By Danika Kent

December 9, 2016 (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Amberleigh Moore came into the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in the back of the pack, earning the 15th qualifying spot in the last breaths of the regular season, and on a young, widely-unknown horse. The trip down the alleyway last Thursday was a first for both mare and jockey. Against these odds in the marathon that is the NFR, the pair from Keizer, Oregon, have posted consistently fast times to steadily climb their way up the world standings.

Moore has talked about the challenges of running CP Dark Moon (“Paige”) to the left, against the grain of the tracks set by the majority of horses who make her first barrel their second turn. In the past, the ruts that scenario creates have tripped Paige up and stalled her out on the scoreboard. It is an obstacle they overcame tonight when they ran 14th in the order.

 “I saw those ruts tonight and I just kept driving her and pushing her, trying to get her to four-wheel drive through them, and she did,” Moore said of her 13.49-second winning run. “It didn’t slow her down one bit. She felt great.

 “The ground guy is amazing,” she added, giving credit where credit is due. “They changed the ground up this year; a new guy came in with new equipment, and kudos to him, because without him, we girls couldn’t be running down that alleyway as hard as we are and getting the runs we’re getting. The first night, I was bottom of the ground and ran a 14.02, and I think the second night she came back and was a .81. Tonight, to be bottom and run a 13.49, I’m very pleased with her.”
  AmberleighMoore RossHecox round9Amberleigh Moore and CP Dark Moon photo by Ross Hecox.Moore has maintained not only a championship mindset as the rodeo has progressed, but also one of the best poker faces in Sin City.

 “Paige futuritied, she derbied, and I grew up doing gymkhanas and gaming. There were a lot of friends and family, growing up, that I rode with who helped me gain this confidence and ability to go out there with a game face and not break,” she acknowledged. “I’m 48 years old; there are lots of experiences in my background that people don’t know.”

 In one of the most exciting horse races in National Finals Rodeo history, every clean run tonight was a 14-flat or faster. Second on the ground, newlywed Cayla (Melby) Small and Shameon U posted a 13.54 to finish second. Stevi Hillman posted her NFR-best time of 13.54 on Cuatro Fame for third place, and Jackie Ganter turned in a 13.66 on Recent Release for fourth. Ivy Conrado and CFour Tibbie Stinson were 13.68 for fifth, and Kimmie Wall and TKW Bullys Famous Fox were sixth with a 13.71.  

If the chips fall in her favor, Moore, who has come from the back of the pack, could steal the world title from 2006 WPRA World Champion Mary Burger, who set the regular season earnings record this year with $190,977 won. Ten-time Wrangler NFR qualifier Lisa Lockhart and four-time WPRA World Champion Sherry Cervi, first and third in the aggregate, respectively, cannot be counted out yet, either. Stay with us for the tenth round finale tomorrow night, and don’t miss the February issue of Barrel Horse News to read in-depth coverage of all the great stories from the 2016 Wrangler NFR.


CaylaSmall round9Cayla (Melby) Small and Shameon U. Photo courtesy PRCA.

Barrel Racing Results – Ninth Go-Round:
1.    Amberleigh Moore, Keizer, Ore., 13.49, $26,230.77
2.    Cayla (Melby) Small, Burneyville, Okla., 13.54, $20,730.77
3.    Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas, 13.59, $15,653.85
4.    Jackie Ganter, Abilene, Texas, 13.66, $11,000
5.    Ivy Conrado, Hudson, Colo., 13.68, $6,769.23
6.    Kimmie Wall, Roosevelt, Utah, 13.71, $4,230.77
7.    Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 13.75
8.    Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 13.76
9.    Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga., 13.77
10.    Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 14.00
11.    Pamela Capper, Cheney, Wash., 18.80*
12.    Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Ore., 18.86*
13.    Carley Richardson, Pampa, Texas, 19.11*
14.    Jana Bean, Ft. Hancock, Texas, 23.70*
15.    Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 26.60*
*Time reflects score with penalty.

Aggregate Standings – Ninth Go-Round:
1.    Lisa Lockhart            124.31/9    
2.    Amberleigh Moore        127.83/9    
3.    Sherry Cervi            129.36/9
4.    Stevi Hillman            130.27/9
5.    Kimmie Wall            131.06/9
6.    Pamela Capper        134.40/9
7.    Mary Burger            134.51/9
8.    Jackie Ganter            135.74/9
9.    Sarah Rose McDonald    138.99/9
10.    Cayla Small            140.19/9
11.    Jana Bean            144.13/9
12.    Mary Walker            145.74/9
13.    Michele McLeod        147.40/9
14.    Carley Richardson        149.95/9
15.    Ivy Conrado            125.68/8     

 World Standings – Ninth go-round:
1.    Mary Burger        $271,207.36
2.    Amberleigh Moore    $212,183.35
3.    Kimmie Wall        $195,218.25
4.    Sherry Cervi        $181,678.74
5.    Lisa Lockhart        $179,205.73
6.    Ivy Conrado        $161,775.49
7.    Stevi Hillman        $156,527.60
8.    Jackie Ganter        $153,040.54
9.    Sarah Rose McDonald    $147,595.16
10.    Michele McLeod        $144,706.52
11.    Pamela Capper        $143,620.14
12.    Jana Bean            $135,604.86
13.    Mary Walker        $122,815.95
14.    Cayla Small        $122,698.17
15.    Carley Richardson        $103,990.71

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