Ashley Zappone claimed her second barrel racing win of the season with a victory at the Pritchard Rodeo this weekend (July 13-14).
The young racer and her mare, Lady, also won at the slot races in Williams Lake and have placed in the money (Top 8) at rodeos in Clinton, Fort St. John and Vanderhoof.
She won the weekend’s race with a time of 17.007 to earn just under $1,000 in cash for her effort.
“It just went good for me I guess,” she says of her winning performance. “We’re finally really focusing in on our runs and making sure we make it count.”
Zappone has had 14-year-old Lady since the horse was only five, and the two have formed a successful bond.
“This year, she seem to be running a lot harder for me, but she’s been pretty consistent throughout the last few years,” she says.
With the victory, the pair leaped from the 10th to the fifth spot in the BCRA standings. They’re hoping to make another jump this weekend when competing on home turf at the Quesnel Rodeo.
Zappone is aiming to race as late in the competition as possible.
“I’m not sure what day I’m up, but I’m hoping Sunday,” says Zappone. “I like running Sunday. It’s the last day and it puts the pressure on you, so I feel like I run a little better.”
She says it has been common for her to finish in the money at the local event.
“I’ve usually made a cheque [at the Quesnel Rodeo] every year, but this year, I’m going into it hoping to win it.”
If the crowd cheers loud enough, she might just make it happen.
“I love [racing in front of the hometown fans]. I thrive off of it,” she says. “It makes me really want to win.”
Zappone and many other local rodeo athletes, compete at the Quesnel Rodeo at Alex Fraser Park this weekend (July 19-21).