By Jolee Lautaret-Jordan
Waco, Texas — The 2015 All American Pro Rodeo Finals took on the persona of the Wild West during the middle bracket of competition on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, October 13-14. The WPRA barrel race was definitely a shoot-out.
Only 30 ladies have qualified to compete in Waco, Texas, spots earned by virtue of finishing the season on top of the All American Tour standings and having competed at a minimum of 30 All American rodeos. The All American Tour includes all PRCA/WPRA rodeos with less than $30,000 in total purse.
The competitors are divided into pools of ten each and are given two preliminary rounds. With no averages kept or paid, advancement from each pool is based entirely upon the two round payoffs. The top three money winners from each pool go on to the semi-finals on Saturday, October 17.
The final night of the rodeo will be two rounds: the nine qualifiers from pool competition will make one run with the four fastest advancing to the finals. With the slate wiped clean once again, the Champion will be the cowgirl to run the fastest run in the final round of four.
Pool B began with a bang on Tuesday when 2015 rookie Tillar Murray tied for the fastest run of the rodeo thus far as the first runner out. Ironically, she tied fellow 2015 rookie Katelyn McLeod, who posted an identical 16.04 second run in round two of Pool A. Murray and horse Tic Tac would not be moved from the top of the leaderboard, earning the first place money.
Fellow Texan Andrea Cline was second while Georgia’s Michelle Lummus took third. Ashley Baur of Iowa won the final check of the night.
Round two on Wednesday began with another fast run, posted this time by Floridian Megan Swint. Swint and her mare Sissy stopped the clock at a wicked 16.05. While the other nine cowgirls came running, no one could best the time, handing Swint the victory for round two.
Meghan Johnson took second with Kelly Clifton and Lummus rounding out the money winners for the night.
The Heart O’Texas Fair and Rodeo is the host to the All American Finals and the fair crowd witnessed a shoot-out for advancement from Pool B. Seven different cowgirls claimed the eight available checks in pool competition. Only Lummus was able to etch her name onto more than one check, earning third in round one and fourth in round two.
Only three cowgirls can advance so round winners Murray and Swint automatically moved on but there was a three way tie for the third and final spot in the semi-finals. Cline, Lummus and Meghan Johnson had each earned $2,084 but the spot on Saturday went to Cline via the tie breaker. She finished 12th in the regular season standings for the All American, higher than either of the two cowgirls with whom she tied.
Preliminary competition wraps up with Pool C, held Thursday and Friday nights. Among the scheduled competitors for the final pool are leading 2015 rookie Jackie Ganter, two-time World Champion Brittany Pozzi and 2012 WPRA World Champion—and All American Finals Champ—Mary Walker.
1. Tillar Murray, Lil Gracie Dude, 16.04, $2,779
2. Andrea Cline, Stitches Streakin Fame, 16.08, $2,084
3. Michelle Lummus, Mia Bugs Kid, 16.36, $1,389
4. Ashley Baur, Love Mans Darling, 16.37, $695
1. Megan Swint, Bar Bee Stealing Sue, 16.05, $2,779
2. Meghan Johnson, Sister (registered name unavailable), 16.20, $2,084
3. Kelly Clifton, 16.28, $1,389
4. Lummus, 16.29, $695
Courtesy of WPRA