Cheyenne Frontier Days is cutting some slack this year. Specifically, the Daddy of ‘em All is doing away with barrel racing slack.
Every barrel racer entered this year will be running in a performance, instead of all the barrel racers competing in the customary day of slack formerly held before the rodeo started. There will be only one long go plus the finals, rather than two gos and finals, as done in the past.
The 2011 Cheyenne Frontier Days barrel racing winner Kim Schulze and Vegaspeed. PHOTO CREDIT: Ty Stockton
“We’re limiting it to 96 barrel racers this year,” says CFD Contestants Chairman Scott Sewell. “We’ll run 12 a day, and the top 12 will be back for the finals. The ticket buyer isn’t going to see anything different during the performances.”
Nothing different, that is, except possibly more barrel racers in each performance. There were more than 50 turn-outs last year.
“It was just a perfect storm,” Sewell says. “Either it was bad luck or bad conditions somewhere else, and a lot of ladies had to turn out. Last year, we finished with not much higher than 96 racers.”
In fact, 98 riders completed their runs at CFD last year. Sewell hopes limiting the field and requiring only one run will result in fewer turn-outs.
“We hope this makes it easier for the riders,” he says. “Knowing where you’re going to be for a one-stop race, and then you’re back on the road.”
Sewell adds that other than taking a go out of the rodeo, there won’t be much difference in the payouts from last year.
“We didn’t change the purse at all,” he says. “The purse should be divvied out as fairly as we can. There’s still $48,000 added, but entry fees are down because it’s just one go. It’s just $275 this year, and we’re still paying the same number of places as last year.”
The payouts will still go to the top 10 in the long go, the top four in the short go, and the top 10 in the average. If the purse is equal to last year’s, a rider who wins the long go, the short go and the average still has a chance at more than $16,000. Last year’s CFD champ, Kim Schulze, took home $15,073.64. She took first in the average, third in the short go, fourth in the second go, and fourth in the first go.
Sewell says the WPRA is on board with the changes, and he hopes the new format will be well received by the riders. Even so, he says it’s not necessarily a permanent change.
“This may not work at all,” he says. “If it’s not a win for everybody, we’ll go back and get it as close as we can get to a win for everybody.
“This is really just an experiment,” he says, but he hopes it’ll be good for riders, spectators, and rodeo officials alike.
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