in Reno in 2019: the top two in the WPRA World standings, Carly Taylor and Megan Champion, are both sitting solid to make the short go. Ashley Castleberry made a good bid to join them with her opening round run on Wednesday morning. The fifth ranked rookie stopped the clock at 17.38 seconds to drop into the first go standings.

Wednesday night belonged to a veteran. Sabra O’Quinn holds several Southeastern Circuit championships and is perennially ranked among the top 30 of the WPRA World standings. After a good run of 17.41 in the morning, O’Quinn and her great mare Nosey turned up the heat, transposing the numbers in the perf for a go round leading 17.14.

“Reno Rodeo! This has been on my bucket list for years and Nosey made every mile worth it!” O’Quinn posted to social media following the run, which tied Hurst’s first go run for the fastest of the rodeo. “Currently leading the 2nd round and 7th in the first round, 2nd in the average!”

“Some great horses yet to run BUT we are super proud of Nosey,” she continued. “Thank You Tom for pushing me to enter up. Beyond grateful for these amazing horses! A huge thank you to friends and family back home for your help and support!”

O’Quinn’s two run total of 34.55 is the closest to Hurst since the rodeo began. She is currently second in the average, just eight one-hundredths behind Hurst and four one-hundredths ahead of Sara Cheeney, who also ran on Friday.

Wrangler NFR cowgirl Jessie Telford also moved into contention for a short go berth on Wednesday, posting 35.01 seconds on the two runs to move into the top 10.

Seventh Set, June 27

Thursday could have been called Ladies Day at the Reno Rodeo. In addition to the usual line up of barrel racers, the ropings held during the day inside the indoor arena adjacent to the rodeo arena hosted ladies team roping and breakaway roping competitions, all part of the Wrangler BFI Week presented by Yeti. It begins Monday with the Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping, probably the most famous and prestigious open team roping in the nation. It’s followed by two days of numbered team ropings for amateur ropers and then the ladies get their day.

The ropings are co-sanctioned with the WPRA so the ladies were earning points towards WPRA World titles in both arenas on Thursday. The winners in the team roping were Debbie Robbins—the 2007 WPRA World Champion All Around cowgirl—and Danielle Lowman. Eighteen-time WPRA World Champ Jackie Crawford took the win in the breakaway, closing the gap on WPRA standings leader Taylor Munsell for the 2019 World title.

Lowman earned a $2,500 bonus as the All Around cowgirl after she also placed in the breakaway.

The producers of BFI Week and the Reno Rodeo brought the top five cowgirls from the breakaway average to the performance in an exciting winner-take-all shoot out round, held just prior to the barrels. The shoot-out round was not sanctioned for WPRA points. Crawford won the battle there too, winning with a 3.8 that just edged Lari Dee Guy’s 3.9 and Katie Amarant’s 4.0.

In the barrels on Thursday it was all Megan McLeod-Sprague. McLeod-Sprague is no stranger to collecting Reno checks and she gathered up a chance for more with a smoking run of 17.29 in the morning which she paired up with a 17.35 in the evening to move to fourth in the average with 34.64 on two runs. McLeod-Sprague was riding her gelding Bucky, the 2018 Columbia River Circuit Horse with the Most Heart.

McLeod-Sprague has been in the finals here in each of the last two seasons, finishing fifth in 2018 and fourth the year before.

Up Next

Only 12 cowgirls are left in the preliminary rounds before the field is set for Saturday’s Championship Round. Not just any 12 ladies, though. Nellie Miller leads the list as not only a WPRA World Champion but the two-time and defending champion here in Reno. With her victory a year ago, Miller became the first repeat champion since Kristie Peterson won three in a row from 1997-1999. Miller can duplicate that feat with a good showing this year.

Also on the docket is the red hot Shali Lord, ranked sixth in the current WPRA World standings as well as Turquoise Circuit champ Lori Todd, who won second in a go round here in 2018.

