Viva Las Vegas! Meet the 2016 Top 15 NFR Barrel Racers

2016 NFR Barrel Racers

The top 15 WPRA barrel racing qualifiers have arrived in Las Vegas, and will soon be blasting down the alley at the Thomas & Mack. In anticipation of the rodeo action, I’m excited to share their reflection on at the 2016 season, and what we can expect to see in this years race to the gold buckle.

So before the gates open, let’s dive in and get to know these these amazing women and their horses (including pedigrees) who will entertain, educate and inspire us – at the 2016 NFR and beyond!
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Mary Burger
Mary Burger

MARY BURGER – Ranked: No. 1, Back No. 1
2016 Earnings: $190,977
Hometown: Pauls Valley, OK
What horse(s) you will be riding at the NFR?
Sadiesfamouslastwords “Mo” – 7 yr. old gelding
Sailors Wind “Sailor” – 14 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Mo has done well in all situations this year. He still is immature and gets sloppy and not super solid yet. He is very capable of doing very well. Just a matter of if it is my turn or whether he likes that pen at that time. One of those things where I know he has done well and just hope he can finish well. Houston we had lots of runs and he seemed to get better each run so I don’t worry about the 10 nights at the Finals. Just going to try win as much as we can each run down the alleyway and around the barrels.

Describe your 2016 season: Amazing to do what I have done without really having any goals in mind except to go to the big winter rodeos. A little speechless to have this chance in a lifetime at my age, it’s just – WOW!

What were the top two highlights? I would have to say winning Houston and Calgary.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas?
The fact I made it back and looking forward to just winning as much money as I can.

Special thanks to these sponsors:: Brazos Valley Equine Hospital, Oxy-Gen, LubriSyn, Professional’s Choice, Simply Equine, Back on Track
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Jackie Ganter
Jackie Ganter

JACKIE GANTER – Ranked: No. 2, Back No. 16
2016 Earnings: $116,387
Hometown: Abilene, TX
What horse(s) you will be riding at the NFR?
Guys French Jet “Jet” – 12 year old stallion
Recent Release “R” – 18 year old gelding
Cartels Fame “Cartel” – 8 year old gelding
Blazin Baby J “Baby J” – 7 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Jet and R are both older and can pretty much run in any arena. They are both very dependable. Baby J and Cartel are younger and haven’t been exposed to that small of an arena as much as the other two, but I think they would do good.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: A year full of dreams coming true

What were the top two highlights? Competing in the Calgary Stampede and finished third and was ranked in the top 5 of the world standings the entire year

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? Running at the Thomas and Mack has been a goal of mine my whole life, so I am ecstatic to get to go back and run in that arena again

Special thanks to these sponsors: Dufur Quarter Horses, Rock & Roll Cowgirl, Panhandle Slim, Nocona Boots, Hi-Pro Feeds, West Texas Equine Clinic, PHT Products, 5 Star Equine Products, Tami Semas Barrel Saddles, Classic Equine, Stephenville Trailers, Equi-Resp, Lone Star Stables, Shorty’s Caboy Hattery
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Mary Walker
Mary Walker

MARY WALKER – Ranked: No. 3, Back No. 18
2016 Earnings: $112,816
Hometown: Ennis, TX
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
Perculatin “Latte” – 12 year old gelding
A Frosty Please “Bojangles” – 7 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Latte has been very successful at the Thomas and Mack. He gives his 120-percent each time.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: Every year is a new journey.

What were the top two highlights? Winning all three rounds in my group at Houston and winning the Kissimmee Champions Challenge on Bojangles.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? Looking forward to just being there again. It is such an experience in its own. I can’t wait to see old friends and hopefully make new ones.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Justin Boots, Panhandle Rock & Roll Denim, Platinum Performance, MGM Grand, Browning, Kawasaki, Horseware Ireland, Texas Equine Hospital, Viagen, Relentless, Theraplate, American Hat
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Ivy Conrado
Ivy Conrado

IVY CONRADO – Ranked: No. 4, Back No. 22
2016 Earnings: $111,160
Hometown: Hudson, CO
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
CFour Tibbie Stinson “Tibbie” – 7 year old mare

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
She runs mock 12 and then bellies down as soon as you think about turning. She loves fences and shifty ground. She’s so quick footed and gritty. I would think she would love it but you never know until you are there.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season:
A dream come true!

What were the top two highlights? Winning Ft. Worth to kick start my season and competing in my first Calgary Stampede.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas?
Running down the alley 10 times on Tibbie.

