LAS VEGAS – Carlee Pierce and Rare Dillion scored the fastest two runs at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the latter of which put an exclamation point to a fantastic 2012 campaign.
The tandem circled the pattern in 13.57 seconds on Saturday night to win the 10th go-round – the final night of the season; it was her second round victory, the other coming with a 13.51 on the sixth night of the championship. That final check worth $18,257 pushed Pierce’s NFR earnings to $79,802.
Most importantly, it pushed her season earnings to $204,322, enough to finish as runner-up to world champion Mary Walker.
“Dillion felt really good today,” said Pierce, who owns the arena record with a 13.46-second run in 2011. “He was excited to be here. I think I need 10 more rounds. Next year I’m going to change that up a little bit and have 10 good rounds instead of having a few great runs.”
In two trips to ProRodeo’s grand finale, Pierce has earned more than $130,000. She placed in five rounds, including three second-place finishes.
But it’s been a year of seconds. Pierce earned runner-up finishes at several bit events in 2012 – Houston, San Antonio, Cody (Wyo.), the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo and the Canadian Finals Rodeo. She finished 2011 fourth in the final world standings, then took another giant leap this season.
“I wasn’t expecting to be the reserve world champion at all,” she said inside the NFR media room. “I just came back here to get my fast-time saddle, and Kathi (Myers) told me she was waiting on the results and that I might be the reserve champion.
“I’m just moving up the ladder. That next year is my gold buckle year. I’m going to work real hard at it.”