Each performance of the Reno Rodeo can be watched live on The Wrangler Network. For more information on the Reno Rodeo, visit them on-line at

Current Leaders (Unofficial)

1st Go

Name, Horse Name, Time

  1. Ivy Hurst, Top of the Roc, 17.14
  2. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 17.18
  3. Megan McLeod-Sprague, Fast Feet N Freedom, 17.29
  4. Lacinda Rose, RR Meradas Real Deal, 17.35
  5. Tyra Kane, Majestic Knight, 17.36
  6. Ashley Castleberry, Calfee Stormy Dash, 17.38
  7. Amanda Waller, Streak A Roses, 17.40
  8. Sabra O’Quinn, Bring It On Guys, 17.41
  9. Danyelle Williams, Sonny (grade), 17.41
  10. Sara Cheeney, Miss Mac N Fame, 17.43

2nd Go

  1. O’Quinn, 17.14
  2. Cheeney, 17.16
  3. Stevi Hillman, Guys R A Mystery, 17.18
  4. Megan Champion, Miss Dual Smartee, 17.19
  5. Randi Buchanan, Royal Flight Ta Fame, 17.21
  6. Ryann Pedone, Dash ta Jones, 17.22
  7. Taylor, Diva Deniro, 17.29
  8. Jody Hale, Too the Hilt, 17.33
  9. Hurst, 17.33
  10. Sue Smith, Dashs Centerfold, 17.34

Average on Two

  1. Hurst, 34.47
  2. O’Quinn, 34.55
  3. Cheeney, 34.59
  4. McLeod-Sprague, 34.64
  5. Taylor, 34.77
  6. Pedone, 34.78
  7. Champion, 34.89
  8. Jill Welsh, French First Watch, 34.92
  9. Jessie Telford, Famous Cool Whip, 35.01
  10. Rose, 35.04
  11. Hillman, 35.04
  12. Barnett, Chicks Keen PocoPoo , 35.08



NFR Welsh in Contention for Second Reno Title


Reno, Nevada—The Reno Rodeo continued to celebrate its 100th anniversary early this week, even as the headlines shifted to major team roping events being held during the day in the indoor facility adjacent to Reno’s huge arena.

While BFI Week grabs a lot of attention as it doles out hundreds of thousands of dollars to team ropers, the focus is still upon the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West and its amazing history as Reno’s longest running special event. Among the festivities to commemorate their centennial, Reno Rodeo held a Pony Express reenactment, commissioned a massive mural along Sutro Street skirting the grounds and created the Reno Rodeo Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame will be part of the Reno Rodeo Museum which will be located in the future in the planned new stadium. Every night of the 2019 rodeo, a new Hall of Fame inductee is introduced to the fans. Charles Mapes, Sr., the Salinas Rodeo Committee, Bob Tallman, Harry Frost, Bill Moffit, Charles Sadlier, Will James, Gus Bartley, Casey Tibbs and Cotton Rosser will comprise the first class of inductees.

But alongside the special awards and ceremonies this year, the Reno Rodeo continues to deliver top quality professional rodeo to the massive crowds who pay to watch each night. And Reno has stayed a top pick by cowboys and cowgirls due to the electric atmosphere and large payoff.

The unofficial start to the lucrative Fourth of July run, the Reno Rodeo offers a committee added purse of $37,500; Reno is often a launching pad for competitors seeking elusive berths into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), open only to the top 15 money winners in each event at the end of rodeo’s regular season.

Ninety-six WPRA barrel racers will compete here, running in sections of 12 each day. Each lady makes her first round run in the morning slack and returns that evening for a run in the performance. The 12 fastest on two runs will return for the short round on Saturday, June 29.

As the new week rolled around, no one touched the top spots in the average for the ladies: Ivy Hurst and Sara Cheeney continued to have a lock on the first two positions since running on the rodeo’s opening day on Friday. In fact, the only cowgirl to break into the top six from Monday and Tuesday’s sets was a former Reno Rodeo champion.