How do you think you will feel coming down the alley for the first time at the Thomas and Mack? Hopefully focused.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Wrangler, Renew Gold, Vista Equine Colorado, Equisure, MVP, Techmix, Horseware Ireland, HorsLic, Pro Orthopedic, Elgin Vet Hospital, Equi-Resp, Dakota Express
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Kimmie Wall
Kimmie Wall

KIMMIE WALL – Ranked: No. 5, Back No. 24
2016 Earnings: $107,795
Hometown: Roosevelt, UT
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
TKW Bullys Famous Fox “Foxy” – 8 yr. old mare
Maggies Moon Fire “Orville” – 13 yr. old gelding
(owned by Natalie Foutch)

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Foxy runs hard and turns hard. She likes to have a little ground under her feet. The size of the pens doesn’t seem to matter. She just really loves her job. The alleyway at the Thomas and Mack will be tricky but Foxy will really like the atmosphere at the Wrangler NFR.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: Dreams really do come true – never give up!

What were the top two highlights? Winning the Champions Challenge in Redding, CA, and winning the Clark County Fair and Rodeo in Logandale, NV.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? It is every little girls dream that has ever ran around a barrel to run down the alley at the Thomas and Mack and I actually get to do it!

How do you think you will feel coming down the alley for the first time at the Thomas and Mack? I think it will be a little emotional. Not only for me but my family who has worked so hard and sacrificed so much to make this a reality.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Cactus Saddlery, Ranchdress’n, Platinum Performance, Purina, Cactus Gear, Dynamic Edge, Glam and Grit, Three Wise Chicks
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Stevi Hillman
Stevi Hillman

STEVI HILLMAN – Ranked: No. 6, Back No. 26
2016 Earnings: $104,643
Hometown: Weatherford, TX
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
Cuatro Fame “Truck” – 9 year old gelding
Morning Traffic “Martini” – 5 year old mare

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Truck has proven in the past he can win in small pens, if his jockey is all there (ha, ha). No doubt he can be good. He’s super turny, so it’ll just be like driving a race car. Martini is so consistent and honest. She’ll run out there and just do what I ask and proved this year she can win in small ones. I am very confident in both of my horses.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: Exhilarating, rewarding, humbled, blessed, emotional, exciting, thankful, faith, perseverance, challenging.

What were the top two highlights? Winning Reno, which was my biggest career win at the time and Pendleton win, because it’s one of the most challenging and most unique rodeos. What a dream to win them both this year on two different horses.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? Getting to go down that famous alley as a competitor. I am going to enjoy every moment of it.

How do you think you will feel coming down the alley for the first time at the Thomas and Mack? Incredibly excited! There have been enough challenging and stressful moments this year, I feel like this is the most fun part of it. We made it. Now go enjoy this opportunity.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Nutrena, 5-Star Pads, MVP, Shiloh Saddlery, Rock N Roll Cowgirl, Team PHT, Flair Strips, EquiPulmin
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Lisa Lockhart
Lisa Lockhart

LISA LOCKHART – Ranked: No. 7, Back No. 30
2016 Earnings: $100,244
Hometown: Oelrichs, SD
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
An Oakie With Cash “Louie” – 13 year old gelding
Fast An Gold “Chisum” – 18 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Louie is a trooper at adapting to any situation, giving 100-percent every time and we are looking forward to the Thomas and Mack.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: A whirlwind with a successful July that enabled me more family time.

What were the top two highlights? The top highlight of my season was being the recipient of the prestigious Guy Weadick Award at the Calgary Stampede. I am also very thankful for a successful 2016 season.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? I am looking forward to the actual competition with high stakes for 10 nights in a row!

Special thanks to these sponsors: Platinum Performance, B Bar Heart Performance Horses, Cowgirl Tuff, DeTye Vet Supply, Woody’s Performance Horse Feeds, Priefert Ranch Equipment, Circle Y Saddles, Classic Equine
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Sarah Rose McDonald
Sarah Rose McDonald

SARAH ROSE MCDONALD – Ranked: No. 8, Back No. 45
2016 Earnings: $89,364
Hometown: Brunswick, GA
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
Fame Fling N Bling “Bling” – 10 year old mare
Foxys Driftin Jewel “Jewel” – 14 year old mare
(owned by Trip and Callie duPerier)

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Bling likes to take off from the opening of the gate, cut the barrels close going into them and stretch out leaving the barrel. She has a lot of heart and grit. I love riding her in small pens because I know I have to be aggressive and push her past the barrels. She excelled in the T&M last year and I hope we can do the same this year!

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: Difficult and stressful winter to an exciting spring and consistent summer.

