the earliest days of the then-Girls Rodeo Association,
the ladies competed in many different events: they ran
barrels to be sure but most also roped, some rode bulls
or broncs, others competed in the cutting. "All
girl" rodeos were just as popular with contestants
as the then-Rodeo Cowboys Association events.
The NutraLix Barrel Daze event held
June 12-13 in Miles City, Mont., is a throwback to those
days. It's retro. Offering huge prize money in the barrel
race, the event combines the best the WPRA has to offer
with sanctioned breakaway roping, junior barrel racing,
and futurity competitions.
The event also awarded Pro Elite
Sire Incentive money to the tune of $2,000 to contestants
riding PESI eligible horses in the open 4D and futurity
barrel racing. And new in 2010, WPRA national sponsor
Wrangler stepped to the plate to honor the permit and
breakaway roping members with $500 bonus money paid
"NutraLix Barrel Daze was a
smashing success," says producer and founder Lana
Tibbetts, the WPRA's Montana Director. With over $22K
in total payout, contestants came from five states and
Canada to compete over two days.
With all the WPRA's programs represented,
it is fitting that the weekend's high money earner is
a WPRA breakaway roper and barrel racer. Michelle Alley
of Whitewood, S.D., is a two time WPRA World Finals
qualifier, competing in 2007 and 2009. Alley was the
WPRA Wrangler Bonus winner in the breakaway roping and
collected checks on two horses in the barrel racing,
including a fifth place finish on Saturday. All counted,
she stuffed nearly $1,500 in her Wranglers.
Alley is a little retro herself:
like the founders of the WPRA, she made the two and
half hour trek to Miles City in part because she could
rope and run barrels, particularly in a WPRA co-approved
event. Alley also seized upon the opportunity to compete
on a standard pattern before the rodeo season gets in
full swing in the Badlands and Montana Circuits.
A member of the South Dakota Rodeo
Association, Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association, and
National Barrel Horse Association along with the WPRA,
Alley is a qualifier to the College National Finals
Rodeo and earns her living training and selling rope
and barrel horses.
Alley gives credit to her family
for her profession, though she didn't start roping until
"My dad, Bob, was a great roper
and he was the one who showed me how to rope as well
as taking me to a Marty Jones roping school," she
explains. "He introduced me to [17 time WPRA World
Champion] JJ Hampton who gave me pointers on my roping
and goat tying." Alley says her mom, Linda, still
rides and helps out while brother JJ ropes, steer wrestles,
and rides bareback horses.
Alley recently picked up tie down
roping, an event she says she loves because it combines
breakaway with goat tying, though breakaway is still
her favorite. She is currently ranked amongst the leaders
in the WPRA world standings for the tie down roping.
While roping might be higher on
her list, Alley more than holds her own in the barrel
race. She raised her horse, Sign on Slew, but sold him
as a yearling. After spending two years on the track,
Alley bought the gelding back as a four year old and
trained him to run barrels. Along with her other Barrel
Daze money winner, RF Three Tiny Bars, Alley campaigned
at the futurities a year ago and is now seasoning the
six year olds to rodeo competition.
"They won a good amount at
the barrel futurities," she says, "and now
I am trying to get them prepared for the rodeos."
Nothing prepares you as quick as
competing against the best. WPRA NFR qualifiers dominated
the 1D on both days with Rayne [Prewitt] Rice winning
Saturday's race aboard Chucky while Shelly Anzick improved
a third place on Saturday by winning the race Sunday
on Soda. Anzick received the grand prize, a Ritch Rand
Another NFR qualifier Shelley Murphy
took home the PESI bonus money for the futurity aboard
her horse, Mis Lucki Kelly; the pair was second on Saturday
behind Raelene Konzak, and first on Sunday in the WPRA
The PESI bonus for the 4D went to
Deena Grieves. The Wrangler Bonus money in the permit
sidepot went to Carrie Murnion. The youth race winner
was won by Paige Moore.
Sponsors of the NutraLix Barrel
Daze include NutraLix, Wrangler, Plains Horizon Equine
Insurance, Horizon Implement, Steadman's Ace Hardware,
Dally O, Montana Silversmiths, Bill Champion, TownPump,
US Bank, Murdoch's West Feeds, Comfort Inn, Solaris
Feeders, Miles City Saddlery, Farm Bureau Insurance,
Bart and Misty Meged, Riverside Marine and Cycle, and
For complete results, visit www.NutraLix.com.