Photo courtesy PRCA ProRodeo/Mike Copeman
When it comes to firsts at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., it’s all about Mary Walker and her bay Dash For Perks gelding, Perculatin (“Latte”).
In her first NFR appearance Walker won the first go round. Then she won the second round. On Saturday, December 8, she won round three with a time of 13.69—the fastest of the 2012 NFR thus far—in front of 17,702 enthusiastic fans. Walker has effectively established a pattern of dominance at the Thomas & Mack Center Arena. Running in the ninth position on the ground, Walker and Latte cashed in another $18,257 paycheck to take her NFR earnings to $54,771. Her time on three runs of 41.24 leads the coveted NFR average by a half second margin over the No. 1 ranked lady in the world, Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas.
“It’s just been wild,” said Walker of the win streak. “Latte’s on fire. He was fired up tonight and I knew he was, so I had to just work him a little different warming him up, but he did great. He responded well and he did just what I asked him. As I was listening to the times I thought you know, that ground is really good tonight and it seems like it’s really fast. I had moved up two more tonight (on the ground) and I thought, you know, when they’re making those kind of times and the horses are firing and the ground’s good… I just went in there and Latte, he just did it.”
While her husband Byron is an NFR veteran and former world champion in steer wrestling, Walker is finding her first NFR experience as a contestant to her liking.
“It’s been exciting. It’s been a little hectic but I’m enjoying every minute of it,” added Walker.
Hooper, Utah’s Kelli Tolbert was the first barrel racer out in round three, setting with pace with a time of 13.73 seconds, which earned her a second place paycheck. Defending Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World champion Lindsay Sears and Sugar Moon Express (“Martha”) posted a 13.76 for third, while Benette Barrington Little, Lisa Lockhart and Sherry Cervi split fourth through sixth with identical times of 13.82.
With the race for the WPRA World title heating up, Walker now trails Pozzi by $4,504.16.
Barrel Racing Results – 3rd Go Round:
1. Mary Walker 13.69 $18,257.21
2. Kelli Tolbert 13.73 $14,429.09
3. Lindsay Sears 13.76 $10,895.43
4/6.Benette Barrington-Little 13.82 $5,104.16
4/6.Lisa Lockhart 13.82 $5,104.16
4/6. Sherry Cervi 13.82 $5,104.16
1. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 41.24 seconds on three runs
2. Benette Barrington-Little, Ardmore, Okla., 41.75
3. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 41.77
4. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 42.27
5. Trula Churchill, Valentine, Neb., 42.30
6. Nikki Steffes, Vale, S.D., 42.35
7. Kaley Bass, Kissimmee, Fla., 42.38
8. Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 42.60
9. Kelli Tolbert, Hooper, Utah, 46.42
10. Lindsay Sears, Nanton, Alberta, 46.66
11. Lee Ann Rust, Stephenville, Texas, 46.74
12. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 47.18
13. Christy Loflin, Franktown, Colo., 48.19
14. Christina Richman, Glendora, Calif., 49.01
15. Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas, 72.89
WPRA World Championship Standings:
(Through 3rd Go Round)
1. Brittany Pozzi Victoria, Texas $186,567.97
2. Mary Walker (G) Ennis, Texas $182,063.81
3. Lindsay Sears Nanton, Alberta $156,491.92
4. Carlee Pierce Stephenville, Texas $124,520.14
5. Sherry Cervi Marana, Arizona $101,110.41
6. Kelli Tolbert Hooper, Utah $92,539.30
7. Nikki Steffes Vale, South Dakota $89,666.27
8. Benette Barrington-Little Ardmore, Oklahoma $87,926.89
9. Kaley Bass Kissimmee, Florida $86,281.72
10. Brenda Mays Terrebonne, Oregon $81,798.97
11. Lee Ann Rust Stephenville, Texas $78,519.30
12. Lisa Lockhart Oelrichs, South Dakota $77,565.48
13. Christina Richman Glendora, California $60,872.07
14. Trula Churchill Valentine, Nebraska $60,777.29
15. Christy Loflin Franktown, Colorado $59,563.10