By Jolee Jordan
Fort Worth, Texas — Will Rogers Memorial Center has been kind to 2014 WPRA World Champion Fallon Taylor but she has never laid claim to the title here. Taylor grew up in Ponder but now lives in Collinsville, Texas, and the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (FWSSR) comes as close to being a hometown rodeo as she can get.
After winning a great paycheck in the first round, Taylor took a big step toward adding the FWSSR Championship to her already impressive resume after making an outstanding run on the opening day of the progressive round on Wednesday night. Riding Babyflo—and sporting a svelte new frame courtesy of a new, intense training regimen—Taylor stopped the clock at 16.35 seconds, the best run of the 2017 FWSSR by more than a tenth.
The field of 210 WPRA cowgirls has been cut down to the best 70 from the opening round. This progressive round comes fast and furious with two performances a day leading up to Saturday’s Championship Finals. Only the best 12 on two runs will advance to the final night.
Taylor competed on Wednesday night, the second of the seven performance progressive round. Her super fast time landed her atop the leaderboard for the second go as well as the average with room to spare in each category.
The track has been red hot since the second round began on Wednesday afternoon with Texas cowgirls —Sidney Forrest and Brooke Rix—running to the early lead in the matinee with runs of 16.52 and 16.54, respectively to also land among the top seven of the average.
On Thursday afternoon, the Melby gals returned to Fort Worth. Two-time WNFR competitor Jane had the best run of the perf, a 16.65 aboard Whitey to land sixth in both the go and the average. Daughter Cayla (Melby) Small was still on Gator, running a 16.78 to pair up with her 16.49 from round one to ensure she’ll be back for the Championships on Saturday. She’s currently fourth, right ahead of her mom.
Ram Columbia River Circuit Finals champion Kathy Grimes rose to the top of another lightning quick performance on Thursday night. Riding her home-grown champ, Izzy, Grimes stopped the clock right behind Taylor at 16.41 seconds. She moved to third in the average.
The progressive round continues with two performances on Friday and a final one on Saturday afternoon. Among the competitors who have not yet competed in the second go are WPRA World leaders Tiany Schuster, Jordan Moore and Kellie Collier as well as top contenders from go round one Jana Bean, Amberleigh Moore, Tammy Fischer, Michele McLeod and Meghan Johnson.
Results (Through 25 perfs)
1. Fallon Taylor, Flos Heiress, 16.35
2. Kathy Grimes, KG Justiceweexpected, 16.41
3. Sidney Forrest, So Epic, 16.52
4. Brooke Rix, Gypsy Hat Oh Fame, 16.54
5. Dena Kirkpatrick, Kates Always First, 16.56
6. Jane Melby, Docs Frosty Blue Bar, 16.65
7. Kim Schulze, Holy Moly Im Famous, 16.67
8. Kelly Yates, Fiestanozshezfamous, 16.69
9. Katie Pascoe, JR Naughty Jet, 16.73
10. tie Jaime Barrow, 16.77
11. tie Michelle Lummus, Mia Bugs Kid, 16.77
1. Taylor, 32.99
2. Forrest, 33.17
3. Grimes, 33.25
4. tie Cayla Small, Shameon U, 33.27
5. tie Stevi Hillman, Cuatro Fame, 33.27
6. Melby, 33.53
7. Rix, 33.56
8. Yates, 33.57
9. Pascoe, 33.64
10. Lummus, 33.64
11. Sadye Simpson, 33.64
12. tie Kirkpatrick, 33.67
13. tie Chapman, 33.67
14. tie Lacinda Rose, 33.67
Courtesy of WPRA