Kaylee Scales of Blanchard, Oklahoma, kept a steady pace all weekend first turning in a 16.457 in the first round to take home a sixth place paycheck. Then, she followed in round No. 2 with a 16.330 this time picking up a third place paycheck.
“I came into this week really not expecting much,” Scales said. “I didn’t have a very good week at Little Britches finals (National Little Britches Rodeo Association finals), but I just came in here with an open mind and just wanting to make two good runs, and God willing a third one. I just wanted to have the best week I could have.”
Scales sure did have her best week. Riding her 16-year-old gelding, “Boogie” she collected $3,351 plus a Twister Saddles trophy saddle. Scales says she plans to put the money back into her rodeo endeavors.
Brooklyn Gunter, Sulphur, Louisiana, also had one of her best weeks in Shawnee. Gunter started off the week in stellar form setting the arena record in the pole bending, which hadn’t been broken in a decade before, with a 19.303. Aboard her 12-year-old mare, “Blaze,” Gunter collected the first place win in the first go-round, worth $1,266. And, the duo didn’t ease up in the second round. They turned in a time of 19.685 for another first place paycheck.
Coming into the short round as the strong leader in the pole bending Gunter said she was a little nervous, which might have played a key in Blaze getting uncharacteristically on edge in the alleyway.
“She took at least 30 or 40 seconds to go in there, so I got really, really nervous,” Gunter said with a laugh. “And then we go in there this time – we didn’t have a really fast run it was a 20.1 I was mainly trying to keep a clean pattern.”
As the last runner to enter the arena in the pole bending excitement came down to the wire. The crowd was roaring as she and Blaze crossed the timer’s line and as the announcer said the time was 20.122, worth $1,266 for a first place in the short round, plus bringing her to the top in the aggregate making her the championship pole bender. All totaled Gunter collected $5,695.
Each young lady had numerous words to describe their excitement in winning the championship, plus an appreciation and love for their horses.
The IFYR All-Around Cowgirl title went to Kelly Valdez of La Junta, Colorado.
Written by Kailey Sullins Photos by Rodeobum.com courtesy IFYR