By Jolee Jordan
Reno, Nevada — Two years ago, Christine Laughlin came to the Reno Rodeo for the first time in her career ranked just inside the top 30 in the WPRA World standings. Three runs later, the Pueblo, Colo., cowgirl walked away with a pair of silver spurs and just over $13,000 as the Reno Rodeo Champion.
It was just the first crash in a tidal wave of wins for Laughlin that summer including the California Rodeo Salinas, the Dodge City Round-Up and the Ellensburg Rodeo. The end result was Laughlin’s first trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) that December in Las Vegas.
Laughlin came to Reno in 2016 surely looking to repeat history. After a pair of runs on Thursday, she is eerily close to the same position.
Riding Guys Six Pack to Go, a son of Frenchmans Guy out of the Packin Sixes mare, Scatter the Stars, Laughlin blew the doors off the field in the first go round with a smoking 17.11 second effort. She paired that run with a 17.28 on Thursday night to run out to a two-tenth-plus lead in the average, moving Jane Melby to second.
Melby had held the lead since the opening day of the 97th Annual Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West last Friday, June 17.
The Reno Rodeo runs in a back-to-back format; ladies get two runs, one in the morning slack and the second that same night in the performance. At the end of the first eight days, the fastest 12 cowgirls will run again in the short go on Saturday, June 25 for a chance to claim the coveted silver spurs annually given to the champion here.
The Thursday group proved to be the toughest yet with Laughlin, Stevi Hillman and Morgan Breaux all moving into the top 12 in the average and into money positions in the long rounds.
Hillman was the best of the performance on Thursday, stopping the clock at 17.06 for second in the go round and fifth in the average. Breaux moved into eighth in the first round in the morning and now sits on the bubble at 11th in the average.
Amberleigh Moore has been on a hot streak of late with her mare Paige who is registered CP Dark Moon; the Salem, Ore., cowgirl just finished sweeping two rodeos in her home circuit ten days ago; The wins in Sisters and Union, both in Oregon, jumped Moore into the top 50 of the WPRA World standings and out to a huge lead in the Columbia River Circuit.
Competing on Wednesday, Moore earned a spot in Saturday’s finals with runs of 17.46 and 17.33, respectively. She is currently sixth in the average.
The preliminary competition in Reno concludes on Friday with a tough set of ladies including the reigning Reserve Champ of the Reno Rodeo, and current WPRA second ranked lady Ivy Conrado. Also on deck are two-time World Champ Brittany Pozzi-Tonozzi, WNFR cowgirl Jana Bean and Rachel Dice, who is currently ninth in the WPRA World standings.
For more information on the Reno Rodeo, visit them on-line at www.renorodeo.com and stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates. All performances of the Reno Rodeo can be viewed live on The Wrangler Network.
1. Christine Laughlin, Guys Six Pack to Go, 17.11
2. Jane Melby, Brookstone Jo, 17.41
3. Sherry Cervi, Dash ta Diamonds, 17.44
4. Pam Capper, Sheza Smooth Flight, 17.44
5. Amberleigh Moore, CPDark Moon, 17.46
6. Cayla Melby, Shameon U, 17.47
7. Kelly Tovar, BB French Fooledya, 17.49
8. Morgan Breaux, SS Streakers R Us, 17.49
9. Kellie Collier, Streakin Easy April, 17.50
10. Vickie Carter, Lil Pep of Gold, 17.51
1. Kris Gadbois, CRCS Regaldash, 17.04
2. Stevi Hillman, Cuatro Fame, 17.06
3. Jane Melby, 17.13
4. Darby Fox, Easy French Alibi, 17.17
5. Kimmie Wall, TKW Bullys Famous Fox, 17.17
6. Taylor Jacob, Honor Thy Frenchman, 17.18
7. Katelyn McLeod, Apt to Be Special, 17.25
8. Laughlin, 17.28
9. Moore, 17.33
10. Tillar Murray, Lil Gracie Dude, 17.35
1. Laughlin, 34.29
2. Jane Melby, 34.54
3. Wall, 34.70
4. Gadbois, 34.74
5. Hillman, 34.76
6. Moore, 34.79
7. Jacob, 34.80
8. Katelyn McLeod, 34.96
9. Capper, 34.96
10. Tovar, 34.99
11. Breaux, 34.99
12. Carter, 35.01