2012 Warm Up with the Top 15 WNFR Barrel Racers

Can you feel it? The anticipation is building… soon the doors of the Thomas & Mack will open to over 170,000 fans, as rodeo’s top cowboys and cowgirls contend for a place in the history books.

Whether you’ll be watching from your seat in Las Vegas or tuning in from home, there’s no doubt we’re closing in on the most exciting 10 days of barrel racing all year. With over $765,000 up for grabs, and nearly half of the field being NFR rookies, it’s sure to be good watching.

Viva Las Vegas!
Viva Las Vegas!

Again BarrelRacingTips.com was fortunate to catch up with rodeo’s leading ladies as they gear up for Wrangler National Finals rodeo. Thousands of barrel racers dream of blasting down the alley at the Thomas & Mack, yet each year only the top 15 WPRA earnings leaders make the cut.

Whoever you find yourself rooting for, it’s our hope that the introduction to the WNFR qualifiers below will give you a personal look into the lives and times of barrel racing’s elite and make watching the action even more enjoyable!

The questions and answers are the first in a two-part series developed to deliver inspiration and insight into understanding what it really takes to make NFR dreams reality.

We couldn’t help but notice a common theme when each qualifier was asked “What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?”

We could summarize their answers with the following:
– DREAM BIG
– WORD HARD
– STAY POSITIVE
– HAVE DETERMINATION
– NEVER STOP IMPROVING
– NEVER GIVE UP

Such simple, yet powerful advice.

If you already possess the qualities above, then you’re well on your way. If not, you know now where to redirect your aim so that perhaps one day YOUR NAME will grace the pages of BarrelRacingTips.com as you take your place among the best barrel racers in the world!

*As you enjoy the introductory interviews below, feel free to click on the horse’s names for complete pedigrees.

BRITTANY POZZI

Brittany Pozzi
Brittany Pozzi

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
I will be taking three horses.
Yeah He’s Firen “Duke” (nine year old palomino gelding)
Sixth Vision “Stitch” (15 year old sorrel gelding)
and JJ Bar Jet “Root Beer” (nine year old bay gelding)

Stitch and Root beer are owned by Pete and Jo Scarmardo. I don’t think Duke and Stitch need much introduction but Root Beer is a nine year old gelding that I trained and futuritied as a four year old. He was my first futurity horse and has earned over 60K. I am excited to have him at the finals and I think he will excel in the Thomas and Mack.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
Well I guess you can say it’s kind of an old hat for me. This will be my 9th time to qualify.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been a member of the WPRA since 2003 and I enjoy being my own boss. Sometimes the hours are a little longer than your typical 9 to 5 but it’s worth it to be able to do what I love.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
I think I have the ability to block out everything around me and focus on the task in front of me. I have also been blessed with the ability to ride lots of different styles of horses. I also think hard work is the key to success.

MARY WALKER

Mary Walker
Mary Walker

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
Perculatin “Latte” (eight year bay old gelding)
Sire – Dash for Perksbay
Dam – Curiocity Corners

Latte has such a funny personality. When he is mad he bucks in one spot and he loves his butt scratched more than anything. He constantly hits me over the head because he is so interested in everything and everyone around him, plus I must just be the right height because it never fails.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
It is very exciting but also overwhelming and exhausting. Just getting all the clothes ready you have to bring not only for the rodeo but for the banquets and autograph sessions as well, but I am so honored to be able to go.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 1983. I really enjoy all the great horses and I love watching them all work. The great friendships you make are forever lasting!

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
My personal quality that contributes the most is staying positive no matter what comes my way. Each day is a new day and you have to wake up and be positive each and every day.

CARLEE PIERCE

Carlee Pierce
Carlee Pierce

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
Rare Dillon “Dillon” (13 year old buckskin gelding)
Sire – Fire Cracker Fire
Dam – Rare Class

Dillon is an insecure type horse he always has to have someone with him and you would not expect that coming from him with all the talent he has.

Im A Royal Design “Hammer” (five year old sorrel gelding)
Owned by my mother Danita Walker

Hammer is a big baby and so easy to be around. Dillon and Hammer are the total opposite of each other.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
Exciting! I am more excited this year than I was last year. I feel like I am more prepared this year and I am ready to get out there and get started.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been professionally barrel racing since 2008. I love traveling and being on the road, we get so much family time out there. I really enjoy the energy of rodeo and the great people that are involved in it.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
My personal quality that contributes most to my success would be my faith in God. I always put him first. I feel that if you are doing what is right and what you should be doing then everything will fall in place and I believe I am doing what I was put on this earth to do since everything is falling into place.

SHERRY CERVI

Sherry Cervi
Sherry Cervi

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
MP Meter My Hay “Stingray” (10 year old palomino mare)
Sire – PC Frenchmans Hayday
Dam – Miss Meter jet

Stingray is very independent, loves to be pampered, likes to be treated like a princess but also has her times where she just likes to be left alone.

