London Gorham has never tried to surf but the 14-year-old barrel racing phenom says she’s willing to try it out if she wins the championship surfboard given to the winner of Rodeo Corpus Christi (RCC).
“I have not [tried surfing] but I’m always in to try new things,” Gorham said. “If I win, I’m definitely going down to the beach right away!”
Gorham is one step closer to one of rodeo’s most unique prizes after winning the RCC Qualifying Round on May 9, besting the field of nearly 60 racers by almost three full tenths of a second.
A stop on the World Champions Rodeo Alliance’s (WCRA) Triple Crown of Rodeo, Rodeo Corpus Christi will pay out more than half a million dollars by Saturday night, May 14. All the timed event contestants had to begin their RCC journey at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown during preliminary rounds May 8-10.
The top 24 times from the round advance to the three perf Progressive Round held at the American Bank Center along with the #2-#4 seeds on the WCRA Leaderboard. The top two from each performance move on to the Showdown Round to be held Saturday night. Once there, all contestants compete in one run with the top three earning another run that same night in the Triple Crown Round. The winner of that final round earns $15,000, the surfboard, and a chance to compete for the $1 million bonus for any Triple Crown winner.
Tuesday was Ladies Day of Qualifying with one round of barrel racing and two rounds of breakaway roping and Gorham was the very first competitor through the gates.
“Being first out is a little bit weird,” Gorham noted. “You don’t know if you need to just go make a smooth run to advance or if it’s going to get salty.”
Riding Fortunes Flame, aka “Wanda,” Gorham tried to cruise to the first barrel and be smooth. Her time of 15.374 set the bar and the closest anyone got was Kindyl Scruggs’ 15.652. She earned $3,450.
“It’s a long way down to the first and I wanted to just cruise her down there and let her turn it,” Gorham said.
Wanda has carried Gorham to championships before, including a Better Barrel Races World Finals win in 2018. Calling the 9-year-old mare her mother Amanda Lyne’s horse, Gorham calls on her for rodeo type setups and rodeo ground.
“She is like my mom’s best friend and she does not like me,” Gorham laughed. “But she’s super tough and has a huge heart.”
As the #2 seed on the WCRA Leaderboard, Gorham was already guaranteed a spot into the three performance Progressive Round but took advantage of the chance to run at the good go round check.
“I love the WCRA’s,” Gorham gushed. “They are such a good experience for the horses as well. The ground is always prepared correctly and it’s always good.
“It’s fun, especially for younger horses to help step them up on a bigger platform,” she said.
To that end, Gorham will be aboard likely the greenest horse in her arsenal come Friday night as she’s elected to run Runnin With Wings, a 5-year-old son of JL Dash Ta Heaven that her family bought as a yearling from his breeder Jud Little.
“It’s kinda risky,” she laughed. “But he’s one of my most honest horses and I just love him.”
“HomeBoy” was injured early in his futurity year so he’s not had that many runs. Gorham took the reins from trainer James Barnes to begin his derby season this year.
“He hasn’t been to nearly as many places as most derby horses,” she admits. But her game plan is to be smooth and let HomeBoy shut off the clock.
“I’ll just focus on riding him like I always do, make a smooth run and let him work,” she said. “He wants to be a winner and he can really clock. If we hit a barrel, it’s usually major rider error.”
Division Youth (DY) Inventive
- Jordyn Kooonsman, 15.709, $2,500
- Makenzie Mayes, 15.733, $1,000
Progressive Round Qualifiers
- London Gorham, 15.374, $3,450 — #2 SEED
- Kindyl Scruggs, 15.652, $3,000
- Jordyn Koonsman (DY), 15.709, $2,550
- Tiffani Sonnier, 15.721, $2,100
- Makenzie Mayes (DY), 15.733, $1,650
- Halyn Lide, 15.817, $1,200
- Jaylan Clary, 15.859, $750
- Courtney Moose, 15.890, $300
- Tiffany Lujan, 15.906
- Tyra Kane, 15.921
- Jada Trosper (DY), 15.950
- Ari-Anna Flynn, 15.982
- Katie Loughran, 15.992
- Reagan Johnson, 16.028
- Jordan Driver, 16.038 — #3 SEED
- Hailey Beal (DY), 16.068
- Sharee Weaver, 16.084
- Laura Mote (DY), 16.102
- Britta Strain, 16.155 — #4 SEED
- Brittyn Rocha, 16.197
- Savannah Palmore, 16.211
- Savannah Hays, 16.213
- Madison Ann Iager, 16.262
- Taryn Boxleitner, 16.263
- Brooke McGehee, 16.340
- Bryana Lehrmann, 16.341
- Acey Pinkston, 16.347