By Jolee Lautaret-Jordan
Austin, Texas—With the conclusion of RodeoHouston on Saturday, March 21, rodeo competitors have just one big winter stock show left on the schedule before competition heads outdoors and West.
The final stop is Rodeo Austin with its $532,000 total purse. Following in the footsteps of the Calgary Stampede, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and RodeoHouston, Rodeo Austin changed to a tournament format for the first time in 2015.
The Ride for the Brand Cowboy Tournament™ allows for 80 competitors in each event, divided evenly into 10 performances. Each performance pays out four places and those money winners advance to the Playoff Rounds to be held March 24-27.
Ten cowgirls in the WPRA barrel racing will run in each of the four Playoff Rounds where no previous times or earnings carry forward. Again, money is paid out to four places but just two cowgirls—the two fastest--move on to the Finals to be held Saturday, March 28.
The eight-contestant finals is a sudden death race for the title of Rodeo Austin Champion and the accompanying $7,520 paycheck. The winner will also receive a Rodeo Austin branding iron.
Through the 10 preliminary rounds, the fastest time has been posted by Liz Herrin. Fresh off a win in her Super Series at RodeoHouston, Herrin and Bogies Lil Skeeter blasted through the course inside the Travis County Expo Center in a smoking 15.17 seconds to win Group 3 on March 16.
California cowgirl Rachel Dice and Tivitosatthegogobar, aka Katie, clocked in the second best time, a 15.27 seconds to win Group 6 on March 19 while Carley Richardson and Doda Flit, aka Radio, won Group 1 on the opening night of Rodeo Austin with a 15.29 second run.
Other Group winners include: Group 2, Michele McLeod (15.40); Group 4, Brooke Rix (15.48); Group 5, Kim Schulze (15.48); Group 7, Kendra Dickson (15.62); Group 8, Kenna Squires (15.53); Group 9, Alicia Stockton (15.53); and Group 10, Sherry Cervi (15.42).
Richardson will compete in the opening Playoff Round on Tuesday, March 24 along with Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers Christine Laughlin, Britany Diaz, and 2014 WPRA World Champion Fallon Taylor. Fifth ranked Callie DuPerier will also be in the mix.
Four-time WPRA World Champion Cervi will compete in the second Playoff on Wednesday, March 25 along with the new host of Women's Pro Rodeo Today on RFD-TV Kendra Dickson, and 2014 Wrangler NFR qualifier Samantha Lyne. Reigning Ram Mountain States Circuit Champ CJ Vondette and 20th ranked Shelby Herrmann are also in the draw for Wednesday.
Dice leads the way in the third Playoff to be held Thursday, March 26. She will compete alongside Wrangler NFR qualifiers McLeod, Sabrina Ketcham, Cassie Moseley and Martha Wright.
Herrin will run in the final Playoff on Friday, March 27. She will battle with Wrangler NFR qualifiers Taylor Jacob and Trula Churchill as well as perennial top 25 cowgirls Sammi Bessert and Kenna Squires. Alexa Lake, who is the highest ranked cowgirl entered here at fourth in the current WPRA World standings, will also compete on the final night of Playoff competition.
For more information and complete brackets, visit Rodeo Austin on-line at www.rodeoaustin.com and stay tuned www.wpra.com for continuing updates.
1. Carley Richardson, 15.29 seconds, $1,409
2. Sabrina Ketcham, 15.46, $705
3. Sammi Bessert, 15.54, $471
4. C.J. Vondette, 15.55, $376
1. Michele McLeod, 15.40 seconds, $1,409
2. Alexa Lake, 15.42, $705
3. (tie) Callie DuPerier and Kelley Carrington, 15.43, $423 each
1. Liz Herrin, 15.17 seconds, $1,410
2. Shelby Herrmann, 15.59, $705
3. Ivy Hurst, 15.63, $470
4. Lindsay Kruse, 15.99, $376
1. Brooke Rix, 15.48 seconds, $1,410
2. Brittany Diaz, 15.69, $705
3. Taylor Jacob, 15.72; $470
4. Abby Pursifull, 15.98, $376
1. Kim Schulze, 15.48 seconds, $1,410
2. Megan Williams, 15.55, $705
3. Emily Efurd, 15.60, $470
4. Lizzy Ehr, 15.86, $376
1. Rachel Dice, 15.27 seconds, $1,544
2. Chloe Hoovestal, 15.56, $772
3. Teresa Turbeville, 15.82, $516
4. Jana Riley, 20.55, $412
1. Kendra Dickson, 15.62 seconds, $1,410
2. Jaime Hinton, 15.82, $705
3. Cheyenne Kelly, 15.94, $470
4. Martha Wright, 16.13, $376
1. Kenna Squires, 15.53 seconds, $1,275;
2. Nicole Laurence, 15.73, $638
3. Cassie Moseley, 15.81, $42
4. Kimmi Byler, 16.19, $340
1. Alicia Stockton, 15.53 seconds, $1,410
2. Fallon Taylor, 15.57, $705
3. Trula Churchill, 15.65, $470
4. Samantha Lyne, 19.62, $376
1. Sherry Cervi, 15.42 seconds, $1,410
2. Stacey Grimes, 15.74, $705
3. Kyndal McCown, 15.89, $470
4. Kriss Griffin, 15.95, $376