Houston 2015-Semifinal Rounds Set for RodeoHouston



Kaley Bass


By Jolee Lautaret-Jordan

Houston, Texas— The 2015 edition of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo began with 40 WPRA barrel racers.

Half of them are still competing.

The final two Super Series competitions filled out the Semi-Finals as RodeoHouston races to its conclusion. The 40 cowgirls competed in eight-women brackets, with the top four money winners advancing from each to the Semi-Finals. Over the next two nights, the 20 ladies left in the draw will face sudden-death elimination.

During the Semi-Finals, each lady takes her shot with the four fastest advancing directly to the Championship on March 21, Saturday night. The six who miss the mark get one more shot during the Wild Card Round on March 20. The two fastest runners from the Wild Card will round out a 10 competitor field in the Championship.

The final night is a two run battle to see who will walk away as the 2015 RodeoHouston Champion and cash the huge $50,000 check that goes with the title. All 10 ladies make one run with the four fastest advancing to the Shoot Out held later within the same performance. Everyone in the Championship gets paid . . . but the big money goes to the fastest run in the final round.

The Semi-Finals will feature the reigning Canadian Pro Rodeo Champion Steff Mather, along with WPRA World Champions Fallon Taylor, Sherry Cervi and Mary Walker. The last two WPRA Rookies of the Year—Sarah Rose McDonald and Taylor Jacob--are still in the hunt along with eight of the 2014 Wrangler NFR qualifiers.

Three of last year’s Shoot Out competitors are also still in the running: Nancy Hunter, who has won RodeoHouston the last two years; four-time WPRA World Champion Cervi, the only cowgirl to win RodeoHouston on three different horses; and the 2014 WPRA Reserve World Champ Lisa Lockhart.

In addition, three of the final 10 ladies from a year ago will be shooting for just a few spots higher in 2015: three-time Wrangler NFR qualifier Kaley Bass, Sheena Robbins and Jacob.

Super Series IV
Florida cowgirl Kaley Bass definitely is more of a sunshine barrel racer. A veteran of three Wrangler National Finals Rodeos in just four years as a professional, Bass has punched her ticket to Vegas each year with a huge summer run. In fact, in 2014, Bass competed in just 14 rodeos prior to the Fourth of July and managed such a hot streak that she went into Vegas ranked first in the WPRA World standings.

After finishing third in the World, Bass is back to her slow-going winter pace. A quick glance down the standings shows she is all the way down at 67th, having competed in just three rodeos this season.

There is certainly no cause for concern for Bass and her grey wonder horse, Wonders Cowboy Dan but they seem to be picking a little different course already in 2015. Bass picked up better than $4,500 in San Antonio last month before coming to the biggest winter rodeo of all, RodeoHouston.

Cowboy proved once again that consistency is money but fast-consistency is amazing. Bass earned $7,400 during Super Series IV, the best of her set and the second best of the rodeo so far.

With times improving with each set, Super Series IV got off to a hot start on Thursday, March 12 with Dena Kirkpatrick’s 14.30. Kirkpatrick just earned her seat in Houston with a big win at the San Angelo rodeo a few weeks back. Riding Kates Always First, Kirkpatrick made her return to RodeoHouston, for the first time in a decade, memorable with the rodeo’s fastest time . . . at that point.

The mark moved again on Friday the Thirteenth when Brenda Mays and the speed demon, Judge My Fame, aka Dora, rounded the cloverleaf in 14.22 seconds. Mays and Dora performed well at the NRG Stadium a year ago and seem on track for a repeat performance.

The bar was raised again in the third round of Super Series IV on Saturday night, March 14. After racing to seconds for two nights, the 15-year old Cowboy carried Bass to the rodeo’s best time, 14.07 seconds, for the round victory.

Bass picked up the average win in 42.90 seconds—also the fastest of the rodeo—and a full half second ahead of two-time reigning RodeoHouston Champion Nancy Hunter and Fuzz.

Mays finished second in the set with $3,800 in earnings while Hunter moved on in her quest to three-peat with earnings of $3,400. Kirkpatrick added a fourth in the average to her Rd. 1 win for total earnings of $3,000. It was enough to move her to the next round.

Super Series IV
First Go
Dena Kirkpatrick, 14.30, $2,500
Kaley Bass, 14.47, $1,200
Christine Laughlin, 14.61, $800
Nancy Hunter, 14.65, $500
Second Go
Brenda Mays, 14.22, $2,500
Bass, 14.36, $1,200
Kassidy Dennison, 14.38, $800
Hunter, 14.52, $500
Third Go
Bass, 14.07, $2,500
Hunter, 14.23, $1,200
Dennison, 14.52, $800
Mays, 14.53, $500

1. Bass, 42.90, $1,850
2. Hunter, 43.40, $1,850
Mays, 43.43, $800
Kirkpatrick, 43.74, $500

Semi-Finals Qualifiers (World Rank) / Horse / Money Won
Kaley Bass (61) / Wonders Cowboy Dan / $7,400
Brenda Mays (N/A) / Judge My Fame / $3,800
Nancy Hunter (N/A) / Flit N Fizz / $3,400
Dena Kirkpatrick (22) / Kates Always First / $3,000

Other Money Winners
Kassidy Dennison / Sierra Hall of Fame / $1,600
Christine Laughlin / Guys Six Pack to Go / $800

photoHouston 2015-Lisa Lockhart
PHOTO BY: RodeoHouston

Super Series V

Every set is stacked deep with talent at RodeoHouston but Super Series V surely held just a bit more promise. The top two cowgirls in the WPRA from a year ago—2014 WPRA World Champ Fallon Taylor and 2014 Reserve World Champ Lisa Lockhart—were set to pick up where they left off from in an epic Wrangler NFR in December.