4th Set, Monday, June 24

Texas cowgirl Tyra Kane had the hot run of the slack with a time of 17.36, quick enough to move into fourth in the round, during action on Monday morning. Kane was aboard her gelding Jester.

Former Wrangler National Finalist and Wilderness Circuit Champion Sue Smith topped the performance on Monday night, posting a fast run of 17.34 seconds.

None of Monday’s barrel racers were able to crack into the top positions in the average: Kane would fall out after a costly barrel penalty in the second round during the performance, just as Smith had knocked over a barrel in round one. The top cowgirl in the average on Monday was 2009 WPRA Junior World Champion Lake Mehalic. Mehalic moved to ninth (at the time) after her runs of 17.76 and 17.51, respectively in the two preliminary rounds.

“Reno was such an amazing experience! I got to run Holy Moly in the slack Monday morning and he worked great!” Mehalic posted to social media. “His first run back since January and he worked like an angel! Saddle broke around the second barrel and caused his breast collar to flip around and he held his composure!”

“Then I got to run Big in the perf and I can’t even explain how happy I was, I don’t know why I fist pumped but to me it felt fist pump worthy (please don’t judge),” she joked. “After hitting so many barrels and not clocking, I feel like I finally have my BIG back! And between both of my runs, the boys and I were the fastest on two out of all the Monday girls! Now we head to Lehi, UT then take off for the fourth run! I am so blessed with these boys and to be out here doing what I love. All the glory goes to God! He has been blessing me like crazy! Thank you to all my amazing sponsors, family and friends! I SERIOUSLY couldn’t do this without you!”

5th Set, Tuesday, June 25

Tuesday was a day for Reno champions. The fast time of the morning belonged to 2015 Reno champion, Jill Welsh. Riding the 2015 AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year Custer, Welsh stopped the clock in 17.44 seconds. Kellie Collier was right on her heels at 17.46 seconds.

In round two that night, it was Wrangler NFR cowgirl Stevi Hillman who lit up the leaderboard. Riding the palomino Sherlock, Hillman was wicked fast, stopping the clock at 17.18 to move to second in the go. Hillman won the Reno Rodeo aboard her horse Truck in 2016.

Welsh paired her fast time from round one with a consistent time of 17.48 seconds to move to sixth in the average; she’s got a good shot to return to the short go round and possibly claim a second Reno title. Hillman is splitting seventh.

Up Next

Just 36 ladies are left to compete in the preliminary rounds. Action continues on Wednesday with Wrangler NFR cowgirl Jessie Telford leading the way. She is joined by circuit champions Sabra O’Quinn from Southeastern and Cheyenne Allan from the Columbia River.

Four-time WPRA World Champ and former Reno winner Sherry Cervi competes on Thursday as does Ericka Nelson, who is currently ranked eighth in the WPRA World standings.

Each performance of the Reno Rodeo can be watched live on The Wrangler Network. For more information on the Reno Rodeo, visit them on-line at

Current Leaders (Unofficial)

1st Go

Name, Horse Name, Time

  1. Ivy Hurst, Top of the Roc, 17.14
  2. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 17.18
  3. Lacinda Rose, RR Meradas Real Deal, 17.35
  4. Tyra Kane, Majestic Knight, 17.36
  5. Amanda Waller, Streak A Roses, 17.40
  6. Sara Cheeney, Miss Mac N Fame, 17.43
  7. Jill Welsh, French First Watch, 17.44
  8. Amberleigh Moore, CP Dark Moon, 17.45
  9. Brittney Barnett, Chicks Keen PocoPoo ,17.46
  10. Kellie Collier, Koolspeed Ta Kash, 17.46

2nd Go

  1. Cheeney, 17.16
  2. Stevi Hillman, Guys R A Mystery, 17.18
  3. Megan Champion, Miss Dual Smartee, 17.19
  4. Randi Buchanan, Royal Flight Ta Fame, 17.21
  5. Ryann Pedone, Dash ta Jones, 17.22
  6. Taylor, Diva Deniro, 17.29
  7. Jody Hale, Too the Hilt, 17.33
  8. Hurst, 17.33
  9. Sue Smith, Dashs Centerfold, 17.34
  10. Teri Bangart, RCA Three Bugs Honor, 17.37

