Cheyenne Wimberley proved that consistency reigns supreme at the Women’s Rodeo World Championship in Fort Worth, Texas, earning the $60,000 event championship on Saturday, May 20 aboard Flingin Fast.
Wimberley climbed aboard Fast Flingin Dash, or “Blue Duck,” for the WRWC. Their first run was a 13.414 on Thursday, and on Friday morning they followed that up with a 13.302 that kept them solid in the aggregate, finished No. 2 behind college student Jordan Driver and earned Wimberley $1,000. Wimberley made the most nosie in Friday night’s Semifinals when she smoked a 13.096 behind 19-year-old Laura Mote’s arena record of 12.967. That run bumped Wimberley up to No. 2 in the aggregate, earning her $2,400 on three before the clean slate Triple Crown of Rodeo round started on Saturday afternoon, where the $60,000 grand prize brought her earnings on the week to $63,400.
“Blue Duck,” is a 2017 gelding that Wimberley and her business partner, Dr. Steve Hurlbert dreamed up—the second foal out of her great NFR qualifying mare Dash Ta Suz, “Smooch,” crossed on A Streak Of Fling. Wimberley gave the gelding time to mature and only lightly entered him as a 5-year-old. Trainer Kelly Conrado took him to futurities when Wimberley wasn’t able to train and balance her rodeo schedule. According to QData, Blue Duck amassed $50,904 in lifetime earnings in his relatively short career—and now he’s more than doubled that thanks to the WRWC.
Blue Duck was seemingly unphased by the intense energy from the crowd each round at the WRWC, or the general commotion downtown in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
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“He was the same as he’s been all week,” Wimberley said. “He leads down (from the horse trailer parking across the street to the holding area) on a loose rein, he warms up like it’s just a playday. He’s the perfect horse. Today he knew he was going in there to run barrels. He was a little strong going to the first. It was a little more of a wild run than I expected—I expected more rate—but this pen is so challenging. I live 75 miles away and I always say what a challenging arena it is.I just figured if I kept him moving forward we would stop the clock.”
Wimberley added that she Hurlbert are thrilled with the A Streak Of Fling progeny crossed with Smooch, and Blue Duck represents the best of both worlds from his lineage.
“He’s really the perfect horse,” Wimberley said. “He ground ties, we’ve done quite a bit of roping on him. He was a slow maturer and definitely wouldn’t have made a 4-year-old futurity horse. He needed time and he needed to be used. (Blue Duck and his full sister) are tough horses with a lot of grit. Smooch was that way also. The A Streak Of Fling’s are fast, too. We like that.”
The patience paid off in spades for Wimberley and the team behind her, including the crew at Equine Sports Medicine Services that acts as glue in their program. Blue Duck needed every bit of speed in the salty competition pool over all four rounds. Wimberley recognized that the WRWC brought out some of the best duos in the game.
“It was a really tough barrel race, I don’t know the last time I’ve seen one that tough,” Wimberley said. “I’m not saying I was shocked—the caliber here today, wow. Most of the people in our Pro set were NFR qualifiers when it started, but it was amazing that they were getting around the barrels that many times and slamming the clock every round.”
As the eldest competitor in the cutthroat field on Saturday, it begs the question: How does Wimberley stay competitive against teenagers on top horses and at all levels of competition, from derbies to the hard life on the ProRodeo trail?
“I stay in shape,” Wimberley said. “I’ve been an exercise fanatic most of my life. I minored in nutrition in college. I exercise daily, I’ve done P90X for years. I ride quite a bit of horses…But it’s hard. It’s so fast anymore. At my age you have to stay mentally tough, physically in shape and you need a faster horse. Maybe as I get older, I’ll just keep needing faster horses!”
The Stephenville, Texas, cowgirl has made multiple trips to the National Finals rodeo–first in 1997 and most recently in 2021—but she recently swapped her strategy up. She’s focusing on derbies, incentive races and events like the WRWC.
The WCRA events fit well into Wimberley’s ideal strategy. She has been a key supporter of the association since its earliest days, and was actually the inaugural WCRA event champion in 2018 at the Windy City Roundup in Chicago.
So, is a $60,000 boost enough to turn Wimberley back to the ProRodeo trail in hopes of another NFR qualification? Not quite.
“No, it doesn’t make me want to hit the road,” Wimberley said. “My ass is tired of being in the driver’s seat. We’ll probably make a Fourth of July run to get out of the Texas Heat, but I’m going to try to hit a bunch of the Northwestern derbies while I’m up there and just keep my money up to get into some of the invitational rodeos next year.”
Wimberley wasn’t the only veteran barrel racer to leave her mark on the WRWC—the second most senior competitor, NFR qualifier Stephanie Fryar (42) earned the No. 2 spot behind Wimberley on Saturday, earning $25,000 for her 13.179-second run. Fryar had already picked up $1,900 in previous rounds, so her total earnings totaled $26,900 over four runs.
WRWC Triple Crown of Rodeo Barrel Racing Results
- Cheyenne Wimberley, 13.105, $60,000
- Stephanie Fryar, 13.179, $25,000
- Kalli McCall, 13.264, $15,000
- Wylie Jo Hodges, 13.290, $10,000
- Laura Mote, 13.295, $7,500
- Julie Plourde, 13.302, $5,000
- Jana Guthrie, 13.319, $3,500
- Stevi Hillman, 13.342, $2,500
- Olivia Hodnett, 13.436, $1,500
- Sissy Winn, 13.738, $1,500
- Annika Ruth, 18.214, $1,500
- Madison McCaffity, $1,500