By Amy Wilson
Everything was on point tonight for Michele McLeod and Slick by Design. They made a beautiful run of 13.72 seconds to win Round 8 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
"Slick is feeling really good and running really hard. We're moving back up to the top of the ground and it couldn't have come at a better time," McLeod said after taking her victory lap. She also talked about the training her 8 year old black stallion has been getting, "Ron Ralls, a world champion horse trainer, has been working with Slick and has done a great job with his feet placement and just his overall attitude. I really give him a lot of credit."
PHOTO BY: Greg Westfall
McLeod also won the second round and has placed in two others. "It's an unbelievable finals; but best of all, I'm having fun. Slick's happy, he's healthy, and he's loving every night he comes here. And, I'm enjoying every minute of it," the Whitesboro, Texas barrel racer said. McLeod is also enjoying wearing her Montana Silversmiths buckle from her first ever round win at the Wrangler NFR, "I've been wearing it since round 3, so I'm not going to take it off."
PHOTO BY: Larry Smith
Although McLeod shares barrel horses with her daughters, Katelyn and Lindsey, at one point during the regular rodeo season, it was decided that she needed first priority to get qualified for the Wrangler NFR, "Actually, it was Katelyn that brought up the idea. She's the one that said I needed to take him [Slick] so I could make it here again." McLeod went on to describe her relationship with her daughters and their love for barrel racing, "It's unbelievable. It's a feeling I can't describe and it makes me so happy to have them competing and doing what they absolutely love like I do." When they are home, they all ride together, but this summer, Michele and Katelyn were on the road together. McLeod lit up as she said, "It was a ball. I'm blessed to have this life."
Sarah Rose McDonald
PHOTO BY: Greg Westfall
Another barrel racer who has talked before about being blessed to do what she loves is current WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer Fallon Taylor who finished second with a time of 13.81. Taylor Jacob continued her winning ways by clocking a 13.83 to place third. Fourth was split by Callie duPerier and Nancy Hunter for a pair of 13.87 times. duPerier continues to lead the average, and, Jana Bean claimed sixth for running a 13.88 in what turned out to be a fast round with nine sub-fourteen second runs. Lisa Lockhart was last out on the ground and tipped the first barrel which added five seconds to her 13.69. That dropped her to seventh in the average. Sarah Rose McDonald wasn't able to increase her lead in the WPRA World Standings however, because her 13.99 run didn't place in the money. She is currently third in the average as the race for the 2015 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer continues.