What were the top two highlights? Winning the rodeos in Clovis, CA, Lovington, NM, Deadwood, SD, and Helena MT, because I have never been to those rodeos before.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? I am so excited to be going back to the NFR this year and I feel like I know more of what to expect especially with time management during the day. I will have more help this year with taking care of my horses and I hope to get to enjoy more time with my family.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Texas LandMen, Big Tex Trailers, Oxy-Gen, Cinch, CSI saddle pads, Dusty Rocker boots, Horse Hydrator, Iconoclast boots, Dr. Tanner at Elgin Vet, Equivibe, Charlie 1 Horse, PHT, CM Truck bed trailers
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Michele McLeod
Michele McLeod

MICHELE MCLEOD – Ranked: No. 9, Back No. 47
2016 Earnings: $87,745
Hometown: Whitesboro, TX
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
Slick By Design “Slick” – 9 year old stallion
StreakinFlingInDisco “Disco” – 7 year old mare
Apt To Be Special “Toby” – 10 year old gelding
Stitchs Honor N Fame “Chilly” – 9 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Slick uses his hind end and has done well at the Thomas and Mack. Looking forward to having good ground, so all horses can work to the best of their abilities.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: Hot winter and cold summer.

What were the top two highlights? Winning Guymon, OK on Slick because I won it on him in 2013 and winning San Antonio.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? I look forward to the whole NFR experience. It’s so exciting to be in Las Vegas knowing you are there to compete for 10 nights.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Purina, Oxy-Gen, Shiloh Saddles, Cinch, Cetyl M, Hidez, Silver HorseCar, Deuces Wild, Alfalfa Express, Smark Pak, Flair Nasal Strips, Professional Choice, Tanner Mark Boots, Shorty’s Caboy Hats, P3
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Cayla Small
Cayla Small

CAYLA SMALL – Ranked: No. 10, Back No. 48
2016 Earnings: $87,737
Hometown: Burneyville, OK
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
Shameon U “Gator” – 7 year old gelding
Docs Frosty Blue Bar “Whitey” – 7 year old gelding
Brookstone Jo “Brookstone” – 6 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Shameon U runs free and turns strong. Docs Frosty Blue Bar is a free runner but have never ran him inside. Brookstone Jo has a more push style. He does not like to be pulled on and I need to use by body language instead of the reins.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season:
A lot like driving through the mountains.

What were the top two highlights? Getting engaged and married to Zac Small and qualifying for the Canadian Finals Rodeo this season as well.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas?
Running down the alley of the Thomas and Mack 10 times.

How do you think you will feel coming down the alley for the first time at the Thomas and Mack? Awesome!

Special thanks to these sponsors: Logan Coach Trailers, Dufur Quarter Horses, Big Time Entertainment, EquiPulmin, G-G Saddles, Stride Supplement/Blue Bonnet Feeds, Diamond Wool Pads, Kimes Ranch Jeans
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Pamela Capper
Pamela Capper

PAMELA CAPPER – Ranked: No. 11, Back No. 49
2016 Earnings: $87,505
Hometown: Cheney, WA
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
Sheza Smooth Flight “Jesse” – 14 year old mare

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Jesse is a push style horse, she hunts barrels and runs around them. She likes a “run in, run out” gate. We have ran on small courses and done well. Her smooth collection and power leaving the barrel will work well at the Thomas and Mack.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: Meeting goals, going to new rodeos and having a strong September.

What were the top two highlights? Winning the San Angelo, TX Stock Show and Rodeo as it kick started my season. The second highlight was the Pendleton Round-Up as it sealed by first NFR qualification.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? Sharing this life accomplishment with my family. Also getting together with the other ladies that qualified.

How do you think you will feel coming down the alley for the first time at the Thomas and Mack? Excited, confident, exhilarating and a little nervous.

Special thanks to these sponsors: McKinlay & Peters Equine Hospital
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Sherry Cervi
Sherry Cervi

SHERRY CERVI – Ranked: No. 12, Back No. 56
2016 Earnings: $83,679
Hometown: Marana, AZ
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
MP Meter My Hay “Stingray” – 14 year old mare
Dash Ta Diamonds “Arson” – 10 year old gelding
Easily Dashed “Sweet” – 8 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Stingray has obviously done very well there. Last year, Arson and I turned in the fastest time of the 2015 NFR in the final round so hoping to duplicate that again. I have great confidence in all my horses in that pen.

Describe your 2016 season: Slow start, then spent a month in Wisconsin which was really fun and good. Summer was busy as I had a lot of catching up to do and I rode Arson. He came through and I am thankful I got to ride him for the year and he got me to the finals.

