LAS VEGAS – The Thomas & Mack Center’s arena is not the optimum place to race around the cloverleaf pattern that is barrel racing.
The women and their blazing fast horses sprint down a blind alley, then must find the first barrel as quickly as possible. Even veteran Wrangler National Finals Rodeo horses struggle at times through the 10-round championship.
Carlee Pierce isn’t riding a veteran. In fact, she’s riding Lolo, a 6-year-old sorrel mare now competing at a rodeo for just the 10th time in her life. On Thursday night during the eighth round, the tandem finished the pattern in 14.10 seconds.
While that is amazingly fast, it was well off the pace to collect a check. The biggest component, though, was that first barrel, where Pierce and Lolo took a wide turn. In an event that is separated by hundredths of a second, that extra time made all the difference in the world. They finished 10th in the round – only the top six times cash a check.
Pierce has remained steady on the filly. Their cumulative time of 123.74 seconds is eighth in the average race. If she holds that position, the Edmond, Okla., cowgirl can add $4,597 when the rodeo concludes Saturday night.
But Pierce looks to cash in a little sooner than that. Each round offers a $61,298 purse, with the winners pocketing $19,000. There are two nights remaining on the 2014 ProRodeo season, and she looks to make a little more bank in the process. So far, she has earned $25,439.