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2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 1

Happy Friday Everyone!

It is that joyful time of the year… the WRANGLER NATIONAL FINALS RODEO has begun and has taken Las Vegas by Storm!

For those of you who don’t know the NFR is the Super Bowl of Rodeo. The World’s top 15 contestants in each PRCA event and the WPRA Barrel Racing compete for 10 nights in a row in Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas!  The Wrangler NFR Experience hosts multiple events, concerts, and western shopping convention centers all over Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont for the next 10 days. If you love Rodeo, you must add the NFR to your bucket list! It is a must and an absolute blast! I’m hoping to go next year for my 3rd time! I’ve missed the last two years.

To try to cure my blues of missing out on the action in Vegas this year, I have decided to feature the NFR on the Blog. I will feature posts on the mainly on the Barrel Racers (since I am an avid barrel racer myself). I will also do a recap at the end of all the NFR featuring the results and world title winners! So stay tuned!

The Performance Schedule:

Dates: December 1st-December 10th

Time: 6:45 pm Pacific Time

Watch the NFR Live on TV on CBS Sports! Direct TV – CBS Sports Channel 221
Dish – CBS Sports Channel 158

NFR Round 1: Barrel Racing


Last night I was able to get to watch the barrel racing on TV. I have been looking forward to this all week! This year there are two Northwestern gals who made it in the top 15 in the World, Pamela Capper and Amberleigh Moore. I have been following Pam for years and cheering her on. First of all, she is a Cheney, WA cowgirl, which is about an hour away from my hometown. She’s been a Columbia Circuit River Champion for the past 5 straight years and has been in the top 25 in the WPRA world standings for the past four years. Amber is an Oregon cowgirl, but I have competed against her in some large Northwestern 4D barrel races. She also is riding a horse (Paige) that my current trainer, raised and trained.

Both of these wonderful cowgirls are a huge inspiration, because it is very rare and tough for barrel racers in the Northwest to qualify for the NFR. Mainly because of our later winter months. Texas rodeos start earlier in the new year (December/January) so it is easier for barrel racers who live in Texas and the surrounding states to get a jump in the standings. Barrel Racers who live in the Northwest usually have a later start to their rodeo season, due to weather and long distant traveling. In order for them to qualify for the NFR, they really have to play catch up and choose rodeos who have large payouts and be successful at winning them. It is a year long journey to make it the the NFR, but once they arrive in Vegas, it is a very rewarding experience! I can only imagine how much adrenaline they have while running through the alley way and the arena at the Thomas and Mack Center!

Congratulations Pam and Jesse!


After sitting on pins and needles watching the first 10 runners, you could tell how much determination was in that arena to win. Many of those barrel racers where having issues finding the first barrel, knocking down barrels, and getting a rhythm. The first round is always challenging. The riders have to keep their horses under control through a long and noisy alleyway. They are blind running to the first barrel, which if you are a barrel racer you know that is your money barrel, the one that sets the pace for the rest of your run. Not to mention the adrenaline, nerves and noise from a packed crowd and loud music that fills the Thomas and Mack Center. There really is nothing like it. All of your hard work and training comes in to play. The first round is always the round that will tell you where you might have problem spots and if your horse has potential to succeed. As the week goes on the horses get more and more comfortable in the Thomas and Mack atmosphere. It is a single rodeo competition each night but also an endurance race since there is also an average payout at the end of the NFR.


As Pam walked in the arena, I knew she was a contender, even if this was her first time competing at the NFR. Her mare Jesse is one of a kind. A horse who can run consistent in a small arena like the Yakima Sun Dome (12 second-pattern) but also win on the Green Mile at Pendleton. As she ran towards the 1st barrel, she and Jesse executed a text book turn and continued to make 2 more beautiful and fast turns. The timer showed a 13.75 second time which was the winning time for the go round! I was so happy for her! We rarely see a Northwestern cowgirl win a go round at the NFR, let alone a cowgirl from Washington State! I can’t wait to see how that mare will do the rest of the week! Maybe a new arena record holder? We shall see! Round 2 is tonight!

