By Amy Wilson
It was great timing for Michele McLeod to win Round 4 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo because it’s her daughter Katelyn’s 24th birthday. “We’re going to celebrate! She really wanted me to win the round so it worked out, and I’m so excited because she’s been here the last four years on her birthday and it’s finally nice to celebrate on her birthday,” McLeod said after running the fastest time (13.49) of the Wrangler NFR so far. The win was worth $26,231 and it just so happens that earlier in the day, Katelyn had picked out a Polaris Ranger she wanted for her birthday.
“Yeah, I don’t know if that will come about…but maybe,” McLeod said laughing. “She can at least keep dreaming about it!”
McLeod’s dreams are coming true thanks in part to the 9 year old black stallion, Slick by Design. Typically hauling a stallion presents challenges, but Slick might be the exception to that. “It doesn’t seem to affect him, but a stud in general, I have to pay attention to everybody else and the surroundings,” McLeod said. “It does make it a little bit of a challenge, but I’m fortunate and lucky he’s so good.”
Plus, he’s producing what the McLeod’s hope are superstar barrel horses. “I’m really excited about his first baby, she’s 3 turning 4, and runs at the juvenile in Oklahoma City this week with my daughter Lindsey. Her name is Slick Sally, and we’re extremely excited about her,” McLeod said. Of course the McLeod family will be gathered around a computer on Tuesday watching Lindsey, the 2014 National High School Rodeo Association Barrel Racing Champion, and Slick Sally run at the Barrel Futurities of America.
McLeod is grateful for her family, Slick, and turning things around at this year’s Wrangler NFR. “I’ve been struggling a little bit. The other years I’ve been back here, I haven’t struggled as much so I was kind of wondering what was going on. Then I told myself to quit overthinking it, and just go to work,” the four time Wrangler NFR qualifier said. She did warm Slick up differently, “I kind of grabbed him up and made him do some rollbacks on the fence to make him pick his feet up a little bit. Obviously it helped. He was awesome tonight!”
The ground conditions have made it possible for Slick, and the field of other great barrel horses, to clock impressive times. “I really think there is a good chance one of us could set a new arena record before this is all over. All of these fabulous horses are working so good and the ground is holding them so they can. It just makes it so exciting for us to compete like this, and I think it makes for an especially exciting race for the fans to watch,” McLeod remarked.
Sarah Rose McDonald and Bling ran 13.56 seconds to finish second in Round 4. Lisa Lockhart and Louie earned third place with 13.58 seconds. Lockhart leads the average and is second in the WPRA World Standings with $170,321 behind Mary Burger’s $209,438. Jana Bean and Amerleigh Moore split fourth with times of 13.66 seconds. Moore has been consistent by either placing 4th or 5th in every round. Burger claimed 6th place with 13.74 seconds.
Courtesy of WPRA