LAS VEGAS – The work is paying off for Carlee Pierce and Streakin Easy April.
On Friday night during the ninth go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Pierce and her talented young horse rounded the cloverleaf pattern in 13.90 seconds to finish second and collect $15,018. It is the tandem’s best finish of this year’s championship.
“I got on her a little bit sooner and warmed her up a little bit more,” said Pierce, a three-time NFR qualifier from Edmond, Okla. “I treated her more like a colt so she could get by the first (barrel). I had her really focused.”
The first barrel has been a little trouble for the filly, a 6-year-old sorrel mare she calls Lolo, who has been wide several go-rounds, slowing the time needed to compete for a top-six round finish. Still, they have placed five times and have earned more than $40,000 in the process.
“I have to actually ride and not put my reins in the middle and just hang on like I did with Dillion and Arson,” she said, referring to veteran horses she had found success on earlier. “It’s a little bit tough, actually, but I didn’t come here with any expectations. I just didn’t want to hit a barrel in the first round, because that’s what I’ve been known for.”
She has found great surprises so far, and one round remains Saturday night. Pierce has a cumulative time of 137.64 seconds on nine runs and is sixth in the average.
“I really thought we’d be 14.3s, and anything faster would be super,” she said. “I had no idea she could compete with this atmosphere and with the horses she’s competing with.”
It has been super.
“Maybe not expecting too much is good,” Pierce said. “I’m used to knowing I have the best horse out there. I’m getting so much feedback, even from people I don’t know, and that shows she’s caught a lot of people’s eyes, even some of the girls here.
“I was just excited I made it to the finals and wanted to go out there and have respectful runs. She has really impressed me.”