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Mary Walker barrels to fourth consecutive rodeo Shootout victory

Barrel racer Mary Walker of Ennis, shown competing in last year’s Stock Show Rodeo Shootout, won the event for a fourth consecutive time.
Barrel racer Mary Walker of Ennis, shown competing in last year’s Stock Show Rodeo Shootout, won the event for a fourth consecutive time. Star-Telegram

The Fort Worth Stock Show Shootout Rodeo has been a big cash cow for Mary Walker.

The rodeo pays each event winner $10,000. Walker, the 2012 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion barrel racer who lives in Ennis, has won the Shootout title the past four years.

With the title at stake Thursday night, Walker won by turning in a final-round time of 17.077 seconds at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

Walker, who has earned $40,000 at the Shootout in the past four years, was stunned.

“The first year was awesome,” she said. “The second year was crazy. Last year, I couldn’t believe it. And this year, I can’t believe that I’ve done this four years in a row.”

Walker rode her prize horse, Latte, who helped her win the barrel racing world title five years ago.

“He loves this arena,” she said. “He’s a great first barrel horse. And that the first barrel sets out in the middle of the arena is what he loves.”

Walker said Latte also likes the atmosphere at Fort Worth’s Shootout Rodeo.

“He likes the dirt and he loves the commotion,” Walker said. “There’s so much commotion going on around here and he loves the excitement.”

After competing at the Stock Show Rodeo for many years, the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum has become a familiar place to Walker.

“It takes 45 minutes for me to get here,” she said. “So, I know most of the people in the stands.”

Cody Campbell, a former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, won the bull riding title with a score of 91 on a bull named Hard Knox.

Tim O’Connell won the title in bareback riding with a score of 89.5. Last year, he clinched the title at the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo. He also clinched the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s 2016 bareback riding title after competing in the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Dakota Eldridge, another former NFR qualifier, won the steer wrestling title after turning in a 3.7. He finished second at the Shootout last year with a 5.1.

In saddle bronc riding, 2015 world champion Jacobs Crawley, clinched the title after turning in an 88, a point higher than his brother, Sterling. Crawley won the rodeo aboard a bronc named Resistols Top Hat.

The Shootout rodeo format has become popular in recent years at large stock shows. The Fort Worth organizing committee features a long-running, traditional Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show along with the alternate format of the Shootout.

Fort Worth’s traditional PRCA rodeo, which begins Friday night, spans 16 days. Organizers also feature a variety of other shows such as Cowboys of Color Rodeo, the Bulls’ Night Out and the Shootout Rodeo.

Fort Worth organizers first added the Shootout rodeo in 2014. The Shootout Rodeo features five events: bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing. PRCA shows have those five plus tie-down roping and team roping.

Each event featured eight competitors. Each rider represented one of eight rodeos, a high-profile rodeo that the competitor won last year. Ivy Conrado, who won the 2015 Fort Worth Show barrel-racing title, was on the Fort Worth rodeo team.

The other rodeos that advanced competitors were Austin, Calgary, Houston, San Angelo, Denver, Reno, Nev., and Cheyenne, Wyo.

The rodeo also awarded a team title. Rodeo Houston finished No. 1. Fort Worth finished fourth.

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