December 6, 2019 — Las Vegas — Newcomers have been taking the Thomas and Mack Center by storm so far at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. First-time qualifier Dona Kay Rule of Minco, Oklahoma, and High Valor topped Round Two of the Wrangler NFR barrel racing with a 13.69. Coming back from a small stumble in the first round, Rule and “Valor” were dialed in for Round Two. 

“It’s unbelievable at my age to even dream of this happening, so it’s pretty exciting,” Rule said. “I had a little trouble in the first round. We stumbled a bit and recovered really well. He did just fine, but I knew that I would have to do a couple of things in the alley to make him set up for a better turn on Barrel One this time. When he turned like I wanted him to, I knew to smash the gas and he took it real well.”

Rule’s 2019 American Quarter Horse Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Horse of the Year didn’t take long to find his stride in the Thomas and Mack Center arena, which Rule says is a testament to his training and her program, which relies heavily on ranch work.

“He has to wait for me when we’re out there [in the pastures], and he has to understand not to panic,” Rule said. “He does get scared—he’s a race horse not a cow pony—so there’s often times out there that he gets scared and has to look to me, and my job is to let him know [he’s OK].”

Qualifying for the NFR has been a lifelong goal of Rule’s, and running down the alley in the Thomas and Mack Center is a memory she’ll never forget. The round win was icing on the cake.

“It was sort of like a dream sequence,” Rule said of running down the alley for the first time in Round One. “The lights weren’t as bright in my mind, and it was sort of like I had a tunnel in front of me and a path to go on. I wasn’t heart pounding like I thought I would be; I was pretty focused.”

After Round Two, the standings have shaken up even further. Rule moved into the No. 5 position in the world standings from ninth. Lisa Lockhart hangs onto the No. 1 position after picking up a round paycheck again. Hailey Kinsel Lockwood sits in the No. 2 position, and Nellie Miller follows closely at No. 3.

Lisa Lockhart
Thanks to a solid two rounds for Prime Diamond, Lisa Lockhart currently sits in the No. 1 position in the WPRA world standings. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Round Two Results

  1. Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 13.69, $26,230.77
  2. Hailey Kinsel Lockwood, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.73, $20,730.77
  3. Emily Miller, Namgis D 33, 13.74, $15,653.85
  4. Amberleigh Moore, CP Dark Moon, 13.78, $11,000
  5. Ivy Conrado Saebens, KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, 13.83, $6,769.23
  6. Lisa Lockhart, Prime Diamond, 13.85, $4,230.77
  7. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 13.90
  8. Shali Lord, Freckles Ta Fame, 13.92
  9. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 13.96
  10. Ericka Nelson, Goodfrenchmanfriday, 13.98
  11. Nellie Miller, Rafter W Minnie Reba, 14.06
  12. Jennifer Sharp, KR Famous Tequilla, 14.11
  13. Cheyenne Wimberley, VQ Sucker Punch, 14.20
  14. Lacinda Rose, RR Meradas Real Deal, 14.28
  15. Stevi Hillman, MCM Imasharpguy, 18.76*

*denotes penalty

Aggregate Standings on Two Runs

  1. Emily Miller, 27.37
  2. Lisa Lockhart, 27.55
  3. Dona Kay Rule, 27.77
  4. Jessica Routier, 27.87
  5. Ivy Conrado Saebens, 27.90
  6. Shali Lord, 27.93
  7. Nellie Miller, 27.96
  8. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 27.98
  9. Ericka Nelson, 28.03
  10. Jennifer Sharp, 28.02
  11. Lacinda Rose, 28.74
  12. Hailey Kinsel Lockwood, 32.39
  13. Stevi Hillman, 32.51
  14. Cheyenne Wimberley, 33.29
  15. Amberleigh Moore, 37.59

World Standings

  1. Lisa Lockhart, $181,313.19
  2. Hailey Kinsel Lockwood, $179,597.41
  3. Nellie Miller, $175,610.5
  4. Emily Miller, $150,029.35
  5. Dona Kay Rule, $132,738.26
  6. Stevi Hillman, $130,988.67
  7. Shali Lord, $121,775.59
  8. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, $115,503.4
  9. Amberleigh Moore, $114,059.22
  10. Jessica Routier, $112,081.9
  11. Ivy Conrado Saebens, $110,038.47
  12. Jennifer Sharp, $107,254.45
  13. Ericka Nelson, $103,433.24
  14. Cheyenne Wimberley, $100,360.85
  15. Lacinda Rose, $98,935.85


Kailey Sullins is editor of Barrel Horse News, and an avid barrel racer and breakaway roper. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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