LAS VEGAS – Carlee Pierce is playing the role of train engineer this week.
She is riding Lolo, a 6-year-old sorrel mare, during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s most prestigious event. Lolo is playing the part of the choo choo train.
She just keeps chugging along.
On Saturday night during the third go-round, Pierce and Lolo crossed the cloverleaf tracks in 14.20 seconds, their fastest time so far. They finished in a tie for seventh place in the round, just out of the money, but they have consistently circled the pattern with clean runs and smart times.
Now they are third in the all-important average race with a three-run cumulative time of 43.30 seconds.
“I am keeping her throttled down,” Pierce said Sunday afternoon. “Last night it was just being save and having smooth runs. She’s a young horse, and I have to remind myself of that. I know she will be the best horse I have ever ridden if I don’t ask for too much too fast.”
This season marks the third time in four years the Edmond, Okla., cowgirl has played on ProRodeo’s biggest stage; she also qualified in 2011-12. Those years, she leaned on a trusted veteran in Dillion. Now she’s working with young horses, which is a rare occurrence at the NFR.
“I have to give these girls a chance,” she said, referring to Lolo and Tiny, a 5-year-old sorrel mare. “This is their time. I’m very proud of Lolo. She’s done very well here so far.”