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Every cowgirl dreams of qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the chance to run down the alley way of the Thomas and Mack, for these first-time WNFR qualifiers, that dream is coming true. These cowgirls stayed dedicated all year long and they are ready to show Las Vegas and the rest of the world what they’ve got! We’ll be cheering these cowgirls on as they make their mark in that arena at the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Emily Miller – Weatherford, Okla. ($98,145)
Ranked #7 in WPRA World Standings
Oklahoma cowgirl, Emily Miller didn’t grow up in a rodeo family, but barrel racing has always been a passion of hers.
The interested sparked when she was introduced to barrel racing by her baby sitter. “Though her parents supported her, they told Miller she needed to learn to make it on her own and treat rodeo like a business.”
After receiving a college rodeo scholarship to Garden City Community College Miller transferred to Southwestern Oklahoma State where she received a degree in dental hygiene.
She told the Wrangler Network that the dental office she works in is very supportive of her barrel racing and what once was full-time has turned to part-time employment so she could pursue her passion.
In 2015, after her good horse got hurt she reached out to Kylie (Ward) Weast who was at last year’s NFR trains horses for Namgis Quarter Horses.
“Emily has depended on the Ward family for advice, friendship and horses and that is where her standouts, Pipewrench, Chongo and Foxy have all come from. Kylie (Ward) Weast who was at last year’s NFR trains horses for Namgis Quarter Horses. All three of Emily’s horses have Namgis in their names and are by their stallion, Buck’s Hancock Dude.”
Miller told Wrangler Network that she doesn’t take any of it for granted and can’t wait to make her first trip down the alley at the Thomas and Mack.
Emily Miller’s 2019 Highlights
• Won the most money of any barrel racer over the Fourth of July with $17,358.
• Won Colorado State Fair & Rodeo (Pueblo)
• Won the Ponoka (Alberta) Stampede
• Won Rodeo Austin
• Won the Phil Gardenhire Pro Rodeo (Poteau, Oklahoma)
• Won the North Texas State Fair & Rodeo (Denton, Texas)
• Won the 48th Annual Bryan (Texas) Breakfast Lions Club
• Co-champion at Abbyville (Kansas) Frontier Days Rodeo
• Finished second at Amarillo (Texas) Tri-State Fair & Rodeo
• Finished second at Buffalo Bill Rodeo (North Platte, Nebraska)
• Finished second at the American Royal (Kansas City, Missouri)
Dona Kay Rule – Minco, Okla. ($96,507)
Ranked #9 in WPRA World Standings
Dona Kay Rule is recognized as a top barrel horse trainer but now she is ready to see her name in lights at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Rule grew up around horses all her life. Her father, Don Frederickson, competed in bronc riding and team roping. She met her husband, John Rule, inside the National Saddlery shop in Oklahoma City. They bought the business and ran it together for almost 30 years. They even used to make the world champion saddles for the PRCA.
During this time Rule was also raising their two children and training barrel racing horses.
In 2017, Rule and her horse, A Juicy Adventure, were both injured at the Springville, Missouri Rodeo. The injury forced Rule to start riding High Valor, a horse that she had purchased from Lana Merrick as a four-year-old. He was broke but didn’t know anything about barrel racing but turned out to be one special horse. Not only will Valor be running at his first NFR, he was also named the 2019 Purina Horse of the Year presented by the American Quarter Horse Association for the barrel racing.
