By Amy Wilson
How do you describe winning a round at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time? Jana Bean used the words “unbelievable” and “surreal” before saying, “It’s something I’ve dreamed about doing my whole life, since the time I was a little girl. It finally came through. Praise the Lord!”
The two time Wrangler NFR qualifier set the pace on Ima Royal Design “Hammer” with a 13.71 and it held for the Round 9 win. “He broke in there pretty hard. I felt like I might have got up the pen just a tick, and I got by first just a hair; but as hard as he was running, he came back really hard. He got around his second and third really nice – really fast. And he ran out real hard so I was very pleased with him,” Bean said about the 8 year old gelding’s performance.
Bean didn’t pick up a check until the seventh round, but since then she has made clean, faster runs, “I seem to sometimes start slow and finish strong. I don’t really know that I like my pattern,” she said laughing. Then Bean said, “But I’m enjoying it right now. I’m very blessed and thankful to have this opportunity.”
Bean is also grateful to be riding Hammer, who belongs to Rick and Terry Ford. “I was super blessed when they called and asked me if I wanted to ride Hammer. It’s just kind of been a God-thing,” Jana said of the partnership that started the end of May. In addition to a great horse and his owners who have become true friends with Bean, she also has her family to thank, “My family is so supportive and always behind me. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
That support helped Bean throughout the year as she competed at nearly three times more rodeos during the regular season than some of the other WNFR qualifiers. Bean described the road to get to the Thomas and Mack by saying, “It is probably one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. There are lots of ups, lots of downs…maybe sometimes more downs than ups. You just have to remember what your goal was when you started, and through those hard times you just have to try to stay strong and keep your faith.”
Fourteen other barrel racers achieved their goal of qualifying for the WNFR this year; and tomorrow, one will realize a dream come true as the 2015 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer will be decided. The ninth round shook things up as Sarah Rose McDonald tipped a barrel. Michele McLeod ran a 13.85 to earn second place. She is currently fourth in the world standings and average. Lisa Lockhart reclaimed the world standings lead after running a 13.86 for a third place check. She is sixth in the average. Vickie Carter was 13.88 to place fourth. Cassidy Kruse got back in the money after four rounds of not getting a check. She ran a 13.91 which was good enough for fifth. She is third in the average. Current World Champion, Fallon Taylor slipped into sixth with a 13.96. And although Callie DePerier and Jackie Ganter didn’t place in the money, they are number one and two in the average going into the final round.
Courtesy of PRCA