Tovar Tops Leaderboard in Super Series II in Houston

Courtesy of RodeoHouston Kelly Tovar

By Jolee Jordan

HOUSTON -- There is little argument that RodeoHouston is not the easiest pen for a barrel horse. Setting on the floor of NRG Stadium, the arena is literally the size of a football field. However, the barrel pattern is very small, similar in size to little indoor rodeos like the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) or the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

Because of this setup, the barrels are no where near a fence. Adding to the level of difficulty, the first barrel is very close to the alleyway, creating a situation where horses leave the darkness of the alleyway on the full run but must be ready to turn almost immediately.

All that said, it takes a special horse to handle the unique conditions--which also includes a huge crowd, often more than 50,000 strong.
So when a competitor arrives here and has more than one choice of mounts, it would make sense to choose the most experienced horse in her rig.
Right?

Not for Texan Kelly Tovar, who left 10-year-old Edwin at home, saddling up the 5-year-old, Bakken, instead.

"I bought him in October -- he won the BFA (Barrel Futurities of America), running the fastest time ever," Tovar says. Despite a stellar record from the futurities under the saddle of Molli Montgomery, Bakken did not debut in the rodeos until San Antonio.

"He did well but no money," Tovar says. Competing in her first RodeoHouston, Tovar decided that the setup was more suited to the young gun than the veteran and went with her gut.

"I was super nervous my first run as this was also my first time at RodeoHouston as well as Bakken's," she notes.

RodeoHouston has been a tournament style event since 2007 and has been WPRA approved eight of those years. Forty ladies receive the invite to compete based on a mix of 2017 and 2016 WPRA World and Tour standings along special invites to the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association Champion and the winners of the All American Pro Rodeo Series Finals and the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. Past RodeoHouston champs get a call as well as do special invites from the committee.

The 40 competitors are divided into five brackets with each group getting three rounds of competition. The top four money winners after the third round advance to the semifinals. Following that round, the top five money winners move into the finals. The finals field is filled out with two more ladies from a Wild Card Round--the 12 semifinalists who fail to advance from that round get one more last chance run.

The final night is a two-run shootout for the huge $50,000 payday awaiting the winner of the final round. All 10 competitors run once and the field is narrowed to the four fastest. After a brief break, the four run one more time to determine the champion. All rounds are sudden death.

Competing in Super Series II, Tovar called her first run on Friday night "less than stellar." She failed to place on a night where Wyoming cowgirl Cassidy Kruse took top honors. Kruse and Scooter stopped the clock at 14.43 seconds for the win.

Meanwhile, Tovar went to her "go-to-gal" Ann Thompson for some advice.

"We regrouped and she helped me tremendously, so with every run he just got better," notes Tovar. In fact, during the second round, she beat all the experience in the field with a smooth run of 14.19 seconds.

Badlands Circuit cowgirl Britta Thiel led the pack going into the Super Series II Championship Round on Sunday with a wide open field behind her.

Sunday proved to be a difficult day for barrel racers as the community learned of the passing of two-time WNFR competitor Nancy Hunter. The news hit especially hard given that Hunter was here just last year, competing to defend her three straight titles earned at RodeoHouston aboard the great Fuzz from 2013-2015; in fact, she ran the two fastest runs of the rodeo.

Though mourning the loss, the group seemed inspired on Sunday afternoon, putting up the fastest round of the rodeo.

Tovar led the group with a 14.09 second effort but was nipped in the end by the come-from-behind cowgirl of the Super Series, Tiany Schuster. The WPRA world-leading Schuster made a horse change following round one, and by round three, Hoosier had found his groove.

Schuster won the day with a 14.02-second run.

After a second-place finish on Sunday, Tovar was named the champion of SSII with $5,000 won. She advanced on to the semifinals along with round-one winner Kruse, round-three winner Schuster, and Thiel, whose two checks also totaled to $3,000 for a three-way tie.

Tovar was quick to credit all those who helped her during the set including Montgomery and particularly her horses.

"Bakken and Edwin have blessed me so much," Tovar said. "I'm so thankful for them both and my family and friends that were there to support me!"

RodeoHouston continues Monday with Super Series III. Headliners include last year's reserve champion in Houston, Brenda Mays, along with six cowgirls who competed in Las Vegas last December: Jana Bean, Pam Capper, Jackie Ganter, Stevi Hillman, Sarah Rose McDonald, and Cayla Small. Southeastern Circuit champ Sabra O'Quinn completes the field coming off a big showing at San Antonio last month.