Average on Two

  1. Hurst, 34.47
  2. Cheeney, 34.59
  3. Taylor, 34.77
  4. Pedone, 34.78
  5. Champion, 34.89
  6. Welsh, 34.92
  7. Rose, 35.04
  8. Hillman, 35.04
  9. Barnett, 35.08
  10. Waller, 35.20
  11. Dolli Lautaret, Classy Rose Bug, 35.22
  12. Lake Mehalic, 35.27



NFR Hurst Off to Quick Start at Reno Rodeo 


Reno, Nevada—A century ago, local cattle baron William H. Moffat and entrepreneur George Wingfield led a group of businessmen in founding the Nevada Round-Up, a community event designed to celebrate the end of the “Great War” and jump start the city’s waning tourism industry.

The Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West was born and though it experienced its share of growing pains, the Reno Rodeo, as it is now known, is one of the top destinations for professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls. Though situated in late June, fully nine months into the rodeo season, Reno sounds the horn for the busy summer push and kicks off the Fourth of July run. Millions of dollars will be paid out over the next two weeks with a huge chunk of that coming right out of northern Nevada.


Ivy Hurst
Photo By Fernando Sam-Sin

Ninety-six ladies are entered in the WPRA barrel racing, each hoping to be the one to win the coveted silver spurs as Reno Champ. They’ll be competing for their piece of Reno’s $37,500 added purse and for coveted points on the PRCA’s ProRodeo Tour; the ladies can also earn points for the Wrangler Network Tour, a new bonus program initiated by the WPRA’s longtime sponsor Wrangler to reward cowgirls in both the barrel racing and breakaway roping at rodeos which are live-streamed on the Wrangler Network.

Each cowgirl will make two runs in a day, one in the morning slack and a second in the evening performance, with the fastest 12 on two runs returning for the championship round on Saturday night, June 29.

1st Set, Friday, June 21

Oklahoma cowgirl Ivy Hurst fired the first shot in what is always a big time gunfight for the top honors in Reno. Running on Friday morning, the cowgirl and her horse Diddy stopped the clock in a wicked fast time of 17.14 to lead the first go round.

Already a round winner at several major events this year including Guymon and Red Bluff, Hurst is ranked inside the top 40 in both the Wrangler Network Tour and WPRA World standings.

She returned during the opening perf that night, posting a 17.33 this time around to take over the lead in the two-run average. Her time of 34.47 is just ahead of Sara Cheeney, who was lightning fast in the performance, running a 17.16 to take the second go lead.

“Wow! I’m so grateful this horse found his way into my life, thank you Jackie Brand!” Hurst posted to Facebook following her runs. “Some things truly happen for a reason! Top Of The Roc pulls through at Reno!

“We are currently winning the 1st go rd and 2nd in the 2nd rd and WINNING the average! With a week left of the toughest girls in the country to run! Hoping to be back Saturday night for the finals!”

Hurst took a moment to compliment the Reno Rodeo grounds crew for their efforts as well.

“The ground here was the best I’ve ever seen it, Great Job by the committee. Busy few weeks ahead! THANK YOU, to each and everyone of you behind me, I feel it and it sure helps get through the long drives!”

Cheeney is making her inaugural Reno Rodeo, riding a horse named Miss Mac N Fame, aka Mac. Cheeney trained the eight-year old mare, bringing her up through the aged horse competitions—futurities and derbies—before making the jump to rodeo in 2019. The Pinedale, Wyoming cowgirl is ranked 154th in the WPRA World standings.

2nd Set, Saturday, June 22

The 2019 WPRA Rookie race took center stage over the weekend. On Saturday, standings leader Carly Taylor made her first trip around the huge Reno Livestock Events complex arena. Riding her tough mare Diva—who is sired by PC Frenchmans Hayday, a PESI stallion who also sired WPRA World Champions MP Meter My Hay and DM Sissy Hayday—Taylor ran a 17.48 second run during the morning slack.

