“I really can’t even describe anything about money,” Kruse said of her round paycheck. “I’m just so excited that I had the run that I did and won the round. The idea of that much money hasn’t begun to sink in.

“A big sigh of relief,” Kruse said of her big win in the first round. “Now, I can relax and go into these next rounds with confidence and I know my horse is going to go do his best.” Photo by Kenneth SpringerPhoto by Kenneth Springer

Kruse rode JKR Assured Win who is by Dashs Emblem out of Miss Assured Best and has been her trusty mount for the better half of the 2015 season. While a few ladies struggled in the first round tipping barrels, Kruse and “JJ” looked like veterans in the pen.

“He handled it good,” she said of her 14-year-old gelding. “As soon as I got around that first barrel I just relaxed and it gave me the confidence I needed.”

Kruse credits God, JJ, and her family for giving her the confidence to achieve her dreams, which like many is running at the NFR. With full faith in her mount Kruse plans to stick with the game plan for the next round; trust her mount, put him in position to do his job, and go one run at a time.

“It’s just another rodeo,” Kruse said of her thought process before her run. “I just have to go one run at a time.”

Along with Kruse, who also took home the go round buckle, some could say every lady entered was a winner this evening. With a record amount of dollars available this year the ante has been upped and on the eve of the 57th Wrangler National Finals, presented by Polaris Ranger, each of the 119 qualifiers received a check for $10,000 from the total purse of $10 million. This money counts toward both WNFR and world standings money. So, with her go round check and the automatic qualification paycheck Kruse stands at No. 5 in the world standings race after round one.

No. 1 ranked Callie DuPerier, finished fifth to bank $6, 769 with a time of 14.08, keeping a grip on her first place world standing. However, No. 2 ranked Lisa Lockhart is hot on her heels after her and An Oakie With Cash’s effortless looking run in the first round, and as their first run back since Cheyenne Frontier Days no less. They smoked the pattern in 13.90 seconds to finish second in the round, worth $20,731 bringing her world earnings to $182,251 right behind DuPerier’s $183,692.

Don’t miss the February issue of Barrel Horse News to read in-depth coverage of all the great stories from the 2015 Wrangler NFR.

Barrel Racing Results – First Go Round:

1. Cassidy Kruse, 13.84, $26,231

2. Lisa Lockhart, 13.90, $20, 731

3. Mary Walker, 13.96, $15, 654

4. Michele McLeod, 14.07, $11,000

5. Callie DuPerier, 14.08, $6,769

6. Jackie Ganter, 14.09, $4,231

7. Sherry Cervi, 14.13

8. Jana Bean, 14.17

9. Fallon Taylor, 14.21

10. Carley Richardson, 14.24

11. Nancy Hunter, 14.27

12. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.89

13. Taylor Jacob, 19.06

14. Vickie Carter, 19.16

15. Deb Guelly, 19.29

Aggregate:

1. Cassidy Kruse, 13.84 seconds on one

2. Lisa Lockhart, 13.90

3. Mary Walker, 13.96

4. Michele McLeod, 14.07

5. Callie DuPerier, 14.08

6. Jackie Ganter, 14.09

7. Sherry Cervi, 14.13

8. Jana Bean, 14.17

9. Fallon Taylor, 14.21

10. Carley Richardson, 14.24

11. Nancy Hunter, 14.27

12. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.89

13. Taylor Jacob, 19.06

14. Vickie Carter, 19.16

15. Deb Guelly, 19.29

World Standings:

1. Callie DuPerier, $183,692

2. Lisa Lockhart, $182, 251

3. Sarah Rose McDonald, $144,599

4. Mary Walker, $135,759

5. Cassidy Kruse, $117,577

6. Sherry Cervi, $114,744

7. Nancy Hunter, $106,686

8. Fallon Taylor, $96,828

9. Michele McLeod, $91,397

10. Taylor Jacob, $90,508

11. Carley Richardson, $87,820

12. Jackie Ganter, $83,560

13. Vickie Carter, $72,768

14. Jana Bean, $70,162

15. Deb Guelly, $69,769

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