Sarah Rose McDonald

Greg Westfall

By Amy Wilson

There is a new WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings leader thanks to the Round 7 win at the WNFR. Sarah Rose McDonald turned in the fastest time of the night with a 13.67 to push her total earnings to $247,195. That's only about $213 over Lisa Lockhart. Plus, McDonald is third in the average since only two contestants are clean on seven runs, while Lockhart is fourth. It makes for an exciting race, especially since there is still the possibility for any contestant to win just over $145,000 with the top money that's up for grabs in three rounds and the average.

With all the numbers and possibilities, McDonald is taking it one night at a time, "My horse is working awesome. She feels good. She's running hard every night, and I'm just trying to go into each night with a clear mind." She has also gained some inspiration from the nightly contestant devotionals that take place in the warm-up tent. "There's a guy in the tent who gives the prayer sessions every night and he told us, ‘If you believe you can do it, then you can do it' so I've been trying to have that attitude."

Because the draw rotates every night, the barrels racers all get their turn at being at the top and bottom, which determines how long they much wait in line in the side alleyway. McDonald explained what it was like for her, "I started out on the bottom so I've just been inching up. The first night was definitely difficult sitting that whole time in the alleyway." Tonight, they were first out and McDonald could feel that Bling was ready, "Her whole body was shaking - she was ready to go. I got her to kind of push over in the alleyway and get a good angle to the first again, and I think that's our key in this pen."

Every night while taking her nine year old roan back to where she boards, McDonald watches all the runs. "Then I'll go back and watch my run a couple times to see if there's anything I can pick up that I did right or maybe something that I can try to fix for the next round," McDonald said.

She also keeps the same routine every night on Bling, and said, "She's gotten into the groove. She's running great, and it's just an amazing experience here."

photoCallie DuPerier
PHOTO BY: Larry Smith

In a round where number one and two in the average, Lisa Lockhart and Cassidy Kruse, hit barrels; Callie DuPerier capitalized on the opportunity to gain some ground. She finished second with a 13.87 and moved up to number one in the average. Michele McLeod turned in a time of 13.95 to pick up third place money. Jane Bean won her first check of the WNFR for placing fourth with a 14.01 second run. Jackie Ganter ran a 14.09 for the third time - rounds 1 and 2 she ran 14.09 which placed sixth each time. This time it ended up fifth, and Ganter is now second in the average. Deb Guelly earned her first check of the WNFR with a 14.17 which was sixth place money.