Houston 2015-Hunter, Taylor Advance to Final Round in Houston With Semifinal Wins

 

photo

Nancy Hunter

PHOTO CREDIT
RodeoHouston

By Jolee Lautaret-Jordan


Houston, Texas— The competitors at the 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and RodeoHouston® are inching their way closer to the big money as the rodeo winds to its conclusion on Saturday, March 21.

After two nights of Semi-Final action, the field for the Championship on Saturday is nearly set with just two positions left to fill from Friday night’s Wild Card Round.

The competition for advancement continues to be tough with mere hundredths of a second determining thousands of dollars in the competitors’ pockets.

Semi-Finals Recap
On night one, Tuesday, March 18, it was a familiar face atop the leaderboard in Semi-Final #1. Utah cowgirl Nancy Hunter and her horse Flit N Fizz, aka Fuzz, have won two straight titles inside NRG Stadium, better than $100,000 in two years of competition in Houston.

Giving herself the chance at a very rare three-peat, Hunter won the first Semi-Final with a run of 14.41 seconds. She has won $5,900 so far in Houston.

Oregon cowgirl Brenda Mays came in second, just behind Hunter. Riding Judge My Fame, aka Dora, Mays stopped the clock at 14.46 seconds, just one one-hundredth of a second better than Sammi Bessert. The Colorado cowgirl and Terrible Tommy Twist were third with their 14.47 second run.

Rounding out the qualifiers from Semi-Final #1 is Callie DuPerier. The Texas cowgirl is competing in her first RodeoHouston and is making the most of the experience. Her 14.57 second run aboard Rare Dillion, the arena record holder in NRG Stadium back when Carlee Pierce was his jockey, moved DuPerier into the finals in the final qualifying spot. She has already banked $7,850 at RodeoHouston.

The times got a little faster 24 hours later in Semi-Final #2 with another former champion of RodeoHouston taking the win. Reigning WPRA World Champion Fallon Taylor and her little red rocket, Babyflo came up with their fastest time of the 2015 rodeo, a 14.29 for the win. Already ranked third in the WPRA World standings once again, Taylor has won $5,700 at RodeoHouston.

One of the biggest winners of RodeoHouston thus far, Florida cowgirl Kaley Bass, ran into second place with Wonders Cowboy Dan; the duo has won $8,600. Their time of 14.33 put them second, just eight one-hundredths ahead of Laura Kennedy. The Arkansas cowgirl and Tall Boy, who is registered Hopes Money Boy, ran a 14.41, by far their fastest run of the rodeo to advance to Saturday’s finals.

Taking the final qualifying hole is the Reserve Champion of this rodeo and the World, Lisa Lockhart. Riding the ever consistent Louie, Lockhart posted a time of 14.44 seconds to finish fourth and give herself chance to win RodeoHouston. She has won $8,800, best of all the Championship qualifiers thus far.

Interestingly, three of the four Semi-Finalist to advance from Super Series IV (Hunter, Mays, Bass) have moved into the Championships with two coming from Super Series V and one apiece from the other three sets. Five of the eight have been to at least one Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

The Championship will be a two-run competition between the 10 finalists. The four fastest from the opening round will come back within the same performance—likely less than an hour later—with one final, sudden death round for the huge $50,000 paycheck.

Wild Card Round Preview
Without a doubt, two of the most dangerous competitors in the Wild Card Round are the two ladies who finished fifth in their respective Semi-Finals competition.

Four-time WPRA World Champion Sherry Cervi was edged out in Semi-Final #1 by just one one-hundredth of a second. She has won this rodeo four times in the past, riding three different horses. She is annually among the final four competitors on the final night of the rodeo and finished third a year ago.

Cervi advanced to the Championships last year from the Wild Card Round so she knows how to get it done under pressure.

WPRA World number one Sarah Rose McDonald is competing in her first RodeoHouston and missed advancement in Semi-Final #2 by just over a tenth of a second. Her mare Fame Fling N Bling has proven over and over in her first year of professional competition that she gets better the more times she gets to run in an arena so surely no one will be surprised to find her name at the top of the leaderboard on Friday night.

In addition, three of last year’s top 10 in Houston —Cervi, Sheena Robbins and Taylor Jacob—have a shot to move on again from the Wild Card Round.

The Wild Card Round begins Friday, March 20 at 6:45 p.m. CT with the Championships on Saturday, March 21 at 3:45 p.m. CT. Fans can watch live on-line via Fox Sports Southwest or listen on www.ProRodeoLive.com.

For more information and complete brackets, visit www.rodeohouston.com. Stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates.

Semi-Finals #1, March 18
Name (Super Series) / Horse / Semi-Final Time / Total Money Won
Nancy Hunter (IV) / Flit N Fizz / 14.41 / $5,900
Brenda Mays (IV) / Judge My Fame / 14.46 / $5,000
Sammi Bessert (II) / Terrible Tommy Twist / 14.47 / $4,100
Callie Duperier (III) / Rare Dillion / 14.57 / $7,850

photoFallon Taylor
PHOTO BY: RodeoHouston

Semi-Finals #2, March 19

Name (Super Series) / Horse / Semi-Final Time / Total Money Won
Fallon Taylor (V) / Flos Heiress / 14.29 / $5,700
Kaley Bass (IV) / Wonders Cowboy Dan / 14.33 / $8,600
Laura Kennedy (I) / Hopes Money Boy / 14.41 / $2,100
Lisa Lockhart (V) / An Okie with Cash / 14.44 / $8,800

Wild Card Round, March 20
Britany Diaz (I), Dasher Dude, $8,700
Sherry Cervi (III), MP Meter My Hay, $5,450
Liz Herrin (II), Bogies Lil Skeeter, $4,200
Taylor Jacob (I), Honor Thy Frenchman, $4,200
Samantha Lyne (V), Last Sugar Jewel, $4,150
Steff Mather (II), Siksikas Buck, $3,700
Victoria Williams (III), Fantasia Fame, $3,500
Sarah Rose McDonald (II), Fame Fling N Bling, $3,300
Sheena Robbins (V), Bar D Mr Dual Olena, $3,200
Dena Kirkpatrick (IV), Kates Always First, $3,000
Mary Walker (III), Perculatin, $2,400
Kenna Squires (I), Dashing Trace, $2,000

 

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