by Johna Cravens
for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
FORT WORTH, Texas — Mary Walker of Ennis, Texas, and her horse Latte love barrel racing at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Walker, the 2012 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) World Champion, has won her share of prize money at the legendary Will Rogers Coliseum during the World’s Original Indoor Rodeo, but she has owned the Fort Worth Super Shootout®, presented by Schaefer.
Since the event began three years ago, Walker and Latte (registered name Perculatin) have won the $10,000 barrel racing championship every time. Considering that the tournament-style event requires two runs – one in the qualifying round to be among the top four and move on to the championship round and another run less than 30 minutes later for the $10,000 championship, the feat is even more remarkable.
Barrel racing horses generally make one run per rodeo performance. As announcer Pam Minick remarked, “It’s like asking American Pharaoh to run two Kentucky Derbys in the same day.” But the challenge suits Walker who considers Fort Worth to be her hometown rodeo.
“I drove here in my Dodge truck and my one-horse trailer,” she said. “I love Fort Worth. We only live an hour from here. You guys are an amazing crowd.” Minick asked Walker when she would compete again at Fort Worth. Walker answered “Friday night” and then asked the crowd to “really scream and holler tomorrow night.”
Walker had the fastest time in the qualifying round – a 16.699, and that gave her the opportunity to choose which runner she would be in the championship round. She chose to run first, which gave her the best ground conditions in the finals. Her time in the finals was 16.628, 71 one-hundredths of a second faster than her first run.
“Latte’s usually always better on his second run,” she said, adding that shootout rodeos are “a lot of fun. ”Of her three-peat, Walker said, “I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. Three times in a row – that’s hard to do.” Walker was part of the team representing the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.
Thursday’s event featured champions from each of eight legendary rodeos, including Cheyenne, the Calgary Stampede, Rodeo Houston, the Reno Rodeo, the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo, Rodeo Austin, the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo in Denver, Colo., and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo®. The champions competed in bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing and bull riding in a tournament format with each rodeo’s team wearing the same colored shirt for easy identification.
First, eight contestants competed in each event, with the top four qualifying for a second round where the winner received a briefcase with $10,000 cash inside. Many of the contestants were current or former world champions and National Finals Rodeo qualifiers and much of the livestock was among the elite in pro rodeo.
For the second year in a row, Rodeo Houston won the team championship. This year’s win was on the strength of two event winners – bull rider Aaron Pass and saddle bronc rider Cody Wright.
Wright, the two-time world champion, faced a field that included two of his sons – 18-year-old Ryder, riding for Cheyenne, and 20-year-old Rusty, riding for Calgary. Cody Wright and Heith DeMoss both scored 86.5 points in the qualifying round. In the championship round, DeMoss tallied 86 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Resistol’s Top Hat, despite needing to make an extreme recovery after nearly bucking off on the third jump. Chuck Schmidt bested DeMoss by half a point on Andrews Rodeo’s Charlie’s Angel. Then Wright edged Schmidt by a half point on Andrews’ Fire Lane.
Pass dominated the bull riding. He was the only one to make a full eight-second ride in the qualifying round and he did it in fine fashion, scoring 88 points on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Tin Club. Since the slate was wiped clean before the championship round, all four riders had an equal chance to win the $10,000. Pass chose Andrews Pro Rodeo’s Mellow Yellow.
“I hadn’t been on him before, but I had seen him go,” Pass said. “I wanted a bull that would turn back right in the gate.” After his winning, 90-point ride, Pass added, “If I could, I’d get on him every day.”
In the bareback riding, both Tyler Nelson, representing Fort Worth, and Luke Creasy, riding for Calgary, scored 89.5 points in the final round. Nelson won the $10,000 by virtue of having the higher score in the qualifying round.
Trevor Knowles, representing Calgary, was both quick and consistent in the steer wrestling. He led the qualifying round with a 3.93-second run, then clocked a time of 4.00 to win the championship round.
Officials from the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo® presented each champion with a beautiful hand-tooled briefcase containing $10,000 cash immediately after his or her winning ride or run.
The winning team from Rodeo Houston each received an additional $1,000 and even those cowboys and cowgirls who did not make the championship round received $500 each.
The World’s Original Indoor Rodeo begins its 29-performance run at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Will Rogers Coliseum.
Results from the Fort Worth Super Shootout® presented by Schaefer, Thursday, January 21, 2016, at Will Rogers Coliseum:
Bareback riding: 1, Tyler Nelson, Team Fort Worth, 89.5 points on Shady Nights, $10,000. 2, Luke Creasy, Lovington, N.M., Team Calgary Stampede, 89.5, $3,800. 3, Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, Team National Western Stock Show & Rodeo (Denver, Colo.), 88.5, $2,000. 4, Tanner Aus, Granite Falls,, Minn., Team Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, 86, $1,200.
Steer Wrestling: 1, Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., Team Calgary Stampede, 4.00 seconds, $10,000. 2, Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., Team Cheyenne Frontier Days, 5.10, $3,800. 3, Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., Team San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo, 5.61, $2,000. 4, Baylor Roche, Tremonton, Utah, Team Fort Worth, 7.23, $1,200.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, Team Rodeo Houston, 87 points on Andrews Pro Rodeo’s Firelane, $10,000. 2, Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., Team Rodeo Austin, 86.5, $3,800. 3, Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., Team Reno Rodeo, 86, $2,000. 4, Ryder Wright, Milford, Utah, Team Cheyenne Frontier Days, 80.5, $1,200.
Barrel Racing: 1, Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, Team Cheyenne Frontier Days, 16.638 seconds, $10,000. 2, Kaley Bass, Kissimmee, Fla., Team Rodeo Houston, 16.924, $3,800. 3, Dena Kirkpatrick, Post, Texas, Team San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo, 17.379, $2,000. 4, Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga, Team Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, 22.086, $1,200.
Bull Riding: (one qualified ride in short round)1, Aaron Pass, Kaufman, Texas, Team Rodeo Houston, 90 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Mello Yellow. $10,000 (Only Pass made a qualified ride in the preliminary round.
Team Champion – Rodeo Houston, Houston, Texas
Team members Grant Denny (bareback riding); Seth Brockman (steer wrestling); Cody Wright, (saddle bronc riding); Kaley Bass, (barrel racing) and Aaron Pass (bull riding) each received a $1,000 team bonus.
Courtesy of PRCA