Kenzie Kelton and Whitney DeSalvo climbed their way to the 2023 Charlie 1 Horse All-Girl Team Roping title Wednesday, March 29, 2023, after making it back fifth high call. They walked away with the $20,000 aggregate check after roping four steers in 37.50 seconds.
Kelton, a 19-year-old from Mayer, Arizona, and 28-year-old DeSalvo were 7.95 seconds in the short round, but neither thought they would come out victorious in the average.
“There were still good teams after us,” said DeSalvo, a Wilmar, Arkansas, native. “Every one of them obviously roped good or else they wouldn’t have been in the top four teams. I didn’t even know what we had to be, but I knew we were seven [seconds], and I figured we were fast enough to be winning first. But after we roped, with the teams after us, I thought we’d win about third.”
The perfect high note ending for the pair after a day of ups and downs. After winning second in the first round with a 7.49, they drew a harder-running steer that they both felt they tracked too far and were 11.80 seconds.
“We planned on making up a little bit of time, that was our game plan on the third one,” said DeSalvo, who was riding a horse owned by Shawn and Tahnya Harris due to her good horse being hurt. “And he ran just as hard to the opposite corner. So, we just went and caught and saw where we were at.”
DeSalvo and Kelton were 10.26 seconds on their third steer to give them an average of 29.55 seconds and send them into the short round fifth. The final round ended with a solid run, just like the day started.
“It’s such a long day,” DeSalvo said. “It’s really a marathon. With the arena being so big and the fresher steers, you get a little bit of everything, and you just have to catch every one. I didn’t catch them all by two feet today, and I didn’t feel like I did a great job, but I caught the right ones.”
A Lazy E Affair
This win may have been Kelton’s first-ever BFI title, but she is no stranger to the Lazy E. Kenzie’s younger brother, Ketch, was recently crowned the 2023 JR Ironman Champion earlier this month, and the siblings were practically raised at the Cinch Timed Event Championship. Their father, Chance Kelton, made 12 consecutive Cinch Timed Event Championships from 1999-2011. For Kenzie, her history in this arena adds to the sweetness of today’s win.
“It’s just super fun,” said Kelton, a freshman at Central Arizona College at Casa Grande. “I love it. I love this arena—always have. But I’ve never had this much luck in it. This is my biggest win here so far.”
And on the other end of the run, DeSalvo is no stranger to the the All-Girl title. DeSalvo has won the Charlie 1 Horse All-Girl Team Roping crown five times now. This go around, however, comes as a sense of relief. In November, she tore some tendons in her hand at a roping in Arizona. After completing physical therapy, DeSalvo is finally back to roping frequently.
“It’s almost like I can take a deep breath,” DeSalvo laughed. “Like, it’s all going to be alright. Because it wasn’t for a little while. It’s special. It’s more special than the rest of them just because I completed the course.”
Kelton, who was riding a 12-year-old mare her family raised and her father trained, and DeSalvo have roped together before, but they have been waiting for the chance to rope again.
“I wanted the best headers I could get,” DeSalvo said. “There are no headers higher numbered than her; there’s a few that are the same but none higher. So, I figured why not get the highest-numbered headers I could get?”
The 6+ header knew the talent she had roping behind her today, too: the world’s first No. 8 female roper. And that sets her mindset.
“I just go out and I plan on staying off the barrier and catching everything I can,” Kelton said. “I don’t have to be fast, that’s my heeler’s job.”
For DeSalvo, her winning mindset focuses on the basics.
“If I put myself in a good spot and if I just set my loop on the ground, I’m going to catch,” DeSalvo said. “So I just want to ride my horse good into the right spot every time and just heel every steer when they’re ready. I try not to make anything happen, just heel them when they’re ready and catch every steer.”
2023 Charlie 1 Horse All-Girl Team Roping Results
Aggregate Results (on four steers)
1. Kenzie Kelton and Whitney DeSalvo, 37.50 seconds, $20,000
2. Dana Markham and Kelly Snow, 38.19 seconds, $14,000
3. Connie Harris and Megan Gunter, 39.49 seconds, $11,000
4. Carsyn Tharp and Kennlee Tate, 42.59 seconds, $8,000
5. Jessica Montgomery and Jackie Crawford, 43.13 seconds, $6,000
6. Martha Angelone and Danielle Roper, 43.86 seconds, $5,000
7. Kenna Francis and Whitney DeSalvo, 44.71 seconds, $4,000
8. Decca Gagan and Whitney DeSalvo, 45.05 seconds, $3,000
Incentive Results (on three steers)
1. Dana Markham and Kelly Snow, 27.76 seconds, $7,500
2. Emma Carrell and Courtney Crites, 29.45 seconds, $4,500
3. Connie Harriss and Megan Gunter, 31.21 seconds, $3,000
4. Avery Goegelle and Kelly Snow, 32.62 seconds, $2,500
5. Sydney Ball and Kennlee Tate, 33.52 seconds, $2,000
6. Carsyn Tharp and Kennlee Tate, 33.71 seconds, $2,000
Round One Fast Time
1. Kayelen Helton and Becky Cannizzaro, 6.49 seconds, $1,000
2. Kenzie Kelton and Whitney DeSalvo, 7.49 seconds, $800
3. Quincy Sullivan and Brett Woolsey, 7.97 seconds, $400
Round Two Fast Time
1. Danielle Lowman and Arena Ben, 6.27 seconds, $1,000
2. Hope Thompson and Kennlee Tate, 6.97 seconds, $800
3. Quincy Sullivan and Casey Jo Hodge, 7.23 seconds, $400
Short Go Fast Time
1. Kay Stevens and Rylee Stokes, 8.72 seconds, $1,000
2. Kelsey Pepion and Annette Stahl, 9.32 seconds, $800