LAS VEGAS – That’s the run Carlee Pierce is been waiting for.
Pierce won the sixth go-round Tuesday, posting a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo-best 13.51-second run to earn $18,257. It was a redemption, of sorts, for her start, and it proved how phenomenal she is, especially with her great horse, Rare Dillion, 12-year-old buckskin she calls Dillion.
“Dillion felt really good tonight,” she said of the gelding. “He was anxious to get in the arena. He turned the first so good. Normally when he turns the first so snappy, I know it’s going to be a good run. My focus was to run to the walls. I didn’t care if we were six strides past the barrels, I wasn’t going to hit one tonight. It worked, so I’m happy.”
She should be. She has earned $32,686 in six days – technically, she’s placed in just two go-rounds, so when she finishes the pattern without penalties, she’s done pretty well – and has pushed her season earnings to $157,206.
“Dillion is an amazing gift from God,” Pierce said. “He does a lot of the work. The thing I’m learning on Dillion on this particular pen is I can’t make a mistake on him, because he is not forgiving. I have to ride the way Dillion wants me to ride.”
It takes a special mind-set to be able to do that, but Pierce seems to have it. She got a little boost from a rodeo legend on Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before the sixth round.
“I signed autographs today with Gary Leffew,” she said of the bull rider who helps train rodeo athletes. “He spoke with me for an hour, and he told me how to focus and how he focused when he teaches kids. I tried a few little things tonight to just get bonded with Dillion. If that’s what helped me, I’m going to try again, and we’ll see.
“I’m doing something that a lot of people only dream of doing. I’m happy to be in Vegas. The fans are great. They always make me feel welcome and boost my spirits up.”