Lockhart has never won RodeoHouston but she’s been oh so close. In 2011, she lost the battle in the final round to Jody Sheffield by just seven one-hundredths of a second. Taylor is one of just four cowgirls in the draw this year who have won this rodeo; she did it as a teenager back in 1997.

Lockhart started things off fast, winning the opening go round with a 14.37 second run on Louie, aka An Okie with Cash, and never looked back. She placed third in round two and won the third and final round with the fastest time of Super Series V, 14.25 seconds.

Lockhart distanced the field by four tenths of a second in the three head average for total earnings of $8,300, second best of the rodeo. She will compete in Semi-Final #2 on Thursday night.

The other round winner of the set was 2014 Wrangler NFR qualifier Samantha Lyne. Without the help of her tough little paint horse Jimmy—aka Mor Jazz—who is on the injured list, Lyne fell back to Last Sugar Jewel, aka Booger, owned by her dear friend Macy Quintanilla. Booger had been turned out for some time prior to Lyne putting him into rodeo action this winter.

The gelding responded with a second round victory at 14.34 seconds, along with a third and a fourth, to land fourth in the average. Lyne picked up $4,150 to advance to Semi-Final #1 as the second high money winner.

Taylor and 2009 Wrangler NFR qualifier Sheena Robbins split the final spots for advancement with $3,200 won each. Riding Babyflo, Taylor won second in the second and third rounds and third in the average while Robbins and Shorty placed second in the first go and third in the final go for second in the average.

Taylor will compete in Semi-Final #2 while Robbins runs Wednesday night in Semi-Final #1.

Super Series V
First Go
Lisa Lockhart, 14.37, $2,500
Sheena Robbins, 14.40, $1,200
¾. Samantha Lyne, 14.72, $650
¾. Carley Richardson, 14.72, $650

Second Go
Lyne, 14.34, $2,500
Fallon Taylor, 14.36, $1,200
Lockhart, 14.44, $800
Richardson, 14.51, $500
Third Go
Lockhart, 14.25, $2,500
Taylor, 14.35, $1,200
Robbins, 14.39, $800
Lyne, 14.45, $500

1. Lockhart, 43.06, $2,500
2. Robbins, 43.46, $1,200
Taylor, 43.47, $800
Lyne, 43.51, $500

Semi-Finals Qualifiers (World Rank) / Horse / Money Won
Lisa Lockhart (14) / An Okie with Cash / $8,300
Samantha Lyne (251) / Last Sugar Jewel / $4,150
Sheena Robbins (247) / Bar D Mr Dual Olena / $3,200
Fallon Taylor (3) / Flos Heiress / $3,200

Other Money Winners
Carley Richardson / Doda Flit / $1,150
Pam Capper / Sheza Smooth Flight / $500

For more information and complete brackets, visit www.rodeohouston.com. Stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates.

Semi-Finals #1, March 18
Name (Super Series), Horse, Money Won
Britany Diaz (I), Dasher Dude, $8,700
Callie Duperier (III), Rare Dillion, $7,350
Sherry Cervi (III), MP Meter My Hay, $5,450
Liz Herrin (II), Bogies Lil Skeeter, $4,200
Samantha Lyne (V), Last Sugar Jewel, $4,150
Brenda Mays (IV), Judge My Fame, $3,800
Nancy Hunter (IV), Flit N Fizz, $3,400
Sammi Bessert (II), Terrible Tommy Twist, $3,300
Sheena Robbins (V), Bar D Mr Dual Olena, $3,200
Kenna Squires (I), Dashing Trace, $2,000

Semi-Finals #2, March 19
Name (Super Series), Horse, Money Won
Lisa Lockhart (V), An Okie with Cash, $8,300
Kaley Bass (IV), Wonders Cowboy Dan, $7,400
Taylor Jacob (I), Honor Thy Frenchman, $4,200
Steff Mather (II), Siksikas Buck, $3,700
Victoria Williams (III), Fantasia Fame, $3,500
Sarah Rose McDonald (II), Fame Fling N Bling, $3,300
Fallon Taylor (V), Flos Heiress, $3,200
Dena Kirkpatrick (IV), Kates Always First, $3,000
Mary Walker (III), Perculatin, $2,400
Laura Kennedy (I), Hopes Money Boy, $1,300