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Colorado barrel racers take first and second place in tournament style Rodeo All Star.

Article & photographs by Lincoln Rogers

The 2019 installment of the Rodeo All Star at the National Western Stock Show events complex in Denver boasted an impressive lineup of barrel racers, including Ivy Conrado, and Lindsay Kruse and Fallon Taylor, but a pair of Colorado cowgirls ended up dominating the field. The two-day event with a total purse of $126,000 started April 12, and Shali Lord and Freckles Ta Fame (2009 stallion, Dash Ta Fame x Frenchmans Freckles x Frenchmans Guy) wasted no time putting everyone on notice with the night’s fastest time of 15.34 seconds.

“He was just spot-on tonight and he nailed everything,” Lord said of the 10-year-old stallion after winning Friday’s rodeo to advance. 

Finishing right behind Lord, Kelly Yates of Pueblo, Colorado, aboard 8-year-old Fiestanozshezfamous (2011 mare, Dash Ta Fame x Firewater Fiesta x Fire Water Flit) posted a 15.39-second time to move ahead as well. The one-two finish between Lord and Yates was about to become a pattern.

Kelly Yates and Fiestanozshezfamous
Pueblo, Colorado, barrel racer Kelly Yates aboard 8-year-old Fiestanozshezfamous finished second in the 2019 Rodeo All Star event. Photo by Lincoln Rogers

While Lindsay Kruse won Saturday afternoon’s event to move into Saturday night’s championship round, her 15.41-second run remained behind Lord and Yates. Between the two semifinal rounds, eight total barrel racers advanced to Saturday night’s round and a chance to earn the Rodeo All Star title and another $5,000 for winning a head-to-head matchup between the top two finishers.

During Saturday night’s round, a number of horses stumbled at the first barrel, but Lord and “Can Man” made it look easy, scorching the dirt with a rodeo-best time of 15.036 seconds. That vaulted them into the head-to-head round with a chance to earn another $5,000 if they came out on top there.

“He really fired hard in there tonight,” Lord said. “His barrels were so smooth. I didn’t know if he could be that much faster than last night, because I felt last night was a great run, but he was amazing.”

Yates and “Gucci” earned the next-best time of 15.33 seconds to set up yet another match against Lord and Can Man in the finale. Fallon Taylor briefly made things interesting but fell short of Yates with a 15.39. As a result, the third bout between the Colorado cowgirls was locked in and the fans were enjoying it.

Going first in the head-to-head round, approximately half an hour following their 15.036-second run, Lord and Can Man blasted the arena with a stunning third run of 15.063. While Yates and Gucci followed with a solid run of 15.33 seconds, no one could touch Lord and Can Man in 2019’s Rodeo All Star.

“I am just so tickled,” Lord said. “He loves this arena, and he loves the rodeos. We are all so happy with him.”

Reserve champion Yates revealed how competing in this event was emotional for her.

“I am very proud [of Gucci],” Yates said. “I haven’t run her for a little over two months as my mom passed away a month ago. It is tough, but she was here with me. I am just happy to be here and enjoying it. It was very exciting for us.”

With local cowgirls finishing first and second throughout the rodeo, the event proved exciting for Colorado rodeo fans.

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