By Jolee Lautaret
Logandale, Nevada — Out of a field of 11 competitors, Lisa Lockhart was the only cowgirl competing in Sunday, April 12's Wrangler Champions Challenge (WCC) presented by Justin Boots event in Logandale, Nev., who did not also compete in the Clark County Fair and Rodeo held in the four days prior to the event in the same arena.
Lockhart had been scheduled to compete in the slack four days earlier following the first performance on April 8 but was unable to make her appearance in southern Nevada until the WCC event. Clearly, a fresh look was just the ticket for the 2014 Reserve WPRA World Champ and her wonder horse Louie.
Running 10th on the ground, Lockhart posted the fastest time of the entire weekend at 16.89 seconds, just the second sub-seventeen pattern turned in out of well over 100 runs between the CCFR and accompanying WCC. Texas rookie Jackie Ganter won the rodeo with a 16.91.
Lockhart's run was certainly not without drama. There was a delay as the South Dakota cowgirl jockeyed her buckskin partner who is registered with the name An Okie with Cash with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) into position to begin the run. Once inside the arena, Lockhart blistered around the first barrel but then tipped the second precariously. It hung, half turned over, as Lockhart and Louie continued to the third and final can before finally settling back into position.
For Lockhart the win marked two consecutive victories on the WCC series this year following her win in Scottsdale (Ariz.) at the end of February. The reigning champion of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is off to her usual tough start to the year after also placing second at RodeoHouston a few weeks back. She has earned nearly $50,000 this winter already, landing her third in the WPRA World standings.
Lockhart has made full use of her position within the WCC events—seven spots are guaranteed to the top seven competitors from the 2014 rodeo season—placing at all three in which she competed. She's won $13,920 at the events in Rapid City (S.D.), where she finished third, and for the two wins in Arizona and Nevada.
Reigning WPRA World Champion Fallon Taylor led for much of the event, posting a 17.07 as the third runner on the ground. She finished second to Lockhart aboard Babyflo, aka Flos Heiress. Fellow WPRA World Champ Mary Walker was third with her 17.11 second effort on her great gelding Latte, just edging Carlee Pierce and Streakin Easy April, aka Lolo. The three-time Wrangler NFR qualifier stopped the clock in 17.14 seconds for fourth.
Pierce's efforts as part of the Pendleton Whisky team helped them secure the win in Logandale by just about $400 over Justin Boots. Walker competes on the Justin Boots team.
Another cowgirl making the most of her time on the WCC tour is Callie Du Perier. The Texas talent and her horse Rare Dillion ran last on the ground in Logandale, turning in a 17.23 second run that was good enough for fifth. Du Perier won the WCC event in Kissimmee last fall and has earned $11,220 on the tour this season already.
Du Perier earned her spot at the WCC via the two positions available to current WPRA World standings leaders, based upon standings 30 days prior to the event. To round out the field of 11, the top two cowgirls in the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour standings are also invited.
Du Perier just held off Michele McLeod for the final money hole with McLeod running a 17.25. McLeod had been the only cowgirl to place in all of the first three stops on the 2015 WCC tour.
The WCC's next stop is May 16 in Redding, Calif. All events are broadcast on CBS Sports Network; check www.prorodeo.com/prorodeo/tours-circuits/champions-challenge for complete details.
Clark County Fair and Rodeo Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots
1. Lisa Lockhart, An Okie with Cash, 16.89 seconds, $5,440
2. Fallon Taylor, Flos Heiress, 17.07, $4160
3. Mary Walker, Perculatin, 17.11, $3,040
4. Carlee Pierce, Streakin Easy April, 17.14, $2,080
5. Callie Duperier, Rare Dillion, 17.23, $1,280