SAN ANGELO, Texas – By Ted Harbin – Amberleigh Moore has a lot of faith in her young partner, a 7-year-old mare she calls Paige.
“She’s taking me for the ride right now,” said Moore of Keizer, Ore. “Ever since I fell off, she’s hit a new gear. The rodeos I went to this week – Jackson (Miss.), Belton (Texas) and here – she’s taken off like she did in Vegas, and I’m literally just hanging on for the ride.”
She held on pretty well, circling the cloverleaf pattern Sunday afternoon at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo in a rodeo-best 13.99 seconds. She owns the second-round lead and also sits No. 1 in the average with a cumulative time of 29.90 seconds on two runs. It’s all been a whirlwind since she took a nasty spill last weekend in Fort Worth, Texas.
As she came around the third barrel on the afternoon of Feb. 4, the latigo broke on her saddle. Shortly after Paige crossed the scoring line, Moore hit the dirt hard. She is still sore, but she’s been riding with a huge smile on her face. She won the rodeo in Belton this weekend and leads Jackson.
All this coming shortly after her inaugural run at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where she earned more than $187,000 in 10 days and catapulted to the No. 2 spot in the final world standings.
“The momentum from last year is carrying over,” Moore said. “After Vegas, she got a month off. She hasn’t slowed down since the first run I put on her. That mare has not backed off one bit.
“This is our third year on the trail, so this is the third time she’s been in these pens. She knows what she’s doing and where she’s at. From 2016 to 2017, she’s just a year older and a year stronger. She’ll be 8 years old in May, and I’ve just let her do this on her own.”
It’s working, and now she’s made her plans to return to San Angelo on Friday for the championship round.
“She took off from the alleyway, and she was smooth and fast,” she said of Sunday’s run. “Last year, I ran a 13.99 and (knocked down) the third barrel to win the second round and take the lead in the average. This year I made up for it. This year I was determined to run clean around the third barrel.
“Last year I didn’t do any good at the winter rodeos. I tipped a lot of barrels. This year is setting up so it’s not so hard later in the year. If you can do well at these winter rodeos, it can set you up so that your summer run is easier.”
In 2016, Moore scrambled to finish the regular season 15th in the world standings, taking the last qualifying spot for the NFR. She’d like to have an easier time making it back to Las Vegas in December, and she knows the road she needs to take. More importantly, she knows that Paige is the right speedster to get her back. She is 14th in the world standings with nearly $11,000 in earnings.
“She’s one in a million,” Moore said her mare. “She gets bored being at home. She likes being out on the road with me.”
It shows in every run the tandem makes.
Bareback riding leaders: 1. Austin Foss, 89 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Craig at Midnight; 2. Orin Larsen, 87.5; 3. (tie) Devan Reilly, Tyler Nelson and Ty Breuer, 86 points each; 6. Kelly Timberman, 85; 7. Seth Hardwick, 83; 8. Clint Laye, 81; 9. (tie) Jamie Howlett and Casey Breuer, 80 each; 11. (tie) Justin McDaniel, Joel Schlegel, Luke Creasy and Jordan Pelton, 79 each.
Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Tyler Waguespack and Dakota Eldridge, 3.3 seconds each; 3. (tie) Ty Erickson, Blake Knowles, Luke Branquinho and Justen Notes, 3.5 each; 7. Stephen Culling, 3.6; 8. (tie) Baylor Roche and Justin Shaffer, 3.7 each. Second round leaders: 1. David Hinman, 3.3 seconds; 2. (tie) Baylor Roche, Dirk Tavenner and Josh Peek, 3.5 each; 5. (tie) Timmy Sparring, Clayton Hass, Nick Guy Todd Suhn and Rowdy Thomas, 3.6 each. Average leaders: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 7.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Baylor Roche, 7.2; 3. Todd Suhn, 7.4; 4. (tie) Josh Peek and Blake Knowles, 7.7 each; 6. (tie) Kyle Whitaker and Cooper Shofner, 7.9 each; 8. (tie) Nick Guy, Dakota Eldridge, David Hinman and Dakota Champion, 8.0 each; 12. (tie) Dirk Tavenner and Ty Erickson, 8.1 each.
Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 3.8 seconds; 2. JoJo LeMond/Quinn Kesler, 4.1; 3. Bart Brunson/Trace Porter, 4.2; 4. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 4.3; 5. (tie) Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz and Charly Crawford/Joseph Harrison, 4.5 each; 7. (tie) Shawn Besette/Sid Sporer, Tate Kirchenschlager/Trevor Kirchenschlager and Cole Markham/Nick Simmons, 4.6. Second round leaders: 1. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 3.9 seconds; 2. Nick Sartain/Justin Davis, 4.0; 3. (tie) Caleb Smidt/B.J. Dugger and Matt Sherwood/Joel Bach, 4.1 each; 5. Brett Stuart/Wesley Moss, 4.2; 6. John Alley/Clark Adcock, 4.3; 7. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 4.4; 8. (tie) Zac Small/Will Woodfin, Travis Tryan/Chase Tryan and Luke Brown/Jake Long, 4.5. Average leaders: 1. Tate Kirchenschlager/Trevor Kirchenschlager, 9.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 9.9 seconds; 3. Chase Massengill/Kory Bramwell, 10.1; 4. Clayton Van Aken/Shawn Darnall, 10.3; 5. Seth Hall/Byron Wilkerson, 10.6; 6. Dustin Bird/Russell Cardoza, 10.9; 7. Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 13.3; 8. Caleb Smidt/B.J. Dugger, 13.4; 9. Travis Tryan/Chase Tryan, 13.9; 10. Charly Crawford/Joseph Harrison, 14.5; 11. Ty Blasingame/Kollin VonAhn, 15.2; 12. Brandon Webb/Mickey Gomez, 15.5.
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Ryder Wright, 81 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Pendleton Whisky Django; 2. (tie) Magin Lane Montoya, Dalton Davis, Isaac Diaz and Layton Green, 80 each; 6. CoBurn Bradshaw, 79.5; 7. (tie) Zeke Thurston and Jesse Kruse, 78.5 each; 9. (tie) Jacobs Crawley and Chuck Schmidt, 78 each; 11. Wyatt Casper and Jake Wright, 77 each.
Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Michael Otero and Tuf Cooper, 7.0 seconds each; 3. Darnell Johnson, 7.5; 4. (tie) Marty Yates, Hunter Herrin, Cade Swor, Catfish Brown and Tyler Milligan, 7.6 each. Second round leaders: 1. Cody Quaney, 7.0 seconds; 2. Justin Smith, 7.1; 3. (tie) Scott Kormos and Tim Pharr, 7.3 each; 5. (tie) J.C. Malone and Lane Livingston, 7.4 each; 7. (tie) Blane Cox, Seth Cooke and Trinton Downing, 7.5 each. Average leaders: 1. Cody Quaney, 14.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Tuf Cooper, 15.0; 3. Clint Singleton, 15.8; 4. Cooper Martin, 16.1; 5. (tie) Cade Swor, Clint Robinson and Cimarron Boardman, 16.2 each; 8. Catfish Brown, 16.3; 9. (tie) Marcos Costa and Marty Yates, 16.4; 11. Adam Gray, 16.6; 12. Josh Peek, 17.0.
Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Amberleigh Moore, 13.99 seconds; 2. Brooke Rix, 14.03; 3. Sammi Bessert, 14.15; 4. Cassie Mowry, 14.20; 5. Laura Kennedy, 14.24; 6. Lindsay Sears, 14.24; 7. Kellie Collier, 14.32; 8. Jennifer Arnold, 14.35; 9 Trula Churchill, 14.36; 10. Hailey Kinsel, 14.37. Average leaders: 1. Amberleigh Moore, 29.90; 2. Kassie Mowry, 30.15; 3. Sammi Bessert, 30.16; 4. Brooke Rix, 30.18; 5. Carmel Wright, 30.23; 6. Kellie Collier, 30.37; 7. Morgan Breaux, 30.44; 8. Trula Churchill, 30.47; 9. Hailey Kinsel, 30.48; 10. Shelby McCauley, 30.53; 11. Brittany Kelly, 30.60; 12. Kelsy Lutjen, 30.68.
Bull riding leaders: 1. Trey Benton III, 88.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Red Rocket; 2. Brennon Eldred, 87.5; 3. (tie) Jordan Hansen and Mickey Andrews, 85 each; 5. (tie) Kyle Balls and Jordan Wacey Spears, 84 each; 7. Brock Radford, 83.5; 8. (tie) Tanner Learmont and John Pitts, 83 each.