“Dona Kay Rule has said that at 60-plus years of age, it’s her turn” – Wrangler Network
Dona Kay Rule’s 2019 Highlights
• Won the Caldwell (Idaho) Night Rodeo
• Won Corpus Christi (Texas) Rodeo
• Won the Tops In Texas Rodeo (Jacksonville, Texas)
• Won Crockett (Texas) Lions Club PRCA Rodeo
• Won the Last Chance Stampede (Helena, Montana)
• Won That Famous Preston (Idaho) Night Rodeo
• Won the Springhill (Louisiana) PRCA Rodeo
• Finished second at Roping Dreams (Jourdanton, Texas)
• Finished second at Horse Heaven (Kennewick, Washington)
• Finished second at the Gooding (Idaho) Pro Rodeo
• Finished second at the Santa Rosa Roundup (Vernon, Texas)
• Finished second at the Flint Hills Rodeo (Strong City, Kansas)
• Finished second at the Northeast Montana Fair & Rodeo (Glasgow, Montana)
• Finished second at Bozeman (Montana) Stampede
Ericka Nelson – Century, Fla. ($93,433)
Ranked #10 in WPRA World Standings
Ericka Nelson has come close to making the NFR twice now. Guess third time’s a charm!
The Florida cowgirl went to 86 rodeos and finished 28th in the standings in 2017 then competed in 83 rodeos finishing 26th in 2018. This year she attended 65 rodeos and finished the regular season in 10th place.
Her husband, J.B., and daughter, Rainey James are Nelson’s biggest supporters. Nelson told Wrangler Network that she has relied on her faith and her purpose and is now looking forward to 10 nights in Vegas showcasing Florida horses at the NFR.
Ericka Nelson’s 2019 Highlights
• Won the New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo (Albuquerque)
• Won Iowa’s Championship Rodeo (Sidney)
• Won the Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo (Casper, Wyoming)
• Finished second at Lewiston (Idaho) Round-Up
• Finished third at Dodge City (Kansas) Round-Up
Jennifer Sharp – Richards, Texas ($91,754)
Ranked #13 in WPRA World Standings
Jennifer and her husband Robbie reside in Richards, Texas where they train team roping and barrel horses.
Sharp started barrel racing at age 8, even though her family did not own horses. A friend who lived down the road was a barrel racer and introduced Sharp to play days. Every horse she rode while growing up was one she had trained herself.
“While this is Jennifer’s first trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, she has plenty of barrel racing experience. She has excelled in the futurity world and is a former American Quarter Horse Association barrel racing champion. She also qualified for her first Canadian Finals Rodeo this year spending much of the summer north of the border.” – Wrangler Network
Jennifer Sharp’s 2019 Highlights
• Won the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo (Denver)
• Won the Matagorda County Fair & Rodeo (Bay City, Texas)
• Won the Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo (Hattiesburg, Mississippi)
• Won the Medicine Hat (Alberta) Stampede
• Won the 71st Annual PRCA Rodeo (Crossett, Arkansas)
• Finished second at the Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo (Odessa, Texas)
• Finished second at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show & Rodeo (Mercedes, Texas)
• Finished second at the Williams Lake (Alberta) Stampede
• Finished second the Bonnyville (Alberta) Pro Rodeo
• Finished second at the Benalto (Alberta) Stampede
• Qualified for the 2019 Canadian Pro Rodeo Association Finals
Lacinda Rose – Willard, Mo. ($88,936)
Ranked #15 in WPRA World Standings
Lacinda Rose is a momma, cowboy-wife, and Missouri cowgirl.
Heading to her first NFR, Rose is the first cowgirl to qualify for the NFR from Missouri since Amanda Clayman in 2004. She’ll be bringing along, RR Meradas Real Deal, an 11-year-old product of her father-in-law’s breeding program. Her husband Adam, a PRCA tie-down and team roper, trained Real Deal as a head horse and Lacinda trained him for barrels.
Rose told Wrangler Network that, the whole family is very excited about her success; when she would get discouraged and want to come home, Adam wouldn’t let her give up. And, to celebrate her trip to Las Vegas they hosted a jackpot team roping so everyone could share in the fun.
Lacinda Rose’s 2019 Highlights
• Won the Midwest Horse Fair & Rodeo (Madison, Wisconsin)
• Won the Bill Hoy Kiwanis Rodeo (Clarksville, Tennessee)
• Finished second at the Lexington (Kentucky) Rodeo
• Finished second at the Rusk County Rodeo (Ladysmith, Wisconsin)
• Finished second at the Omaha (Nebraska) River City Rodeo
Results courtesy of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA)