Fort Worth, Texas — February 26, 2020 — It seemed as though Kassie Mowry‘s 13.680 on Epic Guy from early in the slack round of RFD-TV’s The American Semifinals on February 24 would be impossible to beat, as horse after horse charged through the alley into Cowtown Coliseum with riders on board dreaming of a run in AT&T Stadium on March 7.
However, 2018 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year Jimmie Smith is riding an equally hot streak in the midst of a strong start to her 2020 rodeo season. Her mare Lena On The Rocks fired on all cylinders to win the round with a 13.662 and lead a pack of 40 who will advance to the Semifinals rodeo performances February 27–March 1.
“I lifted my leg at the first barrel, and I never think fast enough to lift my leg, so I knew that was kind of risky. I didn’t have a stirrup the rest of the run, so I just was holding on for dear life,” Smith exclaimed after her thrilling run. “The plan was for the whole city of Fort Worth to hear me say ‘whoa’ at the first barrel, so I know I accomplished that much!”
‘Lena’ has helped the Texas A&M University graduate skyrocket into the limelight of professional rodeo over the last two years. Smith finished 24th in the world in 2018 with $61,199 and 19th in 2019 with $65,088. Her dreams of her first National Finals Rodeo qualification were cut short during the Calgary Stampede when the 2009 mare by Firewaterontherocks and out of Tourlena by Smart Cash Cutter sustained a season-ending injury.
“She’s amazing; she’s made so many dreams come true. She got a small injury last July, and I gave her so much time off that she needed. She came back so strong and ready to go for 2020, so we’re just going one run at a time,” Smith said. “This is going to be so fun to come back and run in the [performances].”
Barrel racers who fell outside the top 40 had the option to enter the buy-back round February 25. With 111 entered, the top three earned a spot in the Semifinals performances. Running No. 84 in the draw, North Dakota trainer Molly Otto laid down a smoking run of 13.775 aboard Katie and Dustin Lindahl’s 2013 gelding Sixappeal (More Nachos x Six It Up x Tres Seis) to lead the field and earn $1,000.
“It was just a nice, smooth run. We went out there and tried to make the same run that he makes all the time and to not change anything up,” Otto said. “I’ve been riding him since he was a 5-year-old futurity horse. He’s really fast and free-running. He can just turn. He’s probably one of the funnest horses I’ve ever been on.”
The top 40 from the slack round, plus the top 3 from the buy-back round (results below), will advance the Semifinals performance rounds Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. From the four performances, contestants will be narrowed down to the top 10 to move on to RFD-TV’s The American at AT&T Stadium from March 7–8, where they will compete against the top 10 from the 2019 WPRA final world standings for a chance at $1 million.
Scroll down for qualifying results from the slack and the buy-back. For complete results, performance round schedules and draw for RFD-TV’s The American Semifinals, visit betterbarrelraces.com.
TOP 40 FROM SLACK ROUND
Place, Rider Name, Horse Name, Time, Payout
- Jimmie Smith, Lena On The Rocks, 13.662, $10,000
- Kassie Mowry, Epic Guy, 13.680, $7,500
- Ari-Anna Flynn, PC Uncle Psi, 13.771, $5,286
- Leslie Willis, Gimme Damoney, 13.806, $4,325
- Mark Bugni, JL Twisted Roc, 13.838, $4,205
- Randee Prindle, Red Man Jones, 13.859, $4,061
- Margo Crowther, Grandiose Guy, 13.860, $3,200
- Wenda Johnson, Macgyver Moonflash, 13.887, $2,883
- Sabra O’Quinn, Slicks Lil Amigo, 13.893, $2,522
- Ryan Johnson, Tobys Poco Misterio, 13.897, $2,313
- Sabra O’Quinn, Bring It On Guys, 13.918, $2,116
- Sherry Cervi, MP Jet Royal Money, 13.926, $1,922
- Sara Withers, Frenchmans Perks, 13.938, $1,781
- Brandon Cullins, A Cornerstone, 13.939, $1,652
- Kacey Gartner, Rebel Look, 13.944, $1,512
- Haley Wolfe, Iron Eyes Rio Bravo, 13.945, $1,437
- Taylor Shields, Furys Princess, 13.953, $1,341
- Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 13.985, $1,258
- Wenda Johnson, Dreams First Flash, 13.994, $1,172
- Kricket Gintner, Dial A Little Fame, 13.998, $1,000
- Joao Leao, Flobot, 14.004
- Bayleigh Choate, Hail To Be Famous, 14.020
- Sonya Dodging Horse, Docs Famous, 14.022
- BryAnna Haluptzok, Perks Pazazz, 14.041
- Claire Sechelski, Gypsy Rose Cat, 14.048
- Shannon Lillard, LZK Dashus Rockstar, 14.050
- Bristan Kennedy, Copies Famous Saint, 14.055
- Tandy Meyers, Streakin Dusty Light, 14.060
- Olivia Train, Ought To Streak, 14.067
- tie 30-Shelby McCamey, Cuz Im French, 14.069
- tie 30-Kenna Squires, NB Ladybird, 14.069
- tie 30-Ryann Pedone, Feel The Sting, 14.069
- Ashlyn Goven, Smooth And Irish, 14.071
- Carlee Otero, Streakinlikafame, 14.078
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Babe On The Chase, 14.086
- Brooke Wills, Fames To Blame, 14.090
- Shelby West, Sunsugar Peppy, 14.100
- Steely Steiner, Teena Turner, 14.103
- Tess Adkins, Fiesta Mojo, 14.104
- Hollie Etbauer, Bring It On Frost Te, 14.108
Find full slack results here.
TOP 3 FROM BUY-BACK ROUND
Place, Rider Name, Horse Name, Time, Payout
- Molly Otto, Sixappeal, 13.775, $1,000
- Jimmy Bryant, Special Chicado, $1,000
- Victoria Williams, Three Jets Olena, $1,000
Find full buy-back round results here.