Ryann Pedone will forever remember her trip to the 2020 Gold Buckle Beer ProRodeo Tour Finale in Rapid City, S.D. From the tipped barrel that stayed up in the first round, that eventually led to the championship title and enough money to punch her ticket to her first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo it was a memorable trip for sure.
Entering the final week of the 2020 regular season the Sunset, Texas, cowgirl was ranked 16th and in the crying hole for the NFR but when the dust settled in Rapid City it was all happy tears for a lady that has spent most of her career being a top futurity trainer.
“I am so overwhelmed with so many emotions, however the largest one being gratefulness,” noted a very emotional Pedone following the big win. “I just can’t believe it really happened.
“A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever.”
Pedone got things underway on opening night, Tuesday, September 22, stopping the clock in 16.21 seconds which would eventually land her in a tie for seventh and $235. Things got really fast in the second round, so her time of 16.30 seconds would not get her to the pay window but was enough to land her in the top 8 in the average with a total time of 32.51 seconds, good for another $201. Then came the semifinals on Saturday, September 26, knowing she needed to win at the very minimum another $1,400 to have any chance at the NFR.
With the pressure on, she was the second barrel racer out in the semifinals and stopped the clock in 16.16 seconds, which shot to the top of the leaderboard. Pedone had to sweat out the other six that included three Horse of the Year champions, to see if her time would advance her to the all important Finals.
Dona Kay Rule and High Valor continued their dominance in the Rapid City pen winning the semis in a time of 16.06 seconds. 2017 WPRA World Champion Nellie Miller and her horse Sister finished second in a time of 16.08 seconds and two-time WPRA World Champion Hailey Kinsel and her mount Sister would finish third in a time of 16.15 seconds.
Pedone’s time would hang on for fourth and another $1,000, still needing another check to secure her spot inside the Top 15. It was a quick turnaround for the Final round but that seemed to play perfectly into Pedone’s and her great stallion Feel The Sting “Stinger,” game changing plan.
In the Finals, Rule and Valor were first out setting the bar with a 16.09-second run. Pedone and Stinger were next and they blew the doors off the building stopping the clock in 15.97 seconds. Kinsel and Sister were next stopping the clock in 16.10 seconds. The final barrel racer was Miller and Sister and they finished in 16.09 seconds, giving Pedone the title and more importantly the $4,500 first place payout.
Unofficially Pedone finished the season with $42,581, which moves her to 11th in the world standings pending the conclusion of the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo in Stephenville, Texas, on September 27.
Brittney Barnett, who entered the final week ranked 15th in the world, was also in Rapid City and a downed barrel in the semifinals kept her out of the final round. However, she was able to add $1,608 in previous rounds and average to move to 14th with $39,565 and appears to be heading to her first Wrangler NFR.
Wenda Johnson, who is also looking for her first Wrangler NFR berth, was not in Rapid City but is currently sitting fourth in Stephenville. So it appears she will also be heading to Arlington but will have to wait to see in what position.
The Tour Finale didn’t go as planned for Jessie Telford and appears to have been bumped currently to the 16th hole. The WPRA office will have final tallies on Monday once all rodeos over the weekend have been paid out. Stay tuned as the bubble watch continues.
Barrel racing: First round: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 15.94 seconds, $2,010; 2. Michelle Alley, 16.00, $1,541; 3. Hailey Kinsel, 16.03, $1,139; 4. (tie) Nellie Miller and Megan Champion, 16.06, $603 each; 6. Cindy Smith, 16.14, $335; 7. (tie) Shelley Morgan and Ryann Pedone, 16.21, $235 each. Second round: 1. Tiany Schuster, 15.97 seconds, $2,010; 2. Dona Kay Rule, 16.00, $1,541; 3. Brittney Barnett, 16.06, $1,139; 4. Hailey Kinsel, 16.07, $737; 5. Shali Lord, 16.14, $469; 6. Ashley Castleberry, 16.17, $335; 7. (tie) Nellie Miller and Lacinda Rose, 16.20, $235 each. Average leaders: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 31.94 seconds on two runs, $2,010; 2. Hailey Kinsel, 32.10, $1,541; 3. Michelle Alley, 32.24, $1,139; 4. Nellie Miller, 32.26, $737; 5. Brittney Barnett, 32.42, $469; 6. (tie) Shelley Morgan, and Tiany Schuster, 32.45, $301 each; 8. Ryann Pedone, 32.51, $201. Semifinals: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 16.06 seconds, $4,000; 2. Nellie Miller, 16.08, $3,000; 3. Hailey Kinsel, 16.15, $2,000; 4. Ryann Pedone, 16.16, $1,000. Finals: 1. Ryann Pedone, 15.97 seconds, $4,500; 2. (tie) Dona Kay Rule and Nellie Miller, 16.09, $1,500 each.
Courtesy of WPRA