MP A Man with Roses “George” (nine year old palomino gelding)
Sire – PC Frechmans Hayday
Dam – Rose Patch

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
Awesome, I am so fortunate to be able to go back. I believe it will be a really good race which I am excited for so I am trying to be as prepared as I can be for my horses and myself. It’s exciting.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 1986. I love the competition and the challenge of training and taking young horses and getting them rodeo ready. I love just getting them better and more competitive.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
I am very hard headed. I like to fix things that aren’t right and then get to the next rodeo to see if I had fixed it.

NIKKI STEFFES

Nikki Steffes
Nikki Steffes

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
Dash Ta Vanilla “Nilla” (seven year old palomino mare)
Sire – Dash Ta Fame
Dam – SX Frenchmans Vanilla

Nilla has a very strong personality and always has to have everything her way! She hates being in a stall. Nilla and Bella are besties and are always buddied up to each other, but Bella is always the boss.

Back up horse: Tell Em Bell “Bella” (seven year old bay mare)

Bella is deathly afraid of wagons, but she is the biggest sweet heart. Both horses are owned by Alan Woodbury of Dickinson, ND

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
It’s stressful, the packing and making sure that I am prepared for everything is stressful, but at the same time it is very exciting and I am enjoying every minute of it. This is something that I have dreamt of my whole life.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 2010. I really enjoy all the great horses there are just so many of them. I love meeting all the awesome people along the way from other competitors to fans.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
My best personal quality that contributes the most to my success would be me being organized and time management. I do all my own entering and scheduling so I have to make sure I have everything I need and everything my horses need.

KALEY BASS

Kaley Bass
Kaley Bass

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
Wonders Cowboy Dan “Cowboy” (12 Year old grey gelding)
Sire – Wonders Pal
Dam – Jackies Cowgirl Bar

Girl Pal Wonder (11 Year old grey mare)
Sire – Wonders Pal
Dam – Jackies Cowgirl Bar

Cowboy and Girl are full siblings.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
It’s very exciting but it is also so nerve-wracking. I am just nervous about what to expect.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 2011, the day I turned 18 I became a member of the WPRA. I enjoy being able to go to all the different places, and running my horses that I have trained myself and be able compete at this level. I purchased “Cowboy” as a 3 year old and “Girl” as a 4 year old.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
Staying positive and keeping a positive attitude when things aren’t going right. You just have to keep moving forward and never question yourself. There are so many mind games that are involved in this sport but you can’t let that get you down.

BREDNA MAYS

Brenda Mays
Brenda Mays

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
Judge Buy Cash “Jethro” (13 year old black gelding)
Sire – Judge Cash
Dam – Flashs Polly Vandy

Judge My Fame “Dora” (nine year old sorrel mare)
Sire – Dash Ta Fame
Dam – Flash Cashy Cat

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
It’s fast approaching, but if feels just like the rest.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 1995. I enjoy everything about it; the riding, fast paced competition and being able to compete at the best level there is.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
Having fun and not taking it all too serious. You have to take it serious to a point but you also have to enjoy it!

LISA LOCKHART

LisaLockhart
Lisa Lockhart

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
Fast An Gold “Chism” (14 year old chestnut gelding)
Sire – El Roco
Dam – Romanna Glass

Chism is really playful and is always being mischievous.

An Oakie with Cash “Louie” (nine year old buckskin gelding)
Sire – Biebers Oakie
Dam – Lady Kaweah Cash

Louie is always crabby, but he is really laid back.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
Amazing! It’s just an amazing feeling. I still have to pinch myself that it’s really happening

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been professionally barrel racing since 1991. I enjoy the thrill of the competition and training my horses. I love to learn and the continual education process I love.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
I am always striving to make things better and to do better. You always have to stay positive and never give up.

BENETTE BARRINGTON-LITTLE

Benette Barrington-Little
Benette Barrington-Little

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
JL Dash Ta Heaven (seven year old sorrel stallion)
Sire – Dash Ta Fame
Dam – Dynas Plain Special (2003 WPRA World Champion)

Chicados Cash (seven year old sorrel stallion)
Sire – Cash Not Credit
Dam – Chicado Flame

Both horses were raised and trained at the Jud Little Ranch.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
It so exciting but so hard to believe, it’s really happening!

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 1994, I did the math last night and that’s 18 years but I will just say 1994 that sounds better! What I enjoy the most are the horses, learning about them, hauling, and just riding them, plus it’s a really good challenge.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
Never say die! Always have lots of try and never give up!!!

