In Fort Worth, Texas, the Women’s Rodeo World Championship got underway on Monday night at the Cowtown Coliseum in an intense showdown for the world titles.
In the first pro team roping qualifying round, Kenna Francis and Whitney DeSalvo turned in a 5.86-second run, earning them $2,500 and a spot in the semifinals.
“We just got to keep catching,” said DeSalvo, a four-time WPRA World Champion and the world’s first female roper to classify as an No. 8.
Almost a full second separated them from the rest of the 20 pro ropers. DeSalvo laughed that it might have been their first clean run as a team before the event.
“We weren’t really trying to win the round, we were just trying to catch.”
DeSalvo relied on Rebecca Roan-or Becky as she calls her-an 11-year-old sorrel mare she bought from Jordan Sullivan as a 5-year-old and has ridden her “just about everywhere” for the past six years.
At last year’s WRWC, DeSalvo placed second with partner Hope Thompson. She has a good chance of adding the Championship title to her list of achievements this year.
“I went to a few WCRA deals before the Women’s Rodeo World Championship,” DeSalvo said. ”What they do, what they’re trying to do for us, I really appreciate it. I know all the girls appreciate it. The Women’s Rodeo World Championship, that’s a whole new deal in itself, what they’re trying to do for us and I’m just thankful to get to be a part of it, you know? It’s an awesome thing.”
On the head side, Francis, who operates Mathews Land and Cattle with her husband, Chris Francis, rode Thirtyone Circles-or Gato as she calls him-a 13-year-old sorrel gelding she purchased from Marcus Theriot through Kaleb Driggers.
“Not very often do All-Women team ropings pay what we get to rope for this week. That’s why we’re all here. There’s several breakaway and barrel races but there’s no team ropings that give us the opportunity that we have with the WCRA,” said Francis.
The top 12 competitors from each discipline, both challenger and pro, will advance to Tuesday’s second qualifying round where they will compete for a position in Wednesday’s Showdown Round.
WRWC Team Roping Pro Qualifying Round 1:
1. Kenna Francis & Whitney DeSalvo, 5.86 seconds, $2,500
2. Bev Robbins & Jessy Remsburg, 6.80 seconds, $1,000
3. Kylie McLean & Megan Gunter, 6.85 seconds, $500
4. Jimmi Jo Montera & Martha Angelone, 6.95 seconds
5. Katelyn Perkins & Shanna Perkins, 8.32 seconds
6. Jackie Crawford & Annette Stahl, 8.83 seconds
7. Hope Thompson & Rylie Smith, 9.20 seconds
8. Carsyn Thrap & Bailey Gubert, 9.22 seconds