By Jolee Jordan
Pendleton, Oregon — The ladies of the WPRA have a relatively short history at the Pendleton Round-Up when compared to its 108 years in existence. But Cheyenne Allan has been a part of that history since nearly the beginning.
The WPRA barrel race debuted in Pendleton back in 2000. Allan did not compete that year but she was there the following year and set the arena record at the time en route to winning the short round. She’s been back nearly every year, running the famous huge pattern across the Pendleton grass on four different horses in the now-two decades of barrel racing here.
The Round-Up presents unique challenges to competitors in all events due to traditions of long scores in the timed events and, even more importantly, the fact that the arena is composed of what is a football field most of the year with a dirt track surrounding it. In order to have a safe barrel race, Round-Up producers and the WPRA devised a pattern where the barrels are set on a dirt track that surrounds the grass and cowgirls must sprint across the grass more than 280 feet in between turns.
All challengers to the so-called Green Mile make one run and the fastest 12 return on Saturday for the Championship round. More than 100 ladies began the journey here in 2018 . . . they ranged from those entering to cross off a bucket list rodeo to those with championships and trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on the line.
As much as eyes were on the so-called bubble cowgirls—those just outside the top 15 in the WPRA World standings—the race in Pendleton also held big implications for the race for the Ram Columbia River Circuit Finals Rodeo (CRCFR).
Thus far the race has been a two-horse see-saw battle between sometimes hauling partners Teri Bangart and Allan. Bangart is the reigning circuit champion, a title she essentially clinched with a second place finish in Pendleton in 2017. Interestingly, Allan’s top horse Molly is a full sister to Bangart’s back-up, and Pendleton specialist, Good One. Both were bred and raised by Diamond Slash Ranch which is the name of Allan and her husband Randy’s horse breeding program. Bangart’s main mount Peak is by the same sire as well, the Jet of Honor stud In Honor of Leo.
Bangart has held the edge for much of the season but Allan closed the gap with a big showing last weekend, winning the Lewiston (ID) rodeo and taking second in Spokane. When the Round-Up began, only $3,200 separated the cowgirls.
That gap disappeared altogether after the opening round of Pendleton as Allan darted to second in the long go with a time of 28.76 seconds, just three one-hundredths of a second behind round winner Jolene Douglas-Hoburg. The cowgirls ran back-to-back in the Friday perf, electrifying the crowd with the leader board changes.
Sixteenth ranked Jessie Telford ably jockeyed her horse Cool Whip to the short round with a Friday afternoon run at 29.06 seconds, good enough for fifth in the round and moving the cut-off for the final round to 29.50 seconds, the run posted by Lexi Burgess.
Burgess was ranked third in the Columbia River Circuit, putting four of the top five circuit cowgirls in the last round held on Saturday, September 15.
Because all short rounds are drawn for competition order, Allan landed first to run on the Round-Up’s final day. Saying she needed to clean up her first barrel, Allan rattled it as she turned but it stood and she bolted across the grass. With a big crowd cheering her on, she laid down the gauntlet with the rodeo’s fastest run at that point, a 28.62 seconds.
Former Columbia River champ Cindy Woods ran next. Woods came to town ranked 12th in the circuit, the final spot for a chance to compete in Yakima in January at the CRCFR. Woods’ time of 29.99 reflected lost time for a big slip on the second corner.
Nevada ranch gal Mindy Goemmer ran next. Goemmer was in the finals here two years ago and her mare Fancy scooted across the grass in 29.34 seconds.
Walla Walla cowgirl Kacey Gartner took aim as the fourth cowgirl to run. Gartner had led the opening round from the slack on Monday all the way to Friday and finished third in the long go. Riding her mare Mercedes—a lefty—Gartner wowed the crowd with a smoking time of 28.47 seconds. That landed her just two one-hundredths of a second behind Allan in the average.
Burgess got into the 28’s too; her gelding Gus was able to shave more than half a second off his first run to post a 28.82 second run. Texas cowgirl Katelyn Scott borrowed her mom’s mare Reinesha for her run of 29.14 seconds, also improving on her first round time.
Jolene Douglas-Hoburg drew up seventh. Riding her horse Punky, bred to be a race horse but deemed not fast enough for the track, Douglas-Hoburg epitomized consistency, running just three one hundredths off her first round time at 28.76 seconds. That landed her third in the average with five ladies to run.
Another Columbia River Circuit champ, Brenda Mays ran next, one of eight circuit cowgirls competing on Saturday. A costly barrel penalty on her young horse Barney took her out of competition.
Fourth ranked Columbia cowgirl Italy Sheehan followed Mays, running in her second consecutive Pendleton finals. Riding her gelding Puma, Sheehan stopped the clock in 29.10 seconds.
After Californian Hayle Gibson’s 29.23 second run on her horse Bootlegger, the second lefty in the field, the heart of the bubble chase finished the round with Bangart running 11th and Telford 12th.
Bangart has had tremendous success in Pendleton the last three seasons and her horse Good One put another good run together at 28.88 seconds. Though fifth in a round that paid four, she landed fourth in the average.
The last cowgirl with a chance to deny Allan her first Round-Up title was Telford. When Cool Whip went wide on the first turn, the pair couldn’t quite make up the time, running a 29.30 seconds.
“It means everything,” Allan told the Barrel Horse News in a social media interview after the win. “I’ve been in the short go before but I’ve never done this phenomenal.”
“My horse is really on fire,” she continued of the 13 year old Molly. “Thanks to Pendleton and to my sponsors for supporting me and making my dreams come true. Praise God!”
