By Danika Kent
Photo by James Phifer

Photo by James PhiferPhoto by James PhiferIn the final stretch of the 2015 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, the semifinal and final rounds saw some upsets as well as letdowns in the barrel racing, keeping fans on the edge of their seats in Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimme, Fla.

Running first on the ground, Pamela Capper stayed strong in her representation of the Columbia River circuit when she posted a picture-perfect 16.30 in the semifinals. Badlands’ Lisa Lockhart, however, who was sitting second in the aggregate, brushed the first barrel down to post a 21.53. Montana’s Carmel Wright and Sarah Rose McDonald of the Southeastern circuit paired 16.47-second runs to finish second and third to Capper, and Turquoise circuit’s Kassidy Dennison rounded out the final four with her 16.63. Lindsay Kruse’s 16.69 was just short, as were Sarah Griffin and Nancy Hunter’s 16.86s.

In the clean-slate finals, it was Wright who rose to the occasion to win her first national championship on American soil. After posting times of 16.54 and 16.82 in the first two rounds, a 16.47 an hour earlier in the semifinals, the 16.42 was her personal best in the Silver Spurs Arena. The win on her mare, Sweet Heart Special, added a $7,493 to her earnings this week in Kissimmee.

Wright and her husband relocated to Roy, Mont., 13 years ago to pursue their rodeo dream. Standing on the arena floor following her first major win here in the United States, Wright said breathlessly, “It hasn’t sunk in yet.”

“She’s amazing; I’ve never run back to back like that. She was getting pretty tough to hold off on her third barrel, but she was amazing,” Wright said of her runs today.

Sweet Heart Special is a 2003 mare by My Special Bear, a son of Special Effort, and out of Im Testy Too, a granddaughter of Dr Kirk.

The final round of the RNCFR showcased barrel racing at its finest, with all four ladies clocking within a narrow margin of seven hundredths of a second. McDonald was just shy of the championship title with her 16.45, Capper clocked a 16.47, and Dennison stopped the clock at 16.49 seconds.

Don’t miss the May issue of Barrel Horse News to read in-depth coverage of the 2015 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

Semifinals results:
1. Pamela Capper 16.30 $7,493.15
2. Carmel Wright 16.47 $5,619.87
2. Sarah Rose McDonald 16.47 $3,746.58
4. Kassidy Dennison 16.63 $1,873.29
5. Lindsay Kruse 16.69
6. Sarah Griffin 16.86
6. Nancy Hunter 16.86
8. Lisa Lockhart 21.53

Finals:
1. Carmel Wright 16.42 $7,493.15
2. Sarah Rose McDonald 16.45 $5,619.87
3. Pamela Capper 16.47 $3,746.58
4. Kassidy Dennison 16.49 $1,873.29

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