KELLI TOLBERT

Kelli Tolbert
Kelli Tolbert

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
RF Firely “Cleo” (nine year old sorrel mare)
Sire – Smoke N Sparks
Dam – Dots Scooterette

She is notorious for being naughty. She always has her ears pinned back when I am warming her up and if you get to close she might bite. I have to warm up and circle by myself because she likes to buck, kick and play.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
It feels great! This is my 2nd time and it is more fun than my first. I know my horse likes that arena so it will give be a good chance to do well. This time it hasn’t been as nerve-wracking, I know more of what to expect, what to pack and so on.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 2007. I really like going places that I have never been before. It is also really unique that we can compete with each other and still be friends and happy for each other’s success.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
Some people say that I am stubborn but I say that I am determined. When things get hard, I try harder!

LEE ANN RUST

Lee Ann Rust
Lee Ann Rust

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
SS Streakers R Us “Harley” (10 year old bay gelding)
Sire – Scenics Symbol
Dam – The Sixth Sense
I call him Harley Brown because he runs like a Harley but has the personality of Charlie Brown.

Back-up horse: Shortys Step Child “Mule” (6 year old bay gelding)
Owned by my sister Beverly Funderburgh, he has been shown in the NCHA in the cutting futurity. He has only been running barrels for about 10 months.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
Wonderful, it’s so cool. I have to pinch myself because I have been dreaming of this since I was 4 years old and I will be running down the alley at 54 years old and the 15th round is my 55th birthday.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 2011, the year I won Rookie of the year with the WPRA. I really enjoy it because you get to compete with the elite and it is so humbling and rewarding to ride at this level and be competitive. You also get to meet so many nice, kind people plus getting to see all parts of the country is an added bonus.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
The ability to dream and to set a B-HAG. (BIG-HAIRY-AUDACIOUS-GOAL) But you have to dream it first.

CHRISTINA RICHMAN

Christina Richman
Christina Richman

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
Stitch will not be making the trip to the NFR the year, she suffered a chip in her knee the day after circuit finals.
Xtrared “Stitch” (10 year old sorrel mare)
Sire – Red
Dam – Attract

I will be taking 2 other horses this year:
Perfectos Dually “J-Lo” (nine year old sorrel mare)

Owned by Stevie Hillman. J-Lo has a very business-like attitude.

Cascabel “JulieJulieJulie” (11 year old sorrel gelding)

He was bit by a rattle snake when he was little and that is where the name Cascabel came from (which means rattle snake in Spanish). He is owned by Christy Davidson.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
Great! About 5 days ago I didn’t have a horse so it didn’t feel so good, but now I can relax and focus.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 2007. I love traveling and not having a real job which is always fun!

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
I always laugh and say I turn off my give a sh** attitude. I just go for it; I stay positive and am resilient to the negative.

TRULA CHURCHILL

Trula Churchill
Trula Churchill

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
A Streak of Rita “Worm” (seven year old blue roan gelding)
Sire – A Streak of Fling
Dam – Jetta Rita

Worm is laid back, real quite but also has a Dennis the Mennis side to him.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
It’s GREAT & very exciting!

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I have been barrel racing professionally since 1996. I really enjoy the competition, friends and traveling.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
I believe that would be my determination.

CHRISTY LOFLIN

Christy Loflin
Christy Loflin

Tell us about the horse(s) you’ll be riding at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
My main mount Movin’ is sidelined and will not make this year’s WNFR. I’ll be taking two other amazing horses.
HPQ Smokin Rascal “Rascal” (6 year old palomino gelding)
Sire – Una Frio Cerveza
Dam – Miss Smokin Annie

Miss Judge N Me “Trudee” (7 year old bay mare)
Sire – Missin Freckle
Dam – Send Me Money

Rascal is owned by Hayden Segelke, he has a very feisty personality. Trudee is very stubborn, but she tries hard every time and is owned by my daughter Randi Timmons.

How does it feel to be preparing to compete at the WNFR?
I am trying the best I can with the cards I have been dealt, I’ve kind of had the wind taken out of my sails; but it is exciting and I am thankful for the two awesome horses that I am taking to the NFR.

How long have you been barrel racing professionally? What do you enjoy most about it?
I bought my card in 2001. I always enjoy the challenging part of the sport, all the new faces and faster horses. It is something that you always have to work at.

What personal quality do you have that contributes most to your success?
I am a big dreamer. I always think and believe that nothing is out of my reach.

For more from the 2012 WNFR barrel racing qualifiers, check out “Five Pre-Run Rituals of the Top 15,” “Barrel Talk with 2012 WNFR Barrel Racing World Champion, Mary Walker,” and “2012 Cool Down with the Top 15 WNFR Barrel Racers.”
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*Special thanks to the WPRA (where the elite compete) for teaming up with BarrelRacingTips.com to bring you this “Warm Up with the Top 15!”

4 replies
  1. Breanna
    Breanna says:

    Well done Sherry Cervi you are my favourite barrel racer, you have taught me so much about Barrel Racing. You have helped so much in my life.

    I love your horses 🙂

    Gotta Gallop,
    Breanna & Toolarah

    Reply

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