Article by Danika Kent

Photo by James Phifer

The top two barrel racers from each circuit have gathered in the Sunshine State for a portion of this year’s much inflated purse of $1 million to be paid out across all events over the course of the four-day rodeo.

Montana circuit cowgirl Lindsay Kruse led the first set of 12 with a time of 16.45 seconds after Wednesday night’s opening performance in Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Arena. Kruse outran Cheyenne Schnelle’s 16.59, Texas circuit contender and 2012 WPRA world champion Mary Walker’s 16.65, Southeastern’s 2014 WPRA Rookie of the Year Sarah Rose McDonald and California’s Ann Scott’s identical 16.70s, and First Frontier’s Sarah Griffin’s 16.77 to take the early lead.

In the second half of the first go-round, tonight’s 12 let it all hang out in attempt to squeeze into the go-round money. A few more barrels fell, but ultimately the leaderboard saw some big shifts as Great Lakes’ Natalie Foutch, Wilderness circuit’s Nancy Hunter, and Montana’s New Zealand native Carmel Wright clocked times of 16.49, 16.53 and 16.54, respectively, to take places 3, 4 and 5. Lindsay Kruse lost her top spot by a narrow margin of one hundredth of a second to Badland circuit’s Lisa Lockhart and the ever-solid An Oakie With Cash, who posted a 16.44 to win the go-round and $6,181.85.

“They want to come in on the first barrel,” Lockhart said of many horses’ performances here the past two nights. “I don’t know what it is, but they want to come over on that first and cut off your pocket.” Lisa Lockhart and An Oakie With CashLisa Lockhart and An Oakie With Cash

Her great gelding, An Oakie With Cash, was no exception.

“Maybe I anticipated it, full well knowing others were wanting to do that,” she said. “It’s a lot of inside foot, trying to keep moving him forward because once he starts gravitating, the more I hold him off, the more he wants to come in. It’s hard not to, but it’s just trying to keep moving him forward.”

Lockhart’s efforts were virtually seamless and “Louie’s” run was true to form to take over the lead in the race for the national circuit champion title.

“I think it’s an awesome facility and the community is really behind it, wanting to make it happen,” Lockhart said of the rodeo’s relocation to Florida. “I know it’s really hard anyway, any time you move something. I have a niece that lives in Orlando and she said this was the first time she’d heard of a rodeo in town, so I know they’re trying to promote it. They said it’s sold out for Friday and Saturday, so hopefully it is!”

In the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo format, each go-round spans two performances Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoon, with the top eight contestants in each event advancing to Saturday night’s semi-finals and the top four to the finals.

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

First go-round results:
1. Lisa Lockhart 16.44 $6,181.85
2. Lindsay Kruse 16.45 $4,683.22
3. Natalie Foutch 16.49 $3,371.92
4. Nancy Hunter 16.53 $2,247.95
5. Carmel Wright 16.54 $1,311.30
6. Cheyenne Schnelle 16.59 $936.64
7. Mary Walker 16.65
8. Ann Scott 16.70
8. Sarah Rose McDonald 16.70
9. Pamela Capper 16.74
9. Sheena Robbins 16.74
10. Sarah Griffin 16.77
11. Kassidy Dennison 16.79
12. Kathy Grimes 16.80
13. Mary Burger 16.83
14. Bobbi Grann 16.87
15. Gretchen Benbenek 16.93
16. Kimmie Wall 17.51
17. Victoria Williams 21.50
18. Rebecca Hughes 22.02
19. Alicia Pottmeyer 26.84
20. Laura Lambert 27.00
21. Shelley Morgan 27.22
22. CJ Vondette 27.64


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