By Woodard, Dale on August 23, 2019.
Queenie put in a royal run.
That has put Rebecca Miller into the weekend portion of the Western Events at Whoop-Up Days following a top time of 13.914 seconds in the qualifying round of the ladies barrel racing Thursday night at Exhibition Park.
After 2017 champion Lynette Brodoway set the evening’s fastest time with a 13. 993 in the eight ride of the night, Miller and Queenie – her nine-year-old mare – snipped mere tenths of a second off for Thursday’s fast time.
Those two times were more than enough to land Miller and Brodoway into the top-10 riders who will race for top spot this weekend.
“It was good,” said Miller, who hails from Dalemead. “My horse felt really strong and she ran really well. I was happy with how things went today.”
Also earning a top-10 time and the right to ride this weekend are Rose Perozak (14.086), Toni Dixon (14.088), Val Gillespie (14.105), Mariah Mannering (14.173), Leanne Sine (14.308), Shannon Van Buskirk (14.309), Madison Wright (14.313) and Kristen Nickolson (14.360).
On Thursday, Queenie continued to show she’s nicely on the comeback trail from an injury sustained two years ago.
“I’ve been rodeoing with this horse at some pro rodeos and we’ve had a pretty good season,” said Miller. “She’s just coming back from an injury this season, so I haven’t ran her as much as I would maybe like to, but I’m trying to be careful with where I run her so she stays happy and healthy.”
In 2017, Queenie slipped at a rodeo and strained a ligament.
“She could have come back sooner,” said Miller. “But I gave her a bunch of time off just so she could heal up really well.”
Quennie showed she felt fine right out of the gate, even if the rider usually can’t tell what the ride will be like right in the moment.
“You can tell if it’s really bad,” said Miller with a laugh. “But you can’t tell if you’re going to be first or not. There are a lot of tough horses out there that can get you. So you just have to do what it can and hope it works.”
Brodoway was the other ride that came in under the 14-second mark Thursday.
That will set her up to go for another title this weekend.
“My horse worked well and obviously Keslers put on a good deal and the Walters organized a great barrel race, so all-in-all it was a lot of fun,” said Brodoway, who has been running professionally this year. “I’m right on the bubble as far as making the Finals. So I’m off to another rodeo in that circuit tomorrow night in that circuit and maybe back here Saturday night.”
Brodoway comes into the weekend well-versed on the Exhibition Park surroundings.
“It’s exciting. My horse likes this setup,” she said.
“It’s an interesting setup because that first barrel is stuck out there. But he likes this setup, so I’ll give him the credit for that.”
Jessica Van Buskirk won’t race this weekend, but her sister will thanks to Shannon’s time of 14.309.
“She’s got an awesome mare and she’s worked her butt off,” said Jessica of her sibling. “I’m super-proud of her. She’s been doing well well at the CCA rodeos and now coming here she’s right up here with the professional girls. I’m proud of her and I’m excited for tomorrow.
“We’ve always travelled together and we learn a lot from each other. She gives me tips and I give her tips and we criticize each others runs. It’s nice to compete against each other. I love it.”
Jessica managed a time in the low 15’s Thursday night with time of 15.127.
“My mare, this is only her second year running rodeo, she’s just a jackpot horse,” she said. “I was really proud of her. She has struggled a little bit in bigger arenas and the first barrel is really far off the fence. So my game plan was to just go in there and cruise to the first barrel and hopefully she would turn it and she did. She went a step by, but I was super-proud of her.”
The rodeo fires up tonight with the saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding joining the barrel racing beginning at 6:30 p.m.
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