Lindsey McLeod and Kellies Chick Capture NHSRA Crown
August 1, 2014
Omaha, Neb. (RFD-TV) Team McLeod, consisting of 2013 National Finals Rodeo qualifier and mom, Michele, along with daughters Katelyn and Lindsey, all of Whitesboro, Texas, set big barrel racing goals. All three barrel racers plan to qualify for RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, March 1, 2015. By notching the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) Barrel Racing Championship on July 19 in Rock Springs, Wyo., Lindsey came one step closer to that dream. Earning the coveted national championship secures McLeod a position in RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals, taking her one step closer to Arlington. Televised as part of RFD-TV’s Cinch High School Rodeo Tour, the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) saw more than 1,500 contestants from across the United States, Canada and Australia converge on Sweetwater Events Center July 13-19 in hopes of qualifying for the top 20 short round in an effort to earn national titles, scholarships, Gist trophy buckles, saddles and a host of other awards. The added bonus of earning her spot at RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals made the win that much sweeter for McLeod and her family.
“To get an exemption to the qualifier is very exciting,” says McLeod. “We all made a goal that we wanted to be there (Arlington), so earning an exemption to the semis takes the stress off of having to qualify.”
McLeod, 17, who will enroll as a freshman this fall at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, began her assault on the competition in Rock Springs with a solid 17.495 to place third in round one. Riding Kellies Chick (“Skye”), a 2008 brown mare by Darkelly out of The Skye Chick, by Fiesta In The Sky, owned by Charlie Cole and Jason Martin’s Highpoint Performance Horses of Pilot Point, Texas, McLeod was confident facing the fiercest high school barrel racers in the nation.
“I drew up Wednesday morning and Wednesday night and everybody kept saying, ‘Oh that’s too bad you have to make two runs the same day,’ but I knew her second run could be better.”
McLeod and Skye came back on Wednesday night with a solid 17.25 to finish third in the second round. Saving their best for last, the duo topped the short round in convincing fashion with a blazing 16.964-second run on the standard pattern. Their nearest challenger was Madi Harris, Roosevelt, Utah, with a time of 17.337.
“We went into the short round leading the average by one tenth,” said McLeod. “I just told myself, ‘Be solid, it’s an average.’ We were 10th out on the ground and won the short go by almost four-tenths and won the average by almost half a second.”
Incidentally, Skye carried Michele McLeod to a new arena record at the Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho and over $5,000 in Women’s Professional Rodeo Association earnings en route to the high school finals. Michele is currently ranked fifth in the WPRA World Standings with $85,579 in season earnings and should she hold onto a top 10 position through the 2014 NFR, which she appears poised to do, she will once again run at $1 million at RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN. Lindsey’s older sister Katelyn qualified to run in Arlington last year riding Kellie’s Chick as well.
Any barrel racer knows that you’re only as good as your horseflesh and in the McLeod family keeping three barrel racers winning at the elite level of the game is particularly impressive. Interestingly, Lindsey didn’t have a lot of experience running Skye prior to the NHSFR.
“I jumped on her at the Texas State High School Finals for the first time and I hadn’t been on her since then; that was the second week in June. I rode a colt all year long and my mom said, ‘Why don’t you try to run Skye?’ For me to jump on her and win something like that just shows how great of a horse she is,” says McLeod.
After the big win in Rock Springs, Lindsey and Katelyn loaded up and returned to Nampa to pick up Michele, who had competed in the short round there riding a younger horse. They then made stops in Ogden and Spanish Fork, Utah for WPRA rodeos before meeting their mother’s second rig in Denver, Colo. The girls returned home to Whitesboro to “ride colts and go to some jackpots and amateur rodeos” before packing up for college. Of traveling with her family Lindsey says, “We have a lot of fun, probably a little more than we need to, but I think it’s good for all of us to be together.” Lindsey, who plans to enroll in pre-med courses at Tarleton, says that she and her sister enjoy traveling to places for rodeos where they’ve never been and make pit stops at every new state sign they see to take pictures. She was quick to credit Charlie Cole and Jason Martin of Highpoint Performance Horse for allowing she and her family to compete on their outstanding horses, as well as her entire family including her dad, John, and Team McLeod sponsors Cruel Girl, Professionals Choice, Back on Track, Glam & Grit Hats, Oxy-Gen, Shiloh Saddlery, Deuces Wild Tack, Smart Pack, Cetyl-M and Elder Dodge.