Super Series II
1st Go

1. Cassidy Kruse, Dash to Tim, 14.43, $3,000
2. Mary Walker, Perculatin, 14.57, $2,000
3. Britta Thiel, YHS Texs Roger, 14.58, $1,000
4. Fallon Taylor, Flos Heiress, 14.62, $750

2nd Go
1. Kelly Tovar, A Dash ta Glamour, 14.19, $3,000
2. Thiel, 14.21, $2,000
3. Taylor, 14.27, $1,000
4. Michele McLeod, Steakinflingindisco, 14.63, $750

 3rd Go
1. Tiany Schuster, Hoosier Fame, 14.14.02, 43,000
2. Tovar, 14.09, $2,000
3. Taylor, 14.35, $1,000
4. Walker, $14.42, $750

Total Money Won
*Tovar, $5,000
*Thiel, $3,000
*Kruse, $3,000
*Schuster, $3,000
Taylor, $2,750
Walker, $2,750
McLeod, $750
*Advance to Semi-Finals

Courtesy of WPRA

Ky Marshall Leads Bareback Competition After Day One At 2017 Pro Agribition

Ky Marshall

Under the floodlights at the spectator-packed Brandt Centre, competitors at the 2017 Pro Agribition Rodeo showed they weren't holding anything back on the first day. Although Pool A athletes at the Pro Agribition Rodeo will have to wait to learn their fate until Friday, when Pool B competitors take their first-round runs and rides, it's never too early to break down the leaderboard—let's start with today's top bareback rider.

CINCH Boyd Gaming Chute-Out Touts World-Champion Competitors for 2017

© Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports FloSports: FloRodeo World Championship

Press release provided by Boyd Gaming

LAS VEGAS — Boyd Gaming has unveiled the full roster of competitors and world-champion rodeo talent set to compete in the third-annual CINCH Boyd Gaming Chute-Out, happening Dec. 7-9 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

New Faces At The Canadian Western Agribition

Shayna Weir 20246127_10154781397968443_8638063281970904070_n.jpg

While there will be many familiar faces at this year’s Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, Saskatchewan, here’s a rundown on some new faces you probably haven’t met yet.

Getting A Jump Start On The Competition: Canadian Western Agribition

Canadian Western Agribition unnamed.jpg

Even though the snow seems to have settled in for the winter and most rodeo athletes have either headed south or hunkered down, the Canadian Western Agribition offers a chance for competitors to kick-start their 2018 season. With one of the top 10 largest payouts in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) Season, Agribition in Regina, Saskatchewan, is a great opportunity for the competitors to get ahead of the game before they pack it in for the winter.

Athletes Fresh Off CFR Win Head to Agribition

Jason Thomas 1901465_826018790772979_8614827697792271285_n.jpg

The top athletes of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association have hardly worn the shine off buckles, or even had a chance to break in their Canadian champion saddles, before the 2018 season is yet to begin. The cowboys are still reeling from the exciting CFR44 last week at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, but with the next event kicking off in Regina, Saskatchewan, on November 22, they hardly have time to reminisce. It’s time to prepare for the Canadian Western Agribition.

5 Highlights Of Epic Week At Canadian Finals Rodeo

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports Garrett Smith

By Lincoln Shryack

The biggest rodeo event north of the border — Canadian Finals Rodeo — concluded on Sunday in Edmonton, as several of the world’s best cowboys and cowgirls competed for big prize money and gold buckles at the Canadian Professional Rodeo season finale.

Scott Snedecor Wins Third Steer Roping World Title

Scott Snedecor Scott Snedecor

By Lincoln Shryack

Forty-two-year-old Texas cowboy Scott Snedecor took home his third career steer roping world championship title on Saturday at the 2017 National Finals Steer Roping (NFSR) in Mulvane, Kansas. Snedecor was propelled to the top spot by winning the average at the Kansas Star Arena, roping nine head in 104.1 seconds over the two-day competition.

Who Has The Top Season In PBR History?

© Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports Rodeo: PBR-Winstar World Casino Inventional

By Lincoln Shryack

Now that the 2017 PBR season is in the books and 20-year-old Jess Lockwood has established himself as the greatest bull rider in the world, we felt like it was a good time to see how this year’s top cowboy stacks up against past PBR champions. Which world champion can claim the best PBR single season in history? We’ve combed through the bull riding record books to find the answer.

Jess Lockwood Becomes Youngest To Win PBR World Title

Jess Lockwood jpeg.jpg

By Lincoln Shryack

Twenty-year-old Jess Lockwood made history on Sunday night in Las Vegas as he became the youngest PBR World Champion of all time after finishing third in the bull riding World Finals. The Montana cowboy is just the second rider in history to follow up a rookie of the year season with a world title, as Silvano Alves of Brazil first accomplished the feat back in 2011.

Young Guns: The Five Best Cowboys 20 And Under

Cooper Martin

By Lincoln Shryack

Inspired by 20-year-old Jess Lockwood and his impressive round one victory last night at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas, we’re highlighting the rodeo young guns who are making the most noise in the professional ranks.

These cowboys are all 20 years old or younger, and each man has been among the very best in their respective disciplines in 2017. With these five leading the way, an exciting future awaits rodeo fans.