Riding her 2010 wicked-fast gray mare Frosted In Fame (“CeCe”), Shali Lord, Lamar, Colo., raced her way to the top of the RAM Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo at The Ranch Events Complex in Loveland, Colo., Oct. 22-23, 2021. With a total on three runs of 46.97 seconds to earn $5,365, Lord secured her position atop the Mountain States Circuit year-end standings with season earnings of $25,383, much of it won riding the 2009 sorrel stallion Freckles Ta Fame (Dash Ta Fame x Frenchmans Freckles x Frenchmans Guy). “Can Man,” owned by Joe and Carla Spitz, was sadly sidelined during the final weeks of the regular rodeo season all while Lord was in hot pursuit of a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification. A win at her circuit finals was validation for Lord after experiencing the disappointing rough patch.
“CeCe was just feeling great,” said Lord. “She likes that arena, she likes the ground and if she can get in there and get a good feel of the ground, she does really well. It was a great ending to what’s been a few pretty rough months.”
Lord and CeCe cracked out of the gates strong, winning round one in convincing fashion by nearly four-tenths of a second.
“The last run I’d made on her before circuit finals was at the Jody Motley Memorial Race in Sept., so she just came in feeling good and running strong. She’s so fast and the thing about CeCe is she’s going to try her heart out every time, she’s very gritty and tough,” said Lord.
The Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo featured the top 12 circuit contestants in each event vying for titles and the chance to run at the recently unveiled million-dollar NFR Open (formerly the National Circuit Finals Rodeo) to be held in Colorado Springs, Colo., in July of 2022. A big difference between this year’s circuit finals and the 2020 installment was that in 2021 a full crowd of spectators enjoyed each of the three rodeo performances.
“Last year we ran in the Budweiser Events Center on the same grounds, but there were no spectators whatsoever and we just came in, made our run and left,” recalled Lord. “This year it was fun to have crowded performances. Our circuit’s the best. Overall, we’ve got really great rodeos in close proximity for travel.”
Lord added that she enjoys the camaraderie among her fellow circuit barrel racers, which culminated with a luncheon in Loveland emceed by rodeo announcer Bob Edmonds.
“We’ve got great sponsors, a great director in Carla Beckett—this is her last year actually, and she’s done a lot. I order the awards and it just all combines for a really special time,” said Lord.
Having finished her 2021 season ranked 19th in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Standings with $49,161, Lord is looking forward to getting into the upcoming winter building rodeos in hopes of starting the 2022 season strong.
“You have to work really hard to get in at all the buildings,” she said, “so I’m excited to start at the winter rodeos, see how it goes and just go from there. A lot of them didn’t go on last year so I’m really looking forward to having chances to run at rodeos like Denver, Fort Worth, and Houston again.”
In the immediate future Lord is bound for the Young Guns Timed Event Rodeo, Oct. 30-31, where her kids Slade and Stealy are looking forward to experiencing a trailer Trick-or-Treat extravaganza as well as competing. After that, Lord and her family travel to Amarillo, Texas, for the Working Ranch Cowboys Association World Championships, Nov. 11-14, where husband Phy and the Jolly Ranch/S&L Cattle Company will compete, and Lord and her mom Leslie showcase their vendor booth.
“I’ll go to the CBT Christmas Cash, that’s always an enjoyable race, then probably Arizona in December, depending on the kids’ school,” she said. “Last year everything for Slade was online so I’m not sure he’ll be able to do that again for Arizona, but we’ll see.”
Lord thanked the team of people who help her get down the road, including her parents, Jim and Leslie, as well as all her sponsors: CINCH Jeans, Kahm, Justin Boots, Larry The Cable Guy, Simply Equine, K9 Full Bucket, Western Dove, Cactus Saddlery, Iconoclast Equine Support Boots, Purina Performance Horse, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips, Fringe Scarves, Bill Fick Ford, Wheeler’s Trailers, Hamblen Hats, Equine Balance Work, Western Edge Ltd., B Cool Pro by Shali Lord, and BEMER.
“I’m grateful to Joe and Carla Spitz,” Lord added. “They have been great about always trusting me with Can Man.”
Mountain States Circuit Finals Results (unofficial, from PRCA)
1st Round: Shali Lord, 15.48 seconds, $1,951; 2. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 15.80, $1,463; 3. Andrea Busby, 15.82, $975; 4. Amy Jo Reisdorfer, 15.83, $488; 2nd Round: 1. Reisdorfer, 15.60, $1,951; 2. Lake Mehalic, 15.64, $1,463; 3. Busby, 15.69, $975; Carley Cervi, 15.75, $488; 3rd Round: 1. Mehalic, 15.51, $1,951; 2. Christy Larsen, 15.53, $1,463; 3. Busby, 15.58, $975; 4. Lord, 15.64, $488; Average: 1. Lord, 46.97 on three, $2,926; 2. Busby, 47.09, $2,194; Reisdorfer, 47.11, $1,463; 4. Pozzi Tonozzi, 47.25, $731.
Mountain States Circuit Barrel Racing Rookie of the Year: Jenna Hoffman, Sheridan, Wyo., $6,205, 15 rodeos.
Photos by Amanda Dilworth/Western Edge Photography.