Barrel racing’s best coming to OKC

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Elite Cowgirls Bringing Top Racehorses to Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo

OKLAHOMA CITY Jim Norick Arena at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds has hosted some of the greatest horse races in the history of rodeo.

The 2012 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo might be the best of them all.

Sherry Cervi
Sherry Cervi

Held inside the storied coliseum, ProRodeo’s National Championship will feature the top two cowgirls from the 12 circuits spread across the United States. All 24 cowgirls will be chasing one of the most sought-after titles in the sport during the four days of competition scheduled for March 29-April 1.

Eight qualifiers have been to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, ProRodeo’s grand finale. Seven of those ran in Las Vegas this past December: Lisa Lockhart, Brenda Mays, Christina Richman, Jeanne Anderson, Carlee Pierce, Sherry Cervi and Brittany Pozzi; Shelley Morgan was an NFR qualifier in 2009.

“I think it’s going to be a little bit of an NFR with the names that I’ve seen that are going to be competing,” said Pozzi, a two-time world champion from Victoria, Texas.

Brittany Pozzi
Brittany Pozzi

It’ll be one heck of a horserace, just as it is every time the elite cowgirls in the game match their talented mounts against one another. In December, both Pozzi and Cervi battled late into the NFR before Canadian Lindsay Sears walked away with the Montana Silversmiths gold buckle. Now it’s time to test themselves and their talented horses in Oklahoma City

“This rodeo has always been important to me,” said Cervi, of Marana, Ariz., the 2011 Turquoise Circuit barrel racing champion who owns three world titles. “It’s a great event that has a lot of prestige, so you always want to do well at it.

“I’m excited about going back there. Last year being in Oklahoma City the first year there, I thought it was a good barrel race. The committee was good to work with, and the whole event was exciting.”

Cervi is an 11-time qualifier to the national circuit finals, where the very best competitors in the sport earn the right to play for one of the largest purses in the sport, more than $525,000. The event provides another prestigious championship event for rodeo-savvy Oklahoma City, the longtime host of the NFR and the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. The 2012 event marks the second straight year the RNCFR is part of Oklahoma’s storied rodeo legacy, a place that knows what makes a true champion.

Pozzi has qualified for just the second time in her career, making a concerted effort to secure the Texas Circuit year-end title. If the title wasn’t enough motivation for the Texas cowgirl, the chance to compete in Oklahoma City added just the right amount of enticement.

Carlee Pierce
Carlee Pierce

“I think that’s a good arena for anything,” she said. “They have every event you can possibly imagine there.”

That’s a positive note for Oklahoma City. It’s also a good thing for the 24 women who hope to make a significant living in four days of competition, like Theresa Walter a four-time qualifier to the RNCFR and a former champion from Billings, Mont.

“The venue is awesome,” she said of Jim Norick Arena. “It is set up to let you win.

“It’s just great to be able to be there just based on the amount of money a contestant can win at just one rodeo. I always look forward to going.”

About Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo:
ExpressLazy E Sports Productions, in conjunction with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, produces the annual event. The 2012 RNCFR will be one of the richest rodeos in the world.

The RNCFR is the showcase event of each year’s circuit season. Each of the 12 ProRodeo circuits sends two competitors in each event to the RNCFR – the year-end earnings champion and the winner of each Ram-sponsored circuit final – to compete for cash, a national championship and a Dodge vehicle voucher. The event took place in Pocatello, Idaho, from 1987-2010.

From 1965-78, the Oklahoma State Fair Arena (then known as the Jim Norick State Fair Arena) was home to the National Finals Rodeo, where, under the direction of General Manager Clem McSpadden, it became a major league sports event.

RNCFR tickets are on sale now.  For more information, contact the Express-Lazy E at (405) 282-RIDE or (405) 232-GOAL.


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