Lacinda Rose Triumphs After Horse Tragedy to Win 2023 Great Lakes Circuit Finals and Year-End

Lacinda Rose started her year losing a talented young horse but battled through the tragic loss to win both the 2023 Great Lakes Circuit Finals and year-end.
Lacinda Rose barrel racing
Lacinda Rose and Real Deal at the 2023 Great Lakes Circuit Finals. Phil Kitts/Avid Visual Imagery.

Lacinda Rose captured her third Great Lakes Circuit barrel racing title Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Louisville, Kentucky, but it didn’t come easily.

With her main mount RR Meradas Real Deal, the gelding known as “Real Deal,” hitting 15 this year, Rose planned on only riding him when necessary during her 2023 rodeo season. She started the year with a talented up-and-coming mare Roan Rose Lady, cashing her first check of the spring on her back. But not long after, the 7-year-old died of an aneurysm, a devastating loss for Rose. 

Thanks to friends in low places, though, Rose had plenty of horsepower to get through the year. Aside from Real Deal, Rose rode Devilla Corona owned by Clark and Robin Allen, Connie Dove’s Frenchmans Whiz and Special Clown Royal owned by Ed and Joyce Beals. Rose knows those horses were vital to her success this year.

“The other horses, they stepped up and took runs off of [Real Deal] and got checks,” Rose said gratefully. “I only ran him where I needed to so I could make my goal of making the circuit finals. That was not even an intention to win the circuit, but I’m so thankful with every run, him getting older and knowing that he won’t be here forever. So that is really special.”

The Real Deal

Real Deal is the gelding that took Rose to her first NFR in 2019. He’s also the horse that shocked social media when a video of her husband, Adam, heading off of him before Round 5 that year went viral.

“We raised him and trained him,” Rose said. “He’s also a great head horse—probably just as good as he is as a barrel horse.”

Real Deal is one of those horses that excels in any pen, no matter the ground conditions. In years past, this trait has come in handy in Louisville where the ground can be challenging.

“There’s not many pens he’s not good in,” Rose said. “The ground was the best this year than it’s ever been. Usually, we do good because he’s good on not-so-good ground compared to other horses. So, in that sense I thought it was a little bit of a struggle because everybody else was able to run so well, too, so we had to give it our all for sure.”

Before heading to Kentucky, Rose made sure Real Deal was prepared for battle by keeping him in fighting shape.

“I just make sure he’s in great shape, so if he does have to overuse his hind end or work on his front end where if the ground shifts he can handle that without injury,” Rose explained.

Great Lakes Circuit Finals and Year-end recap

Rose went into Louisville leading the standings, putting her first out in Round 1. She and Real Deal were prepared for shifty ground, but was pleasantly surprised by the footing in 2023 at GLCF.

“I just expected it to be like it always is—dry and shifty—but it felt great,” Rose said “I think (Real Deal) is so rodeo smart that he also expected it to be the same, so he felt like he safetied up as we were going around each barrel.”

They were 15.32 to finish third in the round and pocket $1,229. They were last out in Round 2. Rose felt Real Deal firing harder but being last on the ground caused it to be deeper than the night before. They finished third yet again for $1,229, this time with a 15.41-second run.

The duo entered the third and final round second in the average. With neither the average or the year-end locked in, they needed a good run.

“I just knew I needed to make a good solid run,” Rose said. “I knew I could be caught as far as the year-end, and I wasn’t leading the average either. The girl that was leading it hit a barrel that round, but all I could do is all I can do. So, I just let Real Deal be the rock in the relationship and go do his job.”

Letting Real Deal do his thing was the plan all along, anyway, and it proved the perfect plan. They split second and third in the round with a 15.30 for $1,537, and with a 46.03 in the average they managed to clinch the circuit finals title and $3,688. Their $7,683-weekend also secured the year-end Great Lakes Circuit barrel racing win for Rose with $23,657 on the year.

Rose believes Real Deal truly feeds off the roaring, sold-out crowd of Freedom Hall. 

“He likes to win, and I believe he knows when he does,” Rose said.

Rose plans to circuit rodeo in 2024, especially now knowing the horsepower she has beneath her.

“I actually didn’t think I was going to rodeo very much next year, but, now, it’s got my wheels turning a little bit that I’ve got some horses lined up to ride other than him,” Rose said. “I’m pretty excited to have good clients and good friends and up-and-coming horses. I will probably definitely circuit rodeo again, amateur rodeo and probably a few more jackpots since I’ll have younger horses in the trailer.”

Up Next: NFR Open for Rose and Casey

With her year-end victory locked up, Rose punched her ticket to the 2024 Pikes Peak or Bust NFR Open in Colorado Springs where she will be joined by fellow GLC athlete Ronda Casey. Casey won both the first and second rounds at the GLCF to bank $4,918 and finish No. 2 in the year-end standings with $18,155 and clinch the NFR Open position for her reserve finish behind Rose.

Ronda Casey barrel racing
Ronda Casey | Phil Kitts/ Avid Visual Imagery

Great Lakes Circuit Finals 2023 barrel racing results

First round: 1. Ronda Casey, 15.22 seconds, $2,459; 2. Jillian Zaun, 15.26, $1,844; 3. Lacinda Rose, 15.32, $1,229; 4. Kricket Gintner, 15.36, $615

Second round: 1. Ronda Casey, 15.23 seconds, $2,459; 2. Austyn Tobey, 15.26, $1,844; 3. Lacinda Rose, 15.41, $1,229; 4. Katie Sowada, 15.45, $615

Third round: 1. Jillian Zaun, 15.24 seconds, $2,459; 2. (tie) Caitlyn Clair and Lacinda Rose, 15.30, $1,537 each; 4. Kricket Gintner, 15.37, $615

Average: 1. Lacinda Rose, 46.03 seconds on three head, $3,688; 2. Jillian Zaun, 46.10, $2,766; 3. Caitlyn Clair, 46.35, $1,844; 4. Nikki Singler, 46.70, $922.