New faces were the theme at the Ft. Worth Stock Show Rodeo in the barrel racing on Feb. 8. As luck would have it, Jennifer Kent's 16.36 wasn't the biggest surprise of the day. The evening performance was the cliffhanger. With everyone in the set having better than a good shot at making it back to the Finals, it was the next-to-the last runner that brought the house down.
Taking the left barrel first, Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Texas, clocked the fastest time of the 28 performances held to date to go to the lead in the Semi Finals with a 16.28. Combined with their first go time of 16.69, the talented pair moved to third in the average with 32.97 on two behind leader Natalie Foutch with her 32.84, and first go round winner Jane Melby, who posted a 16.51 during the Friday evening perf, for a 32.89 aggregate. Lisa Lockhart, also in the Friday night pen of wolves sits fourth with 33.05 after clocking a 16.41 to move to third in the Semi Finals.
A definite boost to her Rookie status, Jacob was excited to even be able to compete at Fort Worth.
"Because I'm a Rookie this is the really first big winter stock show that I've been able to run in," said Jacob, who earned some nice checks last fall but nothing to compare with Ft. Worth.
Jacob purchased her winning equine sidekick a year ago from Angela Michaels after riding him a couple of times.
"I just felt like he had it," said Jacob about her 8-year-old buckskin gelding Honor Thy Frenchman, aka Bo, sired by famed Frenchmans Guy with bloodlines on the bottom of his pedigree tracing to Jet Of Honor. WPRA super hand Marne Loosenort trained and competed on the gelding in the futurities.
"He was a stallion until he was 4 or 5 and I think Marne actually ran him to the right barrel first and then Angela started running him to the left."
Jacob admits to being a little intimidated by the group of 10 she drew up in, "There were ladies running that have been to the NFR more times than I can count," said Jacob, a senior Communication major at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. "But Bo just made a near perfect run. He flew to the first barrel and turned it close and we were at the second barrel before I knew it."
Being on the college rodeo team, Jacob has a college rodeo on Feb. 9th in Athens, Texas but she thinks she'll let Bo rest for his big run in the Finals tomorrow night and ride another horse in the college competition that starts at noon.
"This is really exciting," explained Jacob. "I was wondering what I was going to do when I graduated from college this year. If we can keep doing good like this, I'll take off rodeoing for a while."
Results from Friday, Feb. 8, matinee: Jennifer Kent, 16.36; Martha Wright, 16.67; Jean Winters 16.74; Kim Schulze 16.87; Lauren Sparks 16.90; Ashley Leifeste, 16.92; Morgan Figueroa, 17.00; Ellie Dabney, 17.08; Emily Efurd, 17.33; and Fallon Taylor, 21.55.
Results from Friday, Feb. 8, night perf: Taylor Jacob, 16.28; Lisa Lockhart, 16.41; Jane Melby, 16.51; Sarah Kieckhefer, 16.70; Whitney Baker, 16.91; Tiffani Sonnier, 16.95; Jackie Jatzlau, 16.96; Karen Little, 17.02; Mary Burger, 21.87; and Trula Churchill, 26.60.
UNOFFICIAL Fort Worth Average Leaders (through 28th performance)
1. Natalie Foutch 32.84
2. Jane Melby 32.89
3. Taylor Jacob 32.97
4. Lisa Lockhart 33.05
5/6. Kay Blandford 33.13
5/6. Jennifer Kent 33.13
7. Sarah Kieckhefer 33.14
8. Kelly Yates 33.18
9. Sharin Hall 33.23
10. Carlee Pierce 33.27
11/12. Kendra Dickson 33.28
11/12. Sherry Cervi 33.28
13. Angie Meadors 33.29
14. Cindy Smith 33.30
15. Sue Smith 33.31
16. Martha Wright 33.36