By Jolee Jordan
Reno, Nevada — The race for the Wilderness Circuit Championship has already been an exciting one just a couple months into the circuit’s season.
Utah cowgirl Kimmie Wall, who finished third in the circuit a year ago, is enjoying the best season of her young professional career. Wall has climbed to seventh in the WPRA World standings; in her home circuit, however, she is trailing transplant Sarah Rose McDonald by $569.
McDonald hails from Georgia but switched circuits in 2016, electing to rodeo in Nevada, Utah and southern Idaho. Both she and Wall have earned over $10,000 in their circuit, distancing themselves from the rest of the field by several thousand. McDonald is 10th in the WPRA World standings.
Ironically, both cowgirls competed at the Reno Rodeo, the largest rodeo in the Wilderness Circuit, on Monday, June 20.
The unofficial start to the lucrative Fourth of July run, the Reno Rodeo offers a huge committee added purse of $37,500. Ninety-six WPRA barrel racers will compete here, running in sections of 12 each day. Each lady makes her first round run in the morning slack and returns that evening for a run in the performance. The 12 fastest on two runs will return for the short round on Saturday, June 25.
The edge in the race for the Wilderness Circuit title—at least Reno thus far—goes to Wall. Posting a 17.53 during the morning slack and a 17.17 that evening put Wall and her homegrown mare Foxy to second in the average.
McDonald and her mare Bling failed to move in the money in the rounds but did land inside the top ten in the average.
Monday’s performance was a quick one. Along with Wall, Taylor Jacob and her buckskin gelding Bo ran a 17.18 second run to sit tough in the second go round. Katelyn McLeod and Toby also posted a good time, a 17.25. The cowgirls moved to fourth and fifth in the average, respectively.
Much like Kimmie Wall, Pam Capper is having a breakout season in 2016. After several years of just missing the cut for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR), Capper hits the height of the summer season ranked 14th in the standings. She could be moving up after posting a 17.44 second run on her first run in Reno; the time put Capper and her mare Jesse in a split of second in the round.
The Tuesday night performance was a little rough on the barrel racers with six ladies taking barrel penalties. The night’s winner was Tillar Murray. Murray and Tic Tac were able to move inside the top 10 in the second go with their run of 17.35 seconds.
Meanwhile, Capper’s 17.52 on Tuesday night was good enough to move the Washington lady into a tie for fifth with McLeod in the two-head average.
The Reno Rodeo continues on Wednesday with just 36 ladies left to compete before the finals. Former Wilderness Circuit Champ and WNFR qualifier Sue Smith will be among the group competing on Wednesday along with top 50 ranked cowgirls Kathy Grimes, Kelley Schnaufer, Rylee Dick, Amber Moore, and Katie Pascoe, a contender for the 2016 WPRA Rookie of the Year title.
For more information on the Reno Rodeo, visit them on-line at www.renorodeo.com and stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates. All performances of the Reno Rodeo can be viewed live on The Wrangler Network.
1. Jane Melby, Brookstone Jo, 17.41
2. Sherry Cervi, Dash ta Diamonds, 17.44
3. Pam Capper, Sheza Smooth Flight, 17.44
4. Cayla Melby, Shameon U, 17.47
5. Kelly Tovar, BB French Fooledya, 17.49
6. Kellie Collier, Streakin Easy April, 17.50
7. Vickie Carter, Lil Pep of Gold, 17.51
8. Kimmie Wall, TKW Bullys Famous Fox, 17.53
9. Tyra Kane, 17.54
10. Jill Welsh, French First Watch, 17.55
1. Kris Gadbois, CRCS Regaldash, 17.04
2. Jane Melby, 17.13
3. Darby Fox, Easy French Alibi, 17.17
4. Wall, 17.17
5. Taylor Jacob, Honor Thy Frenchman, 17.18
6. Katelyn McLeod, Apt to Be Special, 17.25
7. Tillar Murray, Lil Gracie Dude, 17.35
8. Julie Martin, 17.36
9. Tovar, 17.50
10. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.50
1. Jane Melby, 34.54
2. Wall, 34.70
3. Gadbois, 34.74
4. Jacob, 34.80
5. Katelyn McLeod, 34.96
6. Capper, 34.96
7. Tovar, 34.99
8. Carter, 35.01
9. McDonald, 35.19
10. Andrea Busby, 35.33
11. Michele McLeod, 35.37
12. Laurence, 35.40