By Amy Wilson
Callie duPerier came into her first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo leading the WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings and second to only Trevor Brazile in money won during the regular season. Through 10 nights of the top 15 barrel racers in the world vying for the gold buckle, duPerier's consistency paid off. She earned the Wrangler NFR Average Barrel Racing Championship with 140.41 seconds, and that $67,269 check increased her total earnings to $303,846 which gave her over an $18,000 lead over Lisa Lockhart.
PHOTO BY: Larry Smith
"My dad always does the numbers, but I told him not to tell me cause I don't want to know," duPerier said following her victory lap and average saddle presentation in the arena. "I thought I was just taking the victory lap for the average, which I was super excited about. And then they told me I won the world and I just started crying. It is so awesome! I thank God first, and my dad and Dillon and just everyone that has been behind me this year," duPerier said as tried to take in the news that she is the 2015 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer. "I can't believe it."
Then the Boerne, Texas cowgirl went on to say, "I was so happy to get here and my mind was set to come here and do the best I can and if I won, it would be great; but if I didn't, it would be okay. To have accomplished this is just awesome."
duPerier also talked about the reality of the 10 day competition in Las Vegas, "It was definitely exhausting. I can't imagine how the horses feel. All the horses are amazing athletes here to come out here every night and do what they do." duPerier's horse is the phenomenal 16 year old buckskin, Rare Dillon, who has a list of accomplishments at the WNFR with previous owners, Annesa Self and Carlee Pierce. If fact, duPerier joked before the start of the WNFR that she was just going to close her eyes and let Dillon do his thing. Laughing, duPerier confirmed, "I had my eyes open and I just hustled him." She also called Annesa and Carlee for advice, "When I first started off, I had trouble getting that first barrel down because I was worried about him getting in the alley. They just told me, you've got to get his shoulder up and get on that left side. We finally figured it out, and it worked out awesome."
Aside from barrel racing, duPerier has some other plans in the near future, "I'm going to go back home and do some wedding planning. I get married in May, and after that I can't wait to have kids. I want to have five so I have to get started early."
PHOTO BY: Larry Smith
Now looking at the other results, the fastest run of the finals happened tonight. Sherry Cervi was 13.55 on Dash Ta Diamonds "Arson", the 9 year old sorrel gelding that belongs to duPerier. It was Cervi's first check of the 2015 Wrangler NFR. Sarah Rose McDonald ran a 13.77 to place second in the round, sixth in the average, and third in the world standings. Jackie Ganter ran a 13.85 to place third in the round and second in the average. She also won WPRA Barrel Racing Rookie of the Year. Lisa Lockhart made the crowd erupt when she held up the second barrel to finish fourth in the round with a 13.88, second in the world standings, and seventh in the average. Fallon Taylor was 13.91 for fifth in the round, and Cassidy Kruse finished off a great finals by running a 13.92 for sixth in the round, third in the average, and fifth in the world standings. Michele McLeod ended up fourth in the average and fourth in the world standings. The top 5 barrel racers had final earnings above $200,000 each for an impressive finish to 2015.
Fallon Taylor took home the 2015 Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award followed by Sarah Rose McDonald and Mary Walker.