By Amy Wilson
Although Amberleigh Moore came into her first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo ranked 15th, she will go into Round 10 as No. 2 in the WPRA Barrel Racing World standings with the possibility of winning the World Championship.
She and her phenomenal mare, CP Dark Moon “Paige”, won Round 9 – their third Wrangler NFR round win. “Coming down the alleyway tonight, she was feeling pretty cocky. Every time I come down there she’s getting more and more confident and more full of herself, and I told my handler, ‘Oh boy, here we go again!’ And she came flying in that arena,” Moore said about the 7 year old mare.
What made the run of 13.49 seconds even more impressive is that Moore and Paige ran in the 14th position. “That ground didn’t even faze her one little bit,” Moore said complimenting the ground condition. “I just rode a little bit harder and deeper on those turns.”
Because of the size of the Thomas and Mack arena and the pattern, it was expected to be a great and fun fit for Paige. “Before I came down here, everybody had called this ‘Paige’s playpen,’” Moore recalled. “And definitely after she got her groove and figured out where her feet were on the first few rounds, it’s now Paige’s Playpen.”
Moore is appreciative of the foundation Cody Hyde put on Paige, and all the horses he trains. “He puts such a solid foundation on the barrel pattern that every time you walk in that arena, you know they’re going to do the same job. Paige isn’t the only one in my barn that acts that way thanks to Cody,” Moore said as she talked about how she sends all her colts to him for 35-40 days.
Without a doubt, Paige is an extra-special horse that has turned Moore’s dreams into reality. “I think all little girls dream of running at the NFR, but the reality of it is that it takes the right horse to bring you on the path that gets you here. I was just blessed enough to have Paige come into my life three years ago, and look where it brought me,” Moore said with a big smile.
Cayla (Melby) Small and Stevi Hillman also fulfilled their dreams of making the Wrangler NFR this year, and they both ran their fastest times so far. Small, who is the 2016 WPRA Barrel Racing Rookie of the Year, placed second in Round 9 with a run of 13.54. Stevi Hillman claimed third with 13.59 seconds. Jackie Ganter stopped the clock at 13.66 to earn fourth place. Ivy Conrado was fifth with a run of 13.68, and Kimmie Wall was 13.61 to finish sixth.
Current WPRA World Standings leader, Mary Burger tipped the third barrel which puts her seventh in the average going into Round 10. Burger has a $59,024 lead over Moore, who is second in the average and second in the WPRA World Standings. Lisa Lockhart continues to lead the average with 9 clean runs.
Tune in Saturday night on CBS Sports Network to see if Moore came move from No. 15 to 1st.
Courtesy of WPRA