Round 1 of the Women’s Rodeo World Championship concluded May 18, 2023, with Kayelen Helton and Lorraine Moreno taking the top spot in the Professional team roping division after a 6.61-second run, while Madison Webb and Kennlee Tate secured the No. 1 spot in the Challengers division with a time of 7.02 seconds.
WRWC Pro Team Roping
“I felt really good about tonight,” Helton, 35, said. “I actually ran that steer in the short round on Monday at the Cowgirl Gathering jackpot. I knew what to expect from him, even though he was a little slower than on Monday.”
The pair picked up $2,500 for their 6.61-second run.
Helton, who is from Stephenville, Texas, was aboard 17-year-old gelding “Tarzan,” whom she calls her pride and joy. Scooping up the heels was 29-year-old Moreno and “Cat.”
“The game plan was just be smart,” Moreno said. “Go relax, take my time and see my shot. I wasn’t trying to do anything crazy.”
How to Watch: What You Need to Know About the 2023 Women’s Rodeo World Championship
Behind Helton and Moreno was the sharky duo of Kenna Francis and Whitney DeSalvo. They were just playing for day money and picked up $1,000 for their 6.95-second run. Francis and Desalvo are already seeded into the Semifinals thanks to their high ranking leading up to the competition on the Virtual Rodeo Qualifier leaderboard. That means that Breakaway Roping World Champions Jackie Crawford and Martha Angelone will advance to the Semifinals with their 7.23-second run, for which they earned $500.
WRWC Round 1 Pro Results
|1||Kayelen Helton/Lorraine Moreno||6.61||$2,500|
|2||Kenna Francis/Whitney DeSalvo||6.95||$1,000|
|3||Martha Angelone/Jackie Crawford||7.23||$500|
|4||Rylie Smith/Hope Thompson||7.26||–|
|5||Kersti Passig/Kenna Francis||7.28||–|
WRWC Challenger Round 1 Champions
On the Challenger side, Madison Webb and Kennlee Tate outlasted 24 other teams to earn the top spot. The team has been roping together consistently for more than a year.
“I’ve been to the WRWC a few times but have never done well at it,” said Webb, 27, from Glenwood, Arkansas. “To make it this year, I just nominated a few of the bigger all-girl ropings. My horse got hurt in Vegas this year, and I didn’t go a whole lot until Kenna Francis let me borrow her horse, Yahtzee. At some point Kaleb Driggers rode him at the NFR and won The American on him twice.”
With plenty of horsepower on the head side, Tate and her quirky horse, “Tonto,” brought up the back.
“He’s pretty easy to heel on,” said Tate, from Shallowater, Texas. “You just have to put your hand down and don’t get in his way. I was getting a little nervous heading into the arena, but I just told myself to keep my tip down and break it off the hock. It worked.”
Behind Webb and Tate were the Ball sisters, Sydney and Sally. They earned $1,000 for their time of 7.92, but were already seeded into the Semifinals. That means No. 3 finishers Kaitlyn Torres and Kyla Stamps will advance.
Regardless, both the Pro and Challenger athletes will have another shot at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 19, in Round 2. The top two from both rounds of competition will advance to Friday night’s Semifinals round, along with the top eight in the aggregate on two head and the previously seeded athletes from the VRQ leaderboard.
WRWC Round One Challenger Results
|1||Madison Webb/Kennlee Tate||7.02||$2,500|
|2||Sydney Ball/Sally Ball||7.92||$1,000|
|3||Kaitlyn Torres/Kyla Stamps||8.21||$500|
|4||Christie McClary/Kelly Snow||9.53||–|
|5||Teresa Brevik/Tamara Lewis||12.63||–|