What were the top two highlights? Becoming the first WPRA member to cross the three million mark in career earnings and doing it in Houston aboard Stingray. Second highlight was finishing second in Cheyenne.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? Looking forward to the All In Barrel Race (to be held at the Pavilions at World Market Center in downtown Las Vegas) as they are having a youth incentive race and it is a Sherry Cervi Youth Incentive race. I am excited about that and getting to go see the kids competing there on the weekends. Also seeing all the fans.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Justin Boots, Classic Equine, Martin Saddlery, Resistol, TexasLandMan, Oxy-Gen, Silver Lining Herbs, RevitaVet, Back on Track, Elgin Vet Clinic, Team Hesston, Toyota, Renew Gold
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Carley Richardson
Carley Richardson

CARLEY RICHARDSON – Ranked: No. 13, Back No. 61
2016 Earnings: $80,875
Hometown: Pampa, TX
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
Doda Flit “Radio” – 12 year old gelding
Flit Money “Money” – 9 year old gelding
Lotta Bunny Shades “Boss” – 10 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Radio is a very honest horse who makes the same trip every time. If I ride him right, he should do well.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: 2016 had its fair share of ups and downs, but overall a dream come true.

What were the top two highlights? Winning Nampa and St. Paul.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? Running at that much money every night and spending time with family and friends.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Platinum Performance, CSI saddle pads, Cinch, Horse Hydrator, Flavio Rubiero Leather, Polyglycan
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Jana Bean
Jana Bean

JANA BEAN – Ranked: No. 14, Back No. 63
2016 Earnings: $80,336
Hometown: Fort Hancock, TX
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
Dashing Klee “Chick” – 6 year old gelding
Happy to Run Em “Kylee” – 7 year old mare
Steele Magnolias “Steeley” – 9 year old mare
Dash Ta Freedom “Freedom” – 14 year old gelding

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Chick is a very hard running free style horse that doesn’t slow down to turn until he gets to his barrels. This makes him very quick in his turns and it requires perfect timing to be able to get it right. I believe if I can stay focused and ride him aggressively enough into this turns that he will have a chance to be successful in the Thomas and Mack.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: What a blessing to get to do what I love.

What were the top two highlights? Winning the second round at Cheyenne and almost breaking the arena record on my six year old Dashing Klee. The other highlight was setting the arena record at the Gem State Stampede in Coeur d’Alene, ID on him.

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? I am feeling so blessed to have the opportunity to run down the alley at the Thomas and Mack again. That is what I am most excited about to get to do while I am there.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Classic Equine, Oxy-Gen, Bloomer Trailers, Purina, Cowgirl Tuff, PHT Magna Cu, Mirage Rodeo Vegas, Resistol, Double J Saddlery, Equiresp, Razer, Equisure, No Hit Bit, Nickelbar Designs, RTF Running Horses, Zeal

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Amberleigh Moore
Amberleigh Moore

AMBERLEIGH MOORE – Ranked: No. 15, Back No. 66
2016 Earnings: $79,068
Hometown: Salem, OR
What horse(s) will be riding at the NFR?
CP Dark Moon “Paige” – 7 year old mare
Junos Royal Flush “Jen” – 9 year old mare

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will handle the Thomas & Mack:
Paige is a perfectionist – hard running and hard turning. Paige loves running on small patterns so I believe she is going to Love the Thomas and Mack.

In 10 words or less, describe your 2016 season: Simply amazing and surreal.

What were the top two highlights? Winning the Omak, WA Stampede and Sisters, OR rodeo

What are you most looking forward to doing/experiencing in Las Vegas? The whole experience of being there with the fans and making that first run down the alley at the Thomas & Mack.

How do you think you will feel coming down the alley for the first time at the Thomas and Mack? It makes me smile and my heart race at the thought of that 1st Round at the Wrangler NFR.

Special thanks to these sponsors: Tight Joints Plus, OE Nutraceuticals, Champion Feeds, Earls Garage, G&J Logging, Katie’s Coast to Coast, Silver Lining Herbs, Murray Hay Sales, BRN4D, Belle Star Boutique, Double J Saddlery, 5 Star Pads, Back on Track, House Top H Ranc
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The 2016 NFR action starts on Thursday, December 1st and will be televised LIVE nightly beginning through December 10th at 7:00 Pacific, 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 9:00 Central and 10:00 p.m. Eastern time on Direct TV – CBS Sports Channel 221, or Dish – CBS Sports Channel 158. Click here for the WNFR TV schedule at ProRodeo.com.

Click here to learn more about becoming a member of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, and also enjoy these additional resources:

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