By Danika Kent

December 10, 2016 (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Tonight could have played out in a number of ways, in the tenth and final round of the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the very last page of the 2016 professional rodeo season. Mary Burger came into her fourth NFR leading by a mile, with the most money ever won by a barrel racer in the regular season. As the saying goes, however, it is anyone’s game, and with incredible money to be won over the course of 10 days, even the 15th-place qualifier had a viable chance to take over the lead. Amberleigh Moore nearly did that on her great mare, CP Dark Moon, and on the last night, the world title could have gone to one of four very deserving cowgirls. It truly did come down to the wire. 

MaryBurger round10Two-time WPRA World Champion Mary Burger and Sadiefamouslastwords. Photo by Ross HecoxMary Burger did hit a barrel, which left the door open for Moore, Sherry Cervi and Lisa Lockhart. For any of them to take the lead, however, the others needed to falter. None of them did. Lockhart and An Oakie With Cash (the ever-popular “Louie”) made their characteristic clean run to win the aggregate and $67,269.23. Sherry Cervi got her first round win of the rodeo on Dash Ta Diamonds (Trip and Callie duPerier’s “Arson”), but it was a victory she shared with Jana Bean and Dashing Klee (“Chick”). Moore and “Paige” gave it their best and while it kept them second in the aggregate, their 13.70 didn’t place tonight – their only clean run of 10 to be out of the money. In the end, Burger had earned her second gold buckle.

 But while rodeo fans around the world closely watched the world championship barrel race unfold, Burger was “absolutely not” aware of how her title was materializing.

“I don’t keep track of money,” Burger said. “Matter of fact, I couldn’t tell you who won all the go-rounds by name or number. I don’t worry too much about it. It was a surprise.”

Burger simply savored every moment of this entire season, even the tumultuousness of the last 10 days.

 “It’s been just a real experience for me. Signing autographs and stuff, I just get so many nice compliments,” Burger said. “Not knowing whether my horse was even going to make these runs and hold up for me – to win a round (she won round No. 7) and win the world championship is just amazing.”

Burger’s first world championship came in 2006 aboard Rare Fred, the 1996 gelded son of Jet Radar out of Sleek Glass by Image of Greatness.

 “Fred was a special horse and we had a really good relationship. I bonded with him, too,” Burger said. “The thing of it is, we parted ways, but I don’t have to part ways with Mo. He can stay with me and always be my friend. [Rare Fred and Sadiefamouslastwords] had a lot of similarities. Maybe a little bit different style, but I just kind of tried to stay out of their way and let them work. With Mo being a little sore, I think the last two rounds were a little tough for him, but he tried real hard.”

Mo, a 2009 gelding by Sadies Frosty Drift and out of the Dash Ta Fame daughter Porky And Bess, won his world championship credentials in spite of a nagging soft tissue injury. Burger says he has a lot of rest and recovery to look forward to as her veterinarian nurses him back to health. She credits a strong support system for getting her and the golden gelding through the season.

“It’s a lot of mental support as far as everybody – my husband, my family. I keep close contact with God. I always tell Him to keep my thoughts good and to watch and take care of both of us. He’s on my side,” Burger added. 

Kimmie Wall celebrated her birthday with a third-place place check for her time of 13.61 on TKW Bullys Famous Fox. Cayla (Melby) Small earned another check, this time for fourth on Shameon U with their 13.64. Lisa Lockhart and Pamela Capper split the fifth- and sixth-place purse with identical times of 13.67.

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.

Barrel Racing Results – 10th Go-Round:
1/2. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 13.59, $23,480.77
1/2. Jana Bean, Fort Hancock, Texas, 13.59, $23,480.77
3.   Kimmie Wall, Roosevelt, Utah, 13.61, $15,653.85
4.   Cayla (Melby) Small, Burneyville, Okla., 13.64, $11,000.00
5/6. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 13.67, $5,500.00
5/6. Pamela Capper, Cheney, Wash., 13.67, $5,500.00
7.   Amberleigh Moore, Keizer, Ore., 13.70
8.   Carley Richardson, Pampa, Texas, 13.77
9.   Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga., 13.82
10.  Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 14.06
11.  Jackie Ganter, Abilene, Texas, 14.14
12.  Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 18.79*
13.  Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla., 18.89*
14.  Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas, 23.60*
15.  Ivy Conrado, Hudson, Colo., NT
*Time reflects score with penalty.

LisaLockhart averagechampLisa Lockhart takes the aggregate championship at the Wrangler NFR. Photo by Ross Hecox.

Aggregate Results – 10th Go-Round:
1.    Lisa Lockhart            137.98/10    $67,269.23    
2.    Amberleigh Moore        141.53/10    $54,576.92
3.    Sherry Cervi            142.95/10    $43,153.85
4.    Kimmie Wall            144.67/10    $31,730.77
5.    Pamela Capper        148.07/10    $22,846.15
6.    Jackie Ganter            149.88/10    $16,500.00
7.    Sarah Rose McDonald    152.81/10    $11,423.08
8.    Mary Burger            153.40/10    $6,346.15
9.    Cayla Small            153.83/10
10.    Stevi Hillman            153.87/10
11.    Jana Bean            157.72/10
12.    Michele McLeod        161.46/10
13.    Carley Richardson        163.72/10
14.    Mary Walker            164.53/10
15.    Ivy Conrado            125.68/8    


World Standings Results – 10th Go-Round:
1.    Mary Burger        $277,553.51
2.    Amberleigh Moore    $266,760.27
3.    Lisa Lockhart        $251,974.96
4.    Sherry Cervi        $248,313.36
5.    Kimmie Wall        $242,602.87
6.    Pamela Capper        $171,966.29
7.    Jackie Ganter        $169,540.54
8.    Ivy Conrado        $161,775.49
9.    Jana Bean            $159,085.63
10.    Sarah Rose McDonald    $159,018.24
11.    Stevi Hillman        $156,527.60
12.    Michele McLeod        $144,706.52
13.    Cayla Small        $133,698.17
14.    Mary Walker        $122,815.95
15.    Carley Richardson        $103,990.71

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