As of now, Kailee Webb can call herself the best barrel racer in the nation. But, by Saturday night, she will learn if that title will be a reality.
The University of Wyoming Cowgirl completed her third round of competition Tuesday night at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) with her best time of the week in 14.38 seconds to place second, for now, in the third round, which will be completed Friday night.
With three successful runs, the Isabel, S.D., junior has an accumulated time of 43.52 seconds to lead all barrel racers. She holds a slim three-tenths-of-a-second lead on her closest competitor.
“She had a very good run, and everything is on go” for her heading into Saturday night’s finals, UW Coach George Howard says. “She’s pretty worn out today and, now, she can rest up the next couple of days.”
Howard says things have worked to Webb’s advantage this week with all three rounds now completed before Saturday’s championship round. Now, she can watch her competition and plan strategy for the finals. The top 12 in each event qualify for the short go.
It will be hard for other barrel racers to overtake her, but three sections of cowgirls will try to unseat Webb during the next three night performances.
Earlier Tuesday morning, in the final slack round, Webb was slower on her second ride, timing in 14.61 seconds, good for eighth in the round, but leading in the average after two completed rounds, adding 10 points to the Cowgirls’ team total of 105 points.
“She went a little deep on her second barrel, and it caused her some time, but she did her job and made good on the pattern,” Howard says.
Another UW cowgirl remained in contention for a short go bid after a successful second-round turn in goat tying.
Senior Amelia Anderson also was a bit slower in the second round, but she managed to stop the clock in 6.7 seconds to place 14th in the second go. However, the Forsyth, Mont., native’s first-round time of 6.4 seconds gives her an accumulated time of 13.1 seconds on two, tying her for fifth place with four other competitors in the average.
“She’s in a really good position right now,” Howard says. Anderson’s third run is today (Wednesday).
Two other UW team members are basically out of the running for Saturday night’s championship round with difficult second-round goat tying attempts.
Wyoming products — Cori Terry, of McKinnon, and Casey Reimler, of Rozet — both stumbled once they reached the ground running toward their goats. Terry posted a 9.6-second time, while Reimler was somewhat better at 7.8 seconds.
Terry is 15.3 on two with her third and final round scheduled for tonight’s (Wednesday) performance. Reimler’s week came to an end Tuesday night with a no-time in her third and final run when her goat got loose from its tie. Terry finishes her first CNFR tonight.
The Cowgirls are splitting fourth place with the University of Tennessee-Martin with a projected 175 team points. Sam Houston State University, with 295 points, is the overall leader. Since the third round is not yet completed, team scores will change throughout the week.
The team roping partners of brothers Denton and Dusty Taylor have an outside chance of qualifying, but they’ll need another low time as the one they produced in the second round.
The Craig, Colo., pair managed to stop the clock in 5.9 seconds, good enough to place fifth in the round.
“They’re not completely out of it just yet,” Howard says. “But, they need to come back strong again Thursday night.”
Their chances looked tough after the opening round when they had a no-time. They wrap up the third round Thursday.