March 1, 2022 — FORT WORTH, TEXAS — The barrel racing was about as fast as it gets Tuesday night inside Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. The first performance of the 2022 American Semifinals saw all 12 barrel racers clock 13-second times, but it was Laura Mote and her gritty performance on Reb Hot Redbull that took the top spot in 13.577 seconds.
Kassie Mowry and Epic Guy entered the arena as the first gunners of the night, running a hard-to-beat 13.595. Laura knew she’d have to not just be clean, but very fast, to win.
A close call at the second barrel when Laura dropped her reins to reach down and set the barrel up had the 18-year-old cowgirl thinking she’d cost herself too much time on the clock. However, “Redbull” and his incredible speed had other thoughts.
“I tried to ease him into the first, have a clean first. I came into the whole Semifinals thinking to make every run clean and smooth, and he’ll shut off the clock,” said Laura, who entered the first performance with a qualifying time of 13.709 from the Semifinals Prelims/Slack. “After I had to drop the reins and grab the second barrel back up, I remember looking down like, ‘I cannot go out of this arena without a clean run.’ I reached out and grabbed it and let go of the reins on the second, and he still turned it fine. When I slowed him down out of the alley, I was thinking, ‘Man, I needed a really fast run. That’s not what I needed. I needed to be really fast.’ And then they said my time and I was like, I don’t believe it, there’s no way!”
The gelding is very special to the Mote family. Bred and raised by Reliance Ranches of Guthrie, Oklahoma, Redbull is a home-trained product. Laura’s father, four-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Champion Bareback Rider Bobby Mote, broke the gelding to ride, and Laura’s mother, Kate Mote, trained him to run barrels. He’s quickly proven himself a winner, but it didn’t come without doubts in the early years, especially after the gelding needed a late start due to a scary head injury.
“He’s extremely special to my whole family. There’s three people in his whole life who have ever ridden him,” Laura said. “When he was young, he broke his skull and had to get it wired shut. He wasn’t started until he was 4 years old. My dad got him really broke, and he kept telling us he was going to be a really nice barrel horse. He was always on the crazy side—my mom was like ‘I don’t know, he’s a little crazy for me!’ I had a horse pass away on me, so I had to step up to him. He was making smooth runs with my mom, and finally she’s like, ‘Alright, you can ride him.’ I took him to my last high school rodeo of my freshman year, and he won it. So I’m like, ‘Well, Mom, can I just keep him?’ I never got off of him after that.”
In addition to her success so far in American competition and World Champions Rodeo Alliance events, Laura recently purchased her Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Rookie card and is ready to hit the road with Redbull for her Rookie year of pro rodeo.
She knows a horse like Redbull is once in a lifetime, and Laura plans to enjoy every trip down the alleyway on his back, no matter where the chips fall.
“You can’t buy that bond between me and him, and him and my whole family. It makes it extra special,” she said. “He wants to win more than any other horses I have ever seen. There’s nothing he loves more than running barrels, and he loves winning. It’s not a job to him. It’s a reward to get to go run barrels. You have to have one that loves running barrels for them to be good at it. He’s just a winner.”
While there’s no guarantees with as tough as the barrel racing gets at the American Semifinals, Laura’s time is sitting pretty to be among the top times overall from three Semifinals Performances that advance to the American Contender Round on Friday March 4. If she makes it through the Contender Round, it’s on to AT&T Stadium on March 6 to test her mettle at The American Rodeo.
American Semis Performance 1 Barrel Racing Results
1. Laura Mote, Reb Hot Redbull, 13.577
2. Kassie Mowry, Epic Guy, 13.595
3. Sarah Rose Waguespack, Roses Roan Ranger, 13.660
4. Charlie Johnson, Phoenixonthecimarron, 13.779
5. Tasha Welsh, Seis Smashin Fame, 13.792
6. London Gorham, Cashin Chicks, 13.826
7. Cayla Small, Slick N Black, 13.918
8. Lisa Thornton, Straight Toasted, 13.930
9. Elizabeth Broussard Schmid, Bogies French Trick, 18.583*
10. Troy Crumrine, SR Industry Titan, 18.620*
11. Kylie Weast, Hell On The Red, 18.800*
12. Taylor Hanson, French Kiss To Vegas, 18.868*