LAS VEGAS – Reddy was ready when it came to the second go-round of the National Finals Rodeo, and Kylie Weast reaped the rewards.
Weast, a first-time NFR qualifier from Comanche, Okla., pushed her season earnings to $131,600 on Friday night by rounding the cloverleaf pattern inside the Thomas & Mack Center in 13.70 seconds to finish third on the second night of ProRodeo’s grand finale. That was worth $15,654 and increased her Vegas cash to a little less than $30,000.
That’s not too bad for just two days of work. It marked the second straight night the Prairie Circuit champion has placed and increased her opportunities for more cash over the next eight nights in Sin City.
While this is Weast’s first venture to the Nevada desert to compete for the world title, she has some genetic experience. Her grandmother, Florence Youree, was a multiple-time qualifier who was part of the first NFR field in 1959; her mother, Renee Ward, was part of the field in 1985, the first year the championship took place in Las Vegas; and her sister, Janae Ward Massey, was a three-time qualifier in the early 2000s who won the world title in 2003.
But the bloodlines don’t stop there. Weast is also carrying on another family tradition with Reddy, which has the registered name Hell on the Red. The 6-year-old sorrel mare is sired by JL Dash Ta Heaven, which carried Benette Little to the NFR in 2012.
That stallion’s dam is Dynas Plain Special, Reddy’s grandmother, was the leading force behind Massey’s gold buckle 15 seasons ago. All three talented sorrels helped their jockeys to the NFR pay window. That season, Massey left Las Vegas with just shy of $112,000 in earnings, and that was well before the championship featured a $10 million purse.
The key for Weast, as was the case 60 years ago when her grandmother rounded the finale’s cloverleaf pattern, is making sure Reddy is a physically prepared. But the jockey also needs her time to focus and prepare on the task at hand.
The Youree clan operates a business centered around raising and training barrel racing horses. Having a solid run through this 10 days in the City of Lights is good for business, but there’s more to it. Weast has ridden all season to earn the right to compete at the NFR, and this is the icing on the cake.
Each dollar not only helps make ends meet, but dollars equal championship points; the barrel racer who finishes the campaign with the most money won will earn the Montana Silversmiths gold buckle.
The family already has one in its trophy case; another would fit in quite nicely.