By Amy Wilson
After Amberleigh Moore and CP Dark Moon “Paige” ran a 13.31 plus a five second penalty in Round 7 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, it was obvious the arena record could be in jeopardy. “Well after last night, I was ecstatic! I came out of the alleyway and heard them say my time, and I started laughing,” Moore said. “That mare keeps getting faster and faster, and keeps getting more and more perfect. Sometimes a little bit too perfect, like last night.”
Today, Moore wanted to make the necessary adjustments. “I did jump on her today and do a little extra tuning after her tipping that third barrel because I knew she was getting too fast, too quick, and too perfect. So we did some exercises to lift her up and be softer in my hands, and it paid off.”
It paid off to the tune of $26,231 for the Round 8 win, and an arena record-tying time of 13.37 seconds(Taylor Jacob, 2013).
Moore was excited to be first out on the ground, “I knew I could go for it, so I just sent her in there, and when she took off like a rocket and that first barrel was perfect, I was like, ‘Oh boy, here we go again’! I just made sure I rode hard around that third barrel and got clean tonight.”
Moore believes it’s Paige’s perfectionism that makes her such a winner. “If you go out there on that ride, I don’t have to do anything but stay out of her way.” The 7 year old mare by Darkelly really is a perfect fit for Moore. She explained, “Well I had seen Cody Hyde ride Skye (Kelly’s Chick), and futurity and derby her. I fell in love with her and that’s why I went looking for a Darkelly. And growing up I had a horse named Philip that I loved, and we broke records that still to this day haven’t been touched. The first time I stepped on Paige and rode off, it was like stepping on him and I immediately knew that she was the one.”
Paige has helped Moore move up to No. 3 in the WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings after winning $106,885 so far at the Wrangler NFR. With two rounds to go, Moore is second in the average. “It’s been an amazing finals! This whole week has been unreal,” the first-time WNFR qualifier said. She also complimented those who are responsible for the ground conditions. “To be here this year with them changing the ground and making it good for us, is such a positive thing to come down that alley and know you can go for broke. It makes for a thrilling ride and even more fun for the fans to watch.”
And those fans include her family. “My husband was supposed to go home for a couple days for work and then come back…and he’s never left Vegas,” Moore said laughing. “I’ve had in-laws come. His grandma came, who’s never watched me ride – and watched last night. So it’s been an amazing, amazing journey for all of us.”
Ivy Conrado and the 2016 AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year, Tibbie earned second place with a great run of 13.63. Mary Burger and Mo clocked a 13.66 for third place. Stevi Hillman earned fourth place with a time of 13.67. Sherry Cervi ended up 5th with 13.68, followed closely by Pamela Capper in 6th with a time of 13.69. Lisa Lockhart was just out of the money in Round 8. She rocked the third barrel, but it stayed up, allowing her to remain No. 1 in the average as the only barrel racer to be clean on all 8 runs.
Courtesy of WPRA