— Read this article here about Pam’s win from Barrel Horse News —

— To watch the Barrel Racing in Round One click here

Barrel Racing Round 1 Results:

Barrel Racing Results – First Go Round:
1. Pamela Capper, 13.75, $26,230
2. Kimmie Wall, 13.90, $20,731
3. Jana Bean, 13.93, $15,654
4. Sherry Cervi, 13.96, $11,000
5. Amberleigh Moore, 14.02, $6,769
6. Mary Burger, 14.10, $4,231
7. Lisa Lockhart, 14.11, $0
8. Jackie Ganter, 14.19, $0
9. Cayla Melby Small, 14.24, $0
10. Mary Walker, 14.32, $0
11. Stevi Hillman, 14.40, $0
12. Michele McLeod, 18.79*, $0
13. Carley Richardson, 18.89*, $0
14. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.92*, $0
15. Ivy Conrado, NT, $0
1. Pamela Capper, 13.75, $26,230
2. Kimmie Wall, 13.90, $20,731
3. Jana Bean, 13.93, $15,654
4. Sherry Cervi, 13.96, $11,000
5. Amberleigh Moore, 14.02, $6,769
6. Mary Burger, 14.10, $4,231
7. Lisa Lockhart, 14.11, $0
8. Jackie Ganter, 14.19, $0
9. Cayla Melby Small, 14.24, $0
10. Mary Walker, 14.32, $0
11. Stevi Hillman, 14.40, $0
12. Michele McLeod, 18.79, $0
13. Carley Richardson, 18.89, $0
14. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.92, $0
15. Ivy Conrado, 0, $0
Current World Standings after Round 1:
1. Mary Burger; $205,207
2. Kimmie Wall; $138,526
3. Jackie Ganter; $126,387
4. Pamela Capper; $123,736
5. Mary Walker; $122,816
6. Ivy Conrado; $121,160
7. Stevi Hillman; $114,643
8. Lisa Lockhart; $110,244
9. Jana Bean; $105,989
10. Sherry Cervi; $104,679
11. Sarah McDonald; $99,364
12. Michele McLeod; $97,745
13. Cayla Melby Small; $97,737
14. Amberleigh Moore; $95,837
15. Carley Richardson; $90,875
Original World Standings:
1. Mary Burger; $190, 977
2. Jackie Ganter; $116,387
3. Mary Walker; $112,816
4. Ivy Conrado; $116,160
5. Kimmie Wall; $107,795
6. Stevi Hillman; $104,643
7. Lisa Lockhart; $100,244
8. Sarah Rose McDonald; $89,364
9. Michele McLeod; $87,745
10. Cayla Melby Small; $87,737
11. Pamela Capper; $87, 505
12. Sherry Cervi; $83,679
13. Carley Richardson; $80,875
14. Jana Bean; $80,336
15. Amberleigh Moore; $79,068


Fun Facts about the Round 1 winning Barrel Racer:

Name: Pamela Capper
NFR Back Number: 49
Hometown: Cheney, Washington
NFR Qualifications: 1
Joined WPRA: 2000
Horse: Sheza Smooth Flight “Jesse”, 14 year old mare- Pam raised and trained Jesse
Pedigree: Link

WPRA Contestant Quick Minute:

Top two highlights (excluding qualifying for NFR):

Winning the San Angelo (Texas) Stock Show and Rodeo as it kick started my season. The second highlight was the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up as it sealed by first NFR qualification.

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.

In 10 words or less describe your 2016 season:

Meeting goals, going to new rodeos and having a strong September.

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.

Describe your horse’s running and turning style and how they will do with the Thomas and Mack set-up:

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.

*Information is provided from the WPRA website*

|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 1|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 2|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 3|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 4|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 5|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 6|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 7|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 8|2016 NFR Barrel Racing: Round 9|


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