The race was on and the stakes were high in the barrel racing competition when the final round of Rodeo Austin, part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association Wrangler Million Dollar Gold Tour, got underway on March 24. Kendra Dickson, Aubrey, Texas, led the pack going into the final round, with a cumulative time of 30.27 seconds on two runs, while Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., nipped at her heels with a 30.30 on two. Rodeo Austin, which is the fifth largest indoor, regular season rodeo, was held March 9-24 at the Travis County Expo Center.
Lockhart was able to pull away by winning the short-go with a time of 15.01, leaving Dickson two-tenths of a second behind in the average, as she finished fourth in the final round with a 15.24-second run.
“You just never know what is going to happen. You just have to go out there and do your job and then it just comes down to how the chips fall,” said a very up-beat Lockhart following her eventual victory.
Lockhart, a five-time Wrangler National Finals Qualifier, had set herself up well by placing third in the first round with a 15.21 to earn $1,763, but was just behind Dickson, who grabbed second place with a 15.18 worth $2,115. The two competitors were neck and neck in round two, tying for fourth with identical times of 15.09, which earned them each $1,351 for their efforts.
“Louie was just very honest and consistent throughout the whole thing and with every run,” Lockhart said of her well-known buckskin gelding An Oakie With Cash. “The game plan from the beginning was just to keep them all standing out there. That is the ultimate goal anyway, but in that arena, you really have to focus to do everything right.”
Lockhart also noted that just one barrel was hit in the final round, a testament to the level of competition this year.
With competition so tight in the final round, Dickson attributed a slight over-cue at the third barrel for costing her a little time.
“I really had to get my head on straight for the final round. I think we had a great first and second barrel, but I changed my game plan at third and really safetied up and pulled Dover (Dr Te Hancock) out just a smidgen too far,” said Dickson, who had competed in Nacogdoches the night before, where she hit a barrel.
Although edged out at the end for the average title, Dickson was pleased to earn a check for runner-up honors.
“It really felt incredible to have Dover running as good as he was again. I had personally put a lot of stress on myself with a lot riding on Austin. It was an answer to my prayers to get control and have Dover have such a strong comeback in such a short amount of time,” said Dickson, who had been dealing with front hoof soreness on Dover during the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo and Rodeo Houston. With some new shoes, Kendra says her horse has made a quick recovery and she is very thankful that he’s performing well.
The winning contestant in each of the four Super Shootout events — bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing — from the top 11 North American rodeos are invited to compete in Rodeo Austin, which is a part of the Gold Tour in the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour, presented by Justin Boots. Wrangler Million Dollar Tour standings are calculated for purposes of bonus earnings only. All money won at the 2012 Gold and Silver Tour stops will be combined for the 2012 Tour standings. Bonus money will be paid to the top six places. All bonus money will be added to the 2012 world standings at the conclusion of the final regular season Tour rodeo.
“It’s too early to worry about the standings, but it was definitely an added bonus winning a rodeo with a double incentive,” concluded Lockhart, who is currently sitting 10th in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings.
Rodeo Austin barrel racing results:
First round: 1. Tana Renick, 15.15 seconds, $2,468; 2. Kendra Dickson, 15.18, $2,115; 3. Lisa Lockhart, 15.21, $1,763; 4. Shelley Morgan, 15.23, $1,528; 5. Reagan Dillard, 15.24, $1,175; 6. (tie) Paige Conrado, Morgan Figueroa and Pamela Capper, 15.27, $705 each; 9. Christina Richman and Linda Vick, 15.31, $294 each. Second round: 1. Randa Kellogg, 14.94 seconds, $2,468; 2. Trula Churchill, 14.97, $2,115; 3. Kenna Squires, 14.99, $1,763; 4. (tie) Kendra Dickson and Lisa Lockhart, 15.09, $1,351 each; 6. Linda Vick, 15.14, $940; 7. Sabrina Ketcham, 15.15, $705; 8. (tie) Shelley Morgan and Lisa Anderson, 15.21, $411 each; 10. Tammy Fischer, 15.22, $235. Finals: 1. Lisa Lockhart, 15.01 seconds, $1,828; 2. Kenna Squires, 15.21, $1,371; 3. Sabrina Ketcham, 15.23, $914; 4. Kendra Dickson, 15.24, $457. Average: 1. Lisa Lockhart, 45.31 seconds on three runs, $3,701; 2. Kendra Dickson, 45.51, $3,173; 3. Kenna Squires, 45.65, $2,644; 4. Sabrina Ketcham, 45.83, $2,291; 5. Shelley Morgan, 45.92, $1,763; 6. (tie) Sabra O’Quinn and Randa Kellogg, 46.00, $1,234 each; 8. Tammy Fischer, 46.02, $705; 9. Lisa Anderson, 46.13, $529; 10. Paige Conrado, 46.16, $353