Photo by Kenneth Springer
Rodeo action was hot and cold tonight in Las Vegas, Nev., in the sixth round of the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
In a much anticipated performance, Carlee Pierce and her famously fast buckskin gelding Rare Dillion (“Dillion”) set the pace with a commanding 13.51-second blitz through the cloverleaf. The run is one that barrel racing fans have been waiting for; Pierce and Dillion set the arena record in 2011 with a time of 13.46 seconds, but the Stephenville, Texas cowgirl has racked up penalties for tipped barrels in four of the five rounds leading up to tonight’s performance.
“Dillion felt really good tonight,” Pierce said after the performance. “My focus was to run to the walls. I didn’t care if we were six strides past the barrels, I wasn’t going to hit one tonight. My kids are going to have a better Christmas now. I was getting a little concerned they weren’t going to have any presents from mom!” she joked.
“The thing that I’m learning on Dillion in this particular pen is that I can’t make a mistake on him; he’s not forgiving,” she said of the son of Firecracker Fire out of Rare Class, by Rare Jet. “So I really have to ride the way Dillion wants me to ride. I signed autographs today with [World Champion bull rider and mental toughness guru] Gary Leffew. He spoke with me for an hour and he told me kind of how to focus. So I did a few little things tonight to kind of get bonded with Dillion, and if that’s what helped me, I’m going to try again tomorrow, and we’ll see.”
Pierce’s run, the fastest of the 2012 NFR so far, came after Sherry Cervi’s advantageous opportunity to run in the favored first-out position went south. The hearts of rodeo fans momentarily stopped with the clock when Cervi’s MP Meter My Hay (“Stingray”) fell at the second barrel. The pair left the arena seemingly unharmed, but that devastating fall also signified a tumble from their lead in the aggregate. Consequently, Kaley Bass, who finished fourth tonight with a 13.90 on Wonders Cowboy Dan (“Cowboy”), moved up to first in the average. The Justin Sports Medicine Team reported that Cervi sustained a strain/contusion to her left lower leg and is probable to compete.
Mary Walker and Perculatin (“Latte”) finished second in the round with a 13.76 while Brittany Pozzi tipped the third barrel. This chain of events brings us to our first WPRA World standings leader board change, as Walker has now taken over the No. 1 position by $12,869.64.
Lisa Lockhart and An Oakie With Cash (“Louie”) were third in the round with a 13.79, Benette Barrington-Little posted a 13.93 on JL A Dash Ta Heaven for fifth, and Judge Buy Cash (“Jethro”) carried Brenda Mays to a sixth place finish in 14.16 seconds.
Barrel Racing Results – 5th Go Round:
1. Carlee Pierce 13.51 $18,257.21
2. Mary Walker 13.76 $14,429.09
3. Lisa Lockhart 13.79 $10,895.43
4. Kaley Bass 13.90 $7,656.25
5. Benette Barrington-Little 13.93 $4,711.54
6. Brenda Mays 14.16 $2,944.71
Wrangler NFR Barrel Racing Average Standings:
(Through 5th Go Round)
1. Kaley Bass, Kissimmee, Fla.,83.86/6 (+1*)
2/3.Nikki Steffes, Vale, S.D., 85.02/6 (+1)
2/3.Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 85.02/6 (+2)
4. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 87.79/6 (+1)
5. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 88.84/6 (+4)
6. Benette Barrington-Little, Ardmore, Okla., 88.92/6 (+2)
7. Lindsay Sears, Nanton, Alberta 93.54/6 (-1)
8. Trula Churchill, Valentine, Neb., 93.96/6 (-1)
9. Christy Loflin, Franktown, Colo., 96.51/6 (+3)
10. Christina Richman, Glendora, Calif., 98.25/6 (+3)
11. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 99.18/6 (no change)
12. Kelli Tolbert, Hooper, Utah, 103.06/6 (-2)
13. Lee Ann Rust, Stephenville, Texas, 103.83/6 (+1)
14. Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas, 118.88/6 (+1)
15. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 69.70/5 (-15)
*Indicates shift in average placing from previous round.
WPRA World Championship Standings:
(Through 5th Go Round)
1. Mary Walker (G) Ennis, Texas $204,149.15
2. Brittany Pozzi Victoria, Texas $191,279.51
3. Lindsay Sears Nanton, Alberta $167,387.35
4. Carlee Pierce Stephenville, Texas $157,206.44
5. Sherry Cervi Marana, Arizona $130,263.05
6. Kaley Bass Kissimmee, Florida $116,906.72
7. Lisa Lockhart Oelrichs, South Dakota $99,061.87
8. Kelli Tolbert Hooper, Utah $95,484.01
9. Benette Barrington-Little Ardmore, Oklahoma $92,638.43
10. Nikki Steffes Vale, South Dakota $89,666.27
11. Brenda Mays Terrebonne, Oregon $84,743.68
12. Lee Ann Rust Stephenville, Texas $78,519.30
13. Trula Churchill Valentine, Nebraska $75,206.38
14. Christina Richman Glendora, California $60,872.07
15. Christy Loflin Franktown, Colorado $59,563.10