National Finals Rodeo 2015-McDonald Makes Quick Work of Round 4 at the Wrangler NFR



Sarah Rose McDonald

Larry Smith

By my Wilson

It was a fast track in Round 4 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for Sarah Rose McDonald and Fame Fling N Bling. They ran a 13.71 which is the new fast time of the rodeo so far in 2015. And just as we've come to expect from this phenomenal team, Bling didn't take any extra steps and McDonald demonstrated her impressive riding ability. "My horse, Bling, I have to ride her every step of the way, and it's all or nothing every night." McDonald went on to say, "She loves to turn very tight. She usually never goes past a barrel so I just have to sit up there and ride her as hard as I can."

A tipped barrel in the first round cost her winning a good check, but McDonald placed in the second and third rounds leading up to earning the victory lap tonight. She commented, "Hitting a barrel that first performance was kind of a wakeup call. With each run, Bling usually runs and fires a lot harder. By tonight, we seemed to get the angle to the first barrel down pretty good."

The 2014 WPRA Rookie of the Year has always been the jockey of her eight year old mare. McDonald explained her family's special connection to Bling, "My uncles, Larry and Steve, actually got her when she was a yearling and they've had her in our family since then. My uncle trained her, and I seasoned her so it's very special to be able to run her here and just make it here. And to win a round is just...I'm so excited!"

photoSarah Rose McDonald
PHOTO BY: Greg Westfall

The Brunswick, Georgia cowgirl is a first time qualifier to the Wrangler NFR who has learned the secret to surviving the demands of a Wrangler NFR in Las Vegas, "It's definitely time management. I love being able to go and meet all the fans and spend time with them. It helps during the day to take your mind off everything so you don't get so nervous." When it comes to running into the Thomas and Mack, McDonald said with excitement, "To run down that alleyway is a feeling like I really can't explain."

She was also prepared for how Bling would react to the new experience, "I knew every night she would get more ready to go in the alleyway; but when she's ready, I just let her go and try to push her all the way until we get back in the alleyway."

Cassidy Kruse and Lisa Lockhart both lit up the track with 13.85 second runs to split second and third place. Lockhart now has over a $20,000 lead in the WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings, and is second in the average to Kruse who has already banked over $80,000. Taylor Jacob was first out on the ground and ran a 13.89 which placed fourth. Callie duPerier and Nancy Hunter ran a pair of 14.03 second times to split fifth and sixth. duPerier is currently sitting third in the average, and has dropped to third in the WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings. Five Wrangler NFR barrel racers are clean on all four runs.