Gorham and Emerson Continue Winning Streaks: WRWC Round 1 Recap

Here's the ladies who cashed in on day one of the 2023 Women's Rodeo World Championship, who is advancing to the Semifinals so far and who's sitting pretty in the aggregate.
London Gorham, world class champion junior and pro rodeo competitor
London Gorham at the 2022 WRWC on Homeboy. Image courtesy WCRA by Bull Stock Media.

During the first round of the Women’s Rodeo World Championship on May 19, London Gorham and Sable Emerson respectively topped the Pro and Challenger barrel racing divisions.

Two performances took place on Thursday inside Cowtown Coliseum: one at 12 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m., and both event winners came out of the evening show, which was reserved for those who entered WRWC in the number 1-10 leaderboard positions in the Virtual Rodeo Qualifier leaderboard.

Find the 2023 WRWC schedule and how to watch here.

Pro Barrel Racing Division

In the Pro division, 15-year-old London Gorham already has her slot guaranteed thanks to her high ranking on the VRQ leaderboard going into the event, but she’s just having fun in the preliminary rounds. It paid off on May 18 in a $2,500 win for her 13.295 seconds on the pattern.

“I ran (Running With Wings) tonight, because I’m already through to tomorrow’s Semifinals,” Gorham said. “I want to run Homeboy again in the morning, then I’ll ride (Cashin Chicks) in the Semifinals. I’m running for day money and an average paycheck”

Gorham didn’t stick to her ideal game plan, but the 6-year-old gelding by JL Dash Ta Heaven x Nicki Nick Bar x Colonel Azucar clocked up despite errors.

“He didn’t exactly work how I wanted him to,” Gorham laughed. “He was a little slow around the barrels, but he kept it smooth and clean, and I’m proud of him for that.”

The advancement at the WRWC looks like this to the Semifinals: the top two in each round advance, along with the top eight from the aggregate on two runs (May 18 and 19). Since Gorham is already in, the next highest placing cowgirls in the round are moving on.

Laura Mote and “Redbull,” finished in the No. 2 position in the round with a 13.306-second run, earning $1,000 and advancing to the Semifinals.

The No. 3 finish in the round went to Jana Guthrie and Waylon James for their 13.374-second run. They picked up $500 for their efforts. Guthrie already secured her position to the Semifinals through her VRQ ranking, so No. 4 finisher, Stephanie Fryar will advance.

WRWC Pro Division Round 1 Results

  1. London Gorham, 13.295-second run, earning $2,500
  2. Laura Mote, 13.306, earning $1,000
  3. Jana Guthrie, 13.374, earning $500
  4. Stephanie Fryar, 13.387
  5. Cheyenne Wimberley, 13.414
  6. Cassidy Deen, 13.434
  7. Jada Trosper, 13.486
  8. Victoria Procter, 13.522
  9. Lacy Billingsley, 13.562
  10. Stevi Hillman, 13.585

For full results, click here.

Challenger Barrel Racing Division

The pharmacist from Arkansas, Sable Emerson, has been on a hot streak in the WCRA since she made noise at Cowtown Christmas in December, Rodeo Corpus Christi just one week prior and now she’s back for blood. Already seeded into the Semifinals thanks to her VRQ ranking, she and Baby Im Famous, or “Lulu,” picked up an additional $2,500 for their sweet 13.364.

“It’s been like a fairy tale,” Emerson said. “Lulu has really spoiled me and allowed me to go places that I didn’t think would be possible. She amazes me every single run I get to make on her. I feel like I can go anywhere and have a chance to win thanks to her!”

Lulu is a 2013 mare by JL Dash Ta Heaven x Sheezgotcha Baby x Strait To The Bank.

Emerson’s first time to run at the Fort Worth Stockyards was back in December at Cowtown Christmas, but she looked like a season veteran to the crowd on Thursday.

“It was a confidence run for both of us,” Emerson explained. “She ran so hard in Corpus Christi that I got behind her at the first and we got to the second barrel too quick—I knew this time I wanted to hold my outside rein a little longer than normal in case I needed an emergency move to make sure we got over to the second and just make sure it was a good barrel. Lulu felt great overall. Now, I just have to stick to the plan and do it a few more times!”

With Emerson being guaranteed a position, the next two finishers in the round will advance onto Friday night automatically. Friday afternoon’s Round 2 will determine which ladies take up the eight aggregate positions and two fast times from the second set.

Tennessee mother Nicole Helm made her presence known in Texas, finishing No. 2 with a 13.507-second run and earning $1,000.

Teenage sensation Annika Ruth is already secured a spot in Friday also, but she picked up $500 for her 13.509-second run. Behind her was another youth standout. The 14-year-old, Wylie Jo Hodges will advance through in the Challenger division for her 13.581-second run.

WRWC Challenger Round 1 Results

  1. Sable Emerson, 13.364-second run, $2,500
  2. Nicole Helm, 13.507, $1,000
  3. Annika Ruth, 13.509, $500
  4. Wylie Jo Hodges, 13.581
  5. Julie Plourde, 13.583
  6. (tie) Kalli McCall, 13.711
  7. (tie) Reagan Johnson, 13.711
  8. Ashley Crow, 13.718
  9. Fallon Forbes, 13.719
  10. Olivia Hodnett, 13.756

For full results, click here.