Greg Westfall

By Jolee Lautaret

Denver, CO — The biggest winner at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in 2015 celebrated the biggest win of her young career. Two-time College National Finals National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) qualifier Meghan Johnson was the very first barrel racer of the 2015 NWSS and jumped out to a big lead. She never relented across 19 performances and 10 days.

Johnson and her great mare Nellie Laveaux were undefeated going into the short go round held on January 25, sweeping the first two go round wins for nearly $7,000 in earnings and a four tenths of a second lead over Texas cowgirl Shelby Herrmann. She ran the fastest time of the whole rodeo in the second round, a 15.14 second effort that was eleven one-hundredths faster than her first run. That run, a 15.25 seconds run, was the second best of the rodeo.

Admitting to being a "tad bit nervous," Johnson finnished fourth in the short round, clocking in at 15.56 seconds to claim the average win and total earnings of $12,664, better than any other single event winner in Denver. Her three run total of 45.95 was nearly two tenths better than the rest of the field.

"I can breathe now," Johnson said.

Too bad the cowgirl didn"t get to celebrate the win.

"I wish!" laughed Johnson, who is sponsored by Hughes Farm and Ranch Supply, Hi Pro Feeds and BioCare Supplements. "I have class in the morning [Monday] so we"re driving home."

Johnson is an ag business major at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Her dad Bill Johnson helps her drive to her rodeos while she works on finishing up at school.

"Next up is Fort Worth on January 31," Johnson said. "I"m going to try to hit the road and finish school as much as I can!"

Meanwhile, Herrmann gave as good a chase as possible to Johnson, winning the short go round with a 15.34 second run. Herrmann finished second in the average to pocket $11,382.

Montana cowgirl Chloe Hoovestal won second in the final round with a run of 15.42 seconds. She rides Dox Jedo Honor, an eight year old gelding she calls Jed. Though Hoovestal did not place in the opening rounds, she moved all the way up to third in the average and earned $5,591 while in Denver.

Reigning WPRA World Champ Fallon Taylor put up $5,609 towards her title defense after running third in the short round and fourth in the average aboard her World Champion mare, Babyflo.

Final Results

1st Go
1. Meghan Johnson, Nellie Laveaux, 15.25 seconds, $3,436
2. Carlee Pierce, Streakin Easy April, 15.30, $2,946
3. Shelby Janssen, Hot Playboy Chick, 15.37, $2,455
4. Shelby Herrmann, TS Doc San Lena, 15.39, $2,127
5. Kathy Grimes, KG Justiceweexpected, 15.41, $1,636
6/7. Fallon Taylor, Flos Heiress, 15.43, $1,145
6/7. Hope Sickler, 15.43, $1,145
8. Kelley Schnaufer, Undeniable Jess, 15.44, $655
9. C.J. Vondette, 15.49, $491
10. Abby Pursifull, Pearl Snappin, 15.50, $327

2nd Go
1. Johnson, 15.14 seconds, $3,436
2. Lisa Lockhart, An Okie with Cash, 15.38, $2,946
3/4. Herrmann, 15.40, $2,291
3/4. Kim Couch, Easy French Alibi, 15.40, $2,291
5. Layna Kight, Eyesa So Famous, 15.44, $1,636
6. Kali Jo Parker, Tuneful, 15.45, $1,309
7. Taylor Jacob, Honor Thy Frenchman, 15.48, $982
8/9. Kelly Tovar, BB French Fooled Ya, 15.49, $573
8/9. Jill Tanner, 15.49, $573
10. Brooke Rix, Gypsy Hat Oh Fame, 15.50, $327

Final Go
1. Herrmann, 15.34, $2,546
2. Hoovestal, Dox Jedo Honor, 15.42, $1,909
3. Taylor, 15.50, $1,273
4. Johnson, 15.56, $636

1. Johnson, 45.95, $5,155
2. Herrmann, 46.13, $4,418
3. Hoovestal, 46.50, $3,682
4. Taylor, 46.54, $3,191
5. Grimes, 46.65, $2,455
6. Kight, 46.86, $1,964
7. Schnaufer, 46.89, $1,473
8. Sammi Bessert, Terrible Tommy Twist, 47.11, $982
9. Couch, 47.18, $736
10. Lockhart, 51.40, $491

Final Money Winners

Meghan Johnson, $12,664
Shelby Herrmann, $11,382
Fallon Taylor, $5,609
Chloe Hoovestal, $5,591
Kathy Grimes, $4,091
Layna Kight, $3,600
Lisa Lockhart, $3,436
Kim Couch, $3,027
Carlee Pierce, $2,945
Shelby Janssen, $2,455
Kelley Schnaufer, $2,127
Kali Jo Parker, $1,309
Hope Sickler, $1,145
Taylor Jacob, $982
Sammi Bessert, $982
Jill Tanner, $573
Kelly Tovar, $573
Brooke Rix, $327
C.J. Vondette, $491
Abby Pursifull, $327