Twenty-nine performances spread over 17 days and the final regular performance of the Ft. Worth Stock Show rodeo ended with the Saturday, Feb. 9, matinee performance. The grand finale begins at 7:30 p.m. with the top 12 in all events competing in the Finals. Although she wasn't able to advance to the Finals, Debra Thomas-Cooper was the fastest in the last group of Semi Finalists to run. Posting a 16.56 aboard her 12-year-old brown gelding Rapid Firing Pass aka Jeffry.
For a rodeo such as Ft. Worth, so steeped in tradition, it was fitting that a WPRA barrel racer from Ft. Worth, now calling the suburb of Poolville, Texas home, would clock the day's fastest time. Remembered by many as Debra Thomas, she's been attending the Ft. Worth Stock Show literally all her life.
Cooper grew up running in amateur circles around Ft. Worth, most notably a regular at the then famous Kowbell Rodeo in nearby Mansfield. After staying out of competition for a while, she's returned with Jeffry, a gelding she purchased from former NFR qualifier Lee Ann Guilkey, who is also her neighbor. "I bought him when he was four and Paul Humphrey trained him," said Cooper.
Regarding her run in the Semi Finals, Cooper stated, "It felt good as a whole. It's a little hard to keep him running because the dark hole (alley) that you have to run back into just makes him want to shut down before he crosses the timer."
Results from the 29th performance, Feb. 9, matinee are: Debra Cooper, 16.56; Kassidy Dennison, 16.67; Lindsay Sears, 16.72; Taylor Young, 16.96; Nicole Yost, 17.07; Molly Childers, 17.12; Mary Smothers 17.17; Clay Sewalt, 17.22; Annesa Self, 21.84; and Nicole Aichele, 22.18.