The qualifying rounds for the World Finals began Thursday, April 21, with two races of qualifying entries ran in two different arenas: Barn 6 and the Jim Norick Arena at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. After the qualifying rounds had concluded the leaders in each division from each race are listed below:
Race 1, Oklahoma State Fairgrounds Coliseum:
1D: Rio Flaharty, The Wonder Bug, 15.209
2D: Mitzi Mayes, Fortunes Flame, 15.712
3D: Brandee Hawkins, Sundays First Bolt, 16.210
4D: Mary Grayson Martin, King Royal Jazamau, 16.709
5D: Lori Hearn, Frosted Champ, 17.213
Race 2, Barn 6:
1D: Marne Loosenort, Lovin Fame, 15.335
2D: Sissie Wherrell, Chasin Seattle Slew, 15.846
3D: Alexis Allen, Izzy, 16.337
4D: Stormie Shores, De Super Bug, 16.837
5D:Randelyn Roberts, Captain Blue Tilley, 17.336
From the 1,788 entries in the World Finals championship races, the top 30 in each division from both Race 1 and Race 2 advanced to the short round on April 24. Starting at 10 a.m. the short round of the BBR World Finals began inside the Jim Norick Arena. In a clean-slate short round the top 300 contestants battled for a world championship.
Finishing the weekend as the Better Barrel Races World Finals Champion was Kathy Korell-Rach and Smoke N Sunshine when the duo turned in an explosive performance. Fast times had been rapidly turned in one after the next, but the crowd inside the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds erupted in cheers when Korell-Rach and her flashy palomino mare by Smokin Sparks, who’s by Dash For Perks, laid down a 15.266. The fast time had to wait out the last 8 contestants of the short round, but when all the times had been recorded Korell-Rach and her mount stood above the field as the fastest short round time, worth the world championship and $12,544.
“I am just so elated with how she worked. I knew when she warmed up she was a little more on the muscle, but really responsive and I thought ‘OK, we’re going to lay it down and see what happens,’ and it worked,” Korell-Rach says with a laugh. “She ran really strong and really powerful and I think it’s the nicest run I’ve ever had, on anything!”
Smoke N Sunshine is the 6-year-old palomino daughter by Smoke N Sparks out of Runaway Frenchgirl, who’s by Frenchmans Guy. The standout mare has led Korell-Rach to some pretty impressive wins lately, and she says the mare’s talent inside the barrel arena is truly a testament to her father’s worth, as well.
“I don’t even have words, I feel so amazingly blessed by God,” she says of her win and her talented palomino mare.
Taking home the 2D title was Ashlie Withrow riding BA Brothers Profit with a 15.772, worth $10,453. The third division champion was Rowdy Flowers riding Lady Profit By Dash with a 16.277, worth $8,362.
Elena Mirabito rode Par Tee Girl to the 4D world title with a 16.779 for $6,272. The Tecumseh, Oklahoma cowgirl says the win was a special occasion having lost her prior to the BBR World Finals. She thanked Lisa Brown for allowing her to borrow Par Tee Girl for the event and expressed her extreme gratitude for both her mount and Brown.
“She’s really fun and she’s been really consistent,” Mirabito says. “My rodeo horse died a couple weeks ago and so I didn’t have anything to run at the BBR and I’d run her a couple weeks ago and she did fairly well, and so Lisa Brown offered to lend her to me.”
Staci Evans, Atwood, Oklahoma took home the 5D world championship riding Claiming A Promise to a 17.281, worth $4,181. Claiming A Promise is the 2003 sorrel gelding by Sugarwood Mac out of Shez Sportytoo, who’s by Eternal Too and was given to Evans a few years ago. Evans has taken on the full responsibility of his training and says the win is even more special because of the fact it was on a horse she’d trained herself.
“I used some of that OE Nutraceuticals on him and he went in there and worked pretty good so I was pretty happy with him. I never would have dreamed I’d win anything, but I was pretty happy just to make it back,” Evans says. “He’s been a true blessing from the Lord.”
For the full stories be sure to check out the June issue of Barrel Horse News.