December 5-14, 2024

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werner has a memorable day

Dec 13, 2023

werner has a memorable day

LAS VEGAS – Breanna Werner almost had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Wednesday.

Competing in her first Junior World Finals, the 12-year-old cowgirl from Clancy, Montana, was ready to make her first run in the Kelly Kaminski Run for Vegas pole bending in the morning. Werner was waiting to enter the Wrangler Rodeo Arena when her horse, Cajun, reared up and began backing down toward the parking lot.

As her dad chased down Cajun, her older sister, Elle, who would make her first pole bending run later, grabbed her horse, Boone, and brought him to Breanna.

Breanna was set to compete on Boone until her dad got Cajun under control and walked him up the ramp. Breanna took a deep breath, climbed on her horse and rode into the arena.

“My horse has freaked out before so I just had to let him calm down and then I could calm down and do my best,” Breanna said. “I’ve gotten to the point where I can calm my nerves right before a run and then I can go.”

Despite the early dramatics, Breanna and Cajun put together a respectable run of 21.629 seconds, which has her in the top half of the pole benders after the first round.

Breanna Werner (left) and her sister Elle pose with Elle’s horse, Boone, outside the Wrangler Rodeo Arena on Wednesday during the Junior World Finals. (Photo by Jack Nowlin)

She didn’t realize it at the time, but Breanna’s memorable day was just getting started.

A little more than an hour later, Cajun was up to his old tricks and this time Breanna had no choice but to ride Boone.

“He knows his job and I told her to let him do his job because he knows what he’s doing,” Elle said. “He did amazing.”

Considering the circumstances, so did Breanna. While she was still going to run the familiar cloverleaf pattern, she was doing it on a different horse and in a different direction.

“Her other horse goes to the right barrel first and Boone goes to the left,” Elle explained.

The sudden change in horses helped explain Breanna’s pre-run ritual.

“If you saw me I was back here going through barrels on the ground,” she said with a smile. “I had to adapt to it because I was really used to going to the right first. I was a little bit nervous, but he knows his job and he knows where he has to go.”

Boone carried Breanna to a 14.655-second run, which was good enough for No. 22 in a field of 79 barrel racers.

Wise beyond her years, Breanna knows there will be obstacles to overcome if she and her sister hope to achieve their goals in the arena. So consider what happened Wednesday just a bump in the road.

“I was nervous because of what happened with my horse,” Breanna said of her thinking before the barrels, “but once I got on this one he was calm and collected. It was actually pretty easy because I have the mindset of winning and I’ll have to make changes to win the world and be in the NFR.”

The unsung hero of the day, of course, was Boone, who was probably the only horse to make three runs from that side of the arena all day.

Ruth Ann Hutchison of Boyd, Texas, gets ready for her run in the Kelly Kaminski Run for Vegas pole bending at the Junior World Finals on Wednesday. (Photo by Jack Nowlin)

“I’ve had him for roughly three years,” Elle said. “He was in pretty good shape when we got him, but we had to build him and get him to cooperate a little bit more. We had to make him more chill because he was crazy and hot like (Cajun) when we first got him. Now he’s awesome. He’s just barrels and poles and he’s amazing at both of them.”

Timed Events Roundup

The KK Run for Vegas pole bending and junior barrel racing competition both wrapped up their first rounds Wednesday, with steer wrestlers and team ropers finishing their second rounds.

In pole bending, Carsyn Holbrook of Cibola, Texas, rode to victory with a 19.838-second run. And in junior barrels, Addison Harris of Eatonville, Washington, had a 14.137 to edge Escondido, California, cowgirl Olivia K. Bongiorno, who clocked a 14.138.

Bulldogger Trevor Crain won the open division with a 4.0, with Cole Pugh of Jasper, Texas, who had a 4.5, taking second. In the 16-and-under division, first-round winner Jake Holmes of Mulberry, Kansas, made it two for two with a 4.5-second run. Holmes leads the average in both the open and the 16U with a two-run time of 8.4 seconds.

The open division of team roping also had a repeat winner as Chase Helton of Merced, California, and Trigger Hargrove of Gracemont, Oklahoma, won with a 4.53. In the #9.5 division, Texas cowboys Bryce Ehlinger of Manvel and Kyler Ohrt of Victoria were first with a 6.16. First-round winners Bronc Evans of Fairview, Missouri, and Eli Green of Oakdale, California, lead the average.