By Kailey Sullins
Photo Credit: PRCA
December 4, 2016 (Las Vegas, Nevada) – A tight race in round No.4 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo left the crowd on their feet as 11 of the 15 ladies turned in 13-second runs and only three collected penalties.
Redeeming her first three performances, Michele McLeod smoked round No. 4 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. McLeod rode the standout black stallion, Slick By Design, owned by Highpoint Performance Horses, to the round win with a 13.49, worth $26,231. The ultra-fast time was only .12 seconds off the arena record set by Taylor Jacob in 2013, a 13.37.
In the first three rounds of the NFR, McLeod struggled to put a paying time in the books. However, after a few tweaks to her routine prior to the fourth round performance, McLeod and “Slick” are running strong. She hopes to capitalize on the win.
“It felt great,” McLeod said. “The ground’s felt pretty good all week; they can get ahold of it and stay in there—I’ve just struggled a little bit myself. I came back tonight, warmed up a little bit different and had a bit different mindset, and it worked. He showed up and did what he normally does. It was extremely fast. I did not expect it to be that fast, but it was fast.”
The Whitesboro, Texas, cowgirl came into the NFR ranked ninth in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings, but with a little tough luck in the beginning of the 10-day event, McLeod had dropped to No. 12 in the world standings. Now, with McLeod’s round win, she moved back to the No. 9 position in the world race and currently sits at No. 12 in the aggregate race.
Although it took until round No. 4 for the win, McLeod says she’s excited and ready for the next six.
“I wasn’t actually worrying about the time—I wanted to turn three nice barrels. I haven’t done that yet so far, so that was my goal,” McLeod said. “Now we kind of get on a roll and sometimes it takes my mind a little bit to get that first barrel, and I got it tonight, so hopefully I can keep carrying it through.”
The 2014 Rookie of the Year, Sarah Rose McDonald, finished round four with a 13.56 for second place and $20,731. McDonald rode Fame Fling N Bling to the paycheck, which brought her world earnings to $126,864, moving her from 11th to seventh in the world. She is also sitting seventh in the aggregate race.
Round three winner Lisa Lockhart and An Oakie With Cash took the lead in the aggregate race. Lockhart turned in a time of 13.58 in round No. 4 to take home third-place money of $15,654. The paycheck bumped the Oelrichs, South Dakota, cowgirl to the first-place position in the aggregate and second in the world standings with earnings of $170,321.
No. 1-ranked Mary Burger placed sixth with a 13.74 aboard Sadiefamouslastwords. The veteran competitor and former world champ is still holding strong to her lead in this year’s world championship race with earnings of $209,438.
Don’t miss the February issue of Barrel Horse News to read in-depth coverage of all the great stories from the 2016 NFR.
Barrel Racing Results – Fourth Go Round:
1. Michele McLeod, 13.49, $26,230
2. Sarah Rose McDonald, 13.56, $20,731
3. Lisa Lockhart, 13.58, $15,654
4/5. Jana Bean, 13.66, $8,885
4/5. Amberleigh Moore, 13.66, $8,885
6. Mary Burger, 13.74, $4,231
7. Carley Richardson, 13.76
8. Stevi Hillman, 13.77
9. Kimmie Wall, 13.79
10. Pamela Capper, 13.87
11. Cayla Melby Small, 13.95
12. Mary Walker, 14.11
13. Sherry Cervi, 18.72*
14. Ivy Conrado, 19.03*
15. Jackie Ganter, 19.17*
* time reflects score with penalty
1. Lisa Lockhart, 55.21
2. Amberleigh Moore, 55.28
3. Jana Bean, 55.43
4. Pamela Capper, 55.52
5. Kimmie Wall, 60.04
6. Sherry Cervi, 60.21
7. Sarah Rose McDonald, 60.23
8. Mary Burger, 60.81
9. Jackie Ganter, 61.08
10. Mary Walker, 61.48
11. Stevi Hillman, 61.55
12. Michele McLeod, 65.30
13. Carley Richardson, 65.62
14. Cayla Melby Small, 65.79
15. Ivy Conrado, 46.72 (on three runs)
1. Mary Burger; $209,438
2. Lisa Lockhart; $170,321
3. Kimmie Wall; $164,757
4. Sherry Cervi; $143,602
5. Jackie Ganter; $142,041
6. Ivy Conrado; $134,275
7. Sarah Rose McDonald; $126,864
8. Amberleigh Moore; $124,606
9. Michele McLeod; $123,976
10. Pamela Capper; $123,736
11. Mary Walker; $122,816
12. Jana Bean; $114,874
13. Stevi Hillman; $114,643
14. Cayla Melby Small; $101,967
15. Carley Richardson; $90,875
Kailey Sullins is Managing Editor of Barrel Horse News. Email comments on this article to [email protected].