Displaying the talent that has them in the lead with more than $26,000 won on the season, the Tennessee cowgirl shaved two tenths off in the evening performance landing at 17.29 seconds to sit solidly in third place behind Hurst and Cheeney in the average.

“She is making my dreams come true one day at a time!” she noted of Diva on social media.  “Sitting 6th in the first round, 4th in the second round and 3rd in the average in Reno, NV.”

Taylor’s two-run total of 34.77 seconds is just one one-hundredth ahead of Ryann Pedone, who also competed on Saturday.

3rd Set, Sunday, June 23

A vast difference in experience levels dominated the Sunday group. In the morning slack, it was veteran Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi wowing the crowd. A 12-time Wrangler National Finalist and two-time World Champion, Pozzi Tonozzi ran a blistering 17.18 aboard her home raised mare Katniss. She sits second in the first round thus far though a tipped barrel in round two will keep the WPRA’s second ranked lady from adding any other Reno earnings to her season total.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, rookie Megan Champion made sure she didn’t lose ground in that rookie race where she trails Taylor by just over $6,000. Riding her little mare Smartee, Champion paired up her 17.70 from the morning with a perf-best 17.19 that night. Champion’s two run total of 34.89 has the Ukiah, California cowgirl fifth in the average as the first weekend wraps up.

Up Next

The Reno Rodeo continues on Monday with another set of top barrel racers including Wrangler NFR cowgirls Sue Smith and Carlee Otero. Reigning Wilderness Circuit champ Meka Farr will also appear, fresh off setting a new arena record in Sisters (Ore.) just a couple of weeks back.

Tuesday brings Stevi Hillman to town to try to capture another title: Hillman is the number eighth ranked barrel racer in the WPRA World standings and fifth in the Wrangler Network Tour standings. She also happens to be the 2016 Reno Rodeo winner. She is one of four former Reno champions in the mix for another title in 2019. Jill Welsh, the 2015 Reno Champion, will also compete on Tuesday while 2013 winner Sherry Cervi competes Thursday and two-time and defending champion Nellie Miller takes her shot at the three-peat come Friday.

Each performance of the Reno Rodeo can be watched live on The Wrangler Network. For more information on the Reno Rodeo, visit them on-line at

Current Leaders (Unofficial)

1st Go

  1. Ivy Hurst, Top of the Roc, 17.14
  2. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 17.18
  3. Lacinda Rose, RR Meradas Real Deal, 17.35
  4. Amanda Waller, Streak A Roses, 17.40
  5. Brittney Barnett, Chicks Keen PocoPoo ,17.40
  6. Sara Cheeney, Miss Mac N Fame, 17.43
  7. Amberleigh Moore, CP Dark Moon, 17.45
  8. Jenna Beaver, 17.47
  9. Carly Taylor, Diva Deniro, 17.48
  10. Ryann Pedone, Dash ta Jones, 17.56

2nd Go

  1. Cheeney, 17.16
  2. Megan Champion, Miss Dual Smartee, 17.19
  3. Randi Buchanan, Royal Flight Ta Fame, 17.21
  4. Pedone, 17.22
  5. Taylor, 17.29
  6. Jody Hale, 17.33
  7. Hurst, 17.33
  8. Italy Sheehan, Woody Pine Cone, 17.43
  9. Barnett, 17.62
  10. Rose, 17.69

Average on Two

  1. Hurst, 34.47
  2. Cheeney, 34.59
  3. Taylor, 34.77
  4. Pedone, 34.78
  5. Champion, 34.89
  6. Barnett, 35.02
  7. Rose, 35.04
  8. Waller, 35.20
  9. Beaver, 35.29
  10. Sheehan, 35.39
  11. Rainy Robinson, 35.56
  12. Whitney Davison, 36.06