By: Hope Sickler
Fifteen-year-old Tayla Moeykens capped off a successful weekend in Loveland, CO, by coming out on top in a salty Jr NFR qualifier held in conjunction with Mile Hi Barrel Production's Gene Ellis Memorial Barrel Race on April 15. Moeykens rode 13-year-old Tell Em Dasher to the victory, and in the process, booked her spot for the world championships in Las Vegas in December.
The Jr NFR Barrel Race/KK Run For Vegas was started in 2016 as the vision of two-time world champion and multiple NFR qualifier Kelly Kaminski. This year 10 KK Run For Vegas 4D qualifiers have been scheduled around the country. With four qualifiers down, the future stars of barrel racing have six more chances to get qualified for Vegas!
A Three Forks, MT, native and high school freshman, Moeykens had her sights set on qualifying since she heard about the event.
"This was the first Jr NFR Qualifier that I have been to," Moeykens said. "I didn't know about them last year until all the qualifiers were over, so I am very excited to be going to Vegas in December. I set this as a goal ever since I heard about it."
Moeykens and Tell Em Dasher stopped the clock with a blistering 17.305, outrunning the rest of the field by over 0.2 of a second. "Tell" is owned and trained by Robin Bauer from Butte, MT, and is by Fishers Dash and out of Teller Cash by Dash For Cash.
Two years ago, [Bauer] asked me if I wanted to ride him in an American qualifier," Moeykens said. "We were fortunate enough to qualify and make it through the semifinal round in Fort Worth. He has a big personality and loves carrots. He is very talented, and I feel very fortunate that Robin chose me to jockey him.Other qualifiers who punched their tickets to Vegas in December for the KK Run For Vegas/Jr NFR Barrel Racing were Jordan Morman, Reece Stanley, Sadie Shake, and Lauren Fritzler in the senior barrel racing and Talli Engel, Bre Hicks, Kamryn Adent, Nayah Murphy, and Teagan Miller in the junior barrel racing.
The next qualifier will be held May 13 in Waco, Texas! Check out www.kellykbarrelracing.com for a full list of remaining qualifiers as well as rules and information on the races.