Allan’s husband Randy, a former pick up man, posted the best synopsis of the day to his Facebook account.
“Cheyenne first ran in 2001 and set the arena record with a time of 28.19 on Flame but she didn’t win the average. Life is filled with hopes and dreams; she was 44 years old and said I will win the average some day,” he posted. “She has ran almost every year on different horses starting with Flame, Nike, Flitty, and Molly. She has knocked barrels over, fell on the third, hung up, got walked on, fell on the grass and had bad runs but she never gave up on her dream.
“Now 17 years later she did it. Now she says I can do it again. And faster. I said I hope it doesn’t take another 17 years! Let ‘Er Buck.”
The finish was the second closest in history, surpassed only by Maegan Reichert’s one one-hundredth of a second win over Terri Kaye Kirkland in 2005. Allan was two one-hundredths ahead of Gartner and just eleven one-hundredths ahead of Douglas-Hoburg. Interestingly, Molly is the ninth straight mare to conquer the Green Mile.
Allan banked $10,888 for her two runs on the Green Mile, sprinting to the lead of the circuit by about $2,200, setting up quite a duel with Bangart when the CRCFR kicks off next January. The circuit standings beyond the top spots took a major shake up as well. Sheehan moved to third while Garnter streaked from 22nd all the way to fifth. Douglas-Hoburg also made a huge leap, going from 31st to sixth.
As for Allan, she earned the title of Pendleton Round-Up Champion along with all the loot that goes with it including a Severe Brothers saddle, buckle, boots, Yeti cooler, Pendleton Whisky, and the list goes on.
Another Pendleton tradition is for the winner to take a victory lap around the track in her new saddle but Allan broke with tradition, bringing her mare Molly out for the awards ceremony and riding her in the victory lap. She attempted to ponying the horse bearing her new saddle and instead enlisted help from one of Pendleton’s many volunteers to ride the second horse alongside her.
Coming to Pendleton ranked 16th, Telford helped her cause with a good showing here, earning $3,815 after finishing seventh overall. She was about $3,000 behind 15th ranked Amberleigh Moore but Moore moved the goalposts with good showings in Abilene, where she won fourth, and Albuquerque, where she finished third.
With her weekend earnings at $3,893, Moore slid past 14th ranked Carley Richardson and 13th ranked Tracy Nowlin. Telford is still 16th but with a much slimmer gap, only about $200 now behind Richardson, as the rodeo road moves from the Northwest this week to rodeos in Amarillo, Texarkana, and Springhill (LA).
Most of the bubble cowgirls earned checks in Albuquerque at the New Mexico State Fair. Jessi Fish was second, Moore was third, Bangart picked up a share of sixth, Kelly Bruner won ninth and Nowlin was 11th. Bruner is ranked 12th.
From 11th ranked Carman Pozzobon to Telford’s position in the crying hole is just a smidge over $4,000 with just two weeks to go, setting up a knife fight for the remainder of the year to see who will be in Vegas.
While there is a gap from Telford in 16th to Kellie Collier in 17th of about $4,000, Collier, Bangart, and Fish continue to stalk the pace at 17, 18 and 19, respectively, earning checks and keeping their hopes alive.
Minor Collects Pendleton Breakaway Title
Jordan Minor hung on to the lead through the final performance of breakaway roping on Friday to be crowned the second annual Pendleton Round-Up Breakaway Champ. Only the top 24 ropers from the 2018 Columbia River Breakaway Roping standings were invited to “run one off the hill” at the Round-Up, competing in each of the first three performances.
Minor earned $905 for her 2.4 second run. Kiley Duby was second at 2.9 seconds. Both cowgirls are married into great roping families who were all competing at the Round-Up this year; thanks to the Round-Up for letting them show that that cowgirls can pack a rope too!
1. Jolene Douglas-Hoburg, Yin My Eyes, 28.73, $5,007
2. Cheyenne Allan, RS Mollys Honor, 28.76, $4,292
3. Kacey Gartner, Rebel Look, 28.93, $3,576
4. Italy Sheehan, Woody Pine Cone, 29.05, $3,100
5. Jessie Telford, Famous Cool Whip, 29.06, $2,384
6. Mindy Goemmer, Cuchara Fancy N Fast, 29.09, $1,907
7. Teri Bangart, Streaking Honor Kid, 29.11, $1,431
8. Katelyn Scott, KN Born This Way, 29.25, $954
9. Cindy Woods, Firecracker Jones, 29.29, $715
10. Brenda Mays, Roze of Sharon, 29.30, $477
11. Hayle Gibson, BB Moonshine Chick, 29.41
12. Lexi Burgess, Sporty Peppy Guz, 29.50
1. Gartner, 28.47, $2,119
2. Allan, 28.62, $1,589
3. Douglas-Hoburg, 28.76, $1,060
4. Burgess, 28.82, $530
1. llan, 57.38, $5,007
2. Gartner, 57.40, $4,292
3. Douglas-Hoburg, 57.49, $3,576
4. Bangart, 57.99, $3,100
5. Sheehan, 58.15, $2,384
6. Burgess, 58.32, $1,907
7. Telford, 58.36, $1,431
8. Scott, 58.39, $954
9. Goemmer, 58.43, $715
10. Gibson, 58.64, $477
Total Money Won
1. Jordan Minor, 2.4 seconds, $905
2. Kiley Duby, 2.9, $749
3. Janey Reeves, 3.0, $515
4. Lauren Leyva, 3.0, $515
5. Macy Fuller, 3.2, $281
6. Kayla Bland, 3.3, $78
7. Jamie Marts, 3.3, $78
Courtesy of WPRA