Cassidy Evans’ first trip to Las Vegas was a memorable one.
Thursday, the 13-year-old cowgirl from Yuma, Colorado, went to New York New York to ride the rollercoaster. Saturday, Evans won the inaugural Kelly Kaminski Run for Vegas pole bending at the Junior World Finals.
Evans won the short go-round with a 19.953-second run and the average with a three-run time of 60.383 seconds.
Her five-day run in Vegas capped an impressive year for Evans. She won the 2019 Colorado Junior High School Rodeo Association all-around title and qualified for the Junior World Finals in May to punch her ticket to Vegas.
“I was really excited to come to Vegas,” Evans said.
Evans might be even more excited to leave considering all she’s taking home. In addition to a buckle and a rope bag and other tools of the trade, Evans was handed an oversized check for $9,050. And when friends and family were finally finished taking photos, Evans loaded all her winnings into the back of her bran-new Cricket electric mini golf cart.
“My brothers really wanted me to get that Cricket,” Evans laughed.
She earned it with three of the fastest rides of the week and by getting faster as the week progressed.
“There were a couple of times that I got worried,” she said, “but I was pretty confident. My horse likes to run a lot, so the more times you run the pattern the faster he gets.”
Mollie Compton of Cleveland, Texas, was the reserve champion with a three-run time of 60.834. She also finished second in the short go with a 20.110.
Madison Murphy figured as long as she drove all the way from Florida, she might as well make it worth her while.
One year after finishing as the reserve champion, the 12-year-old from North Fort Myers rode Pepto to the KK Run for Vegas Run for Vegas senior barrel racing world championship. Murphy entered the short go leading the average with a two-run time of 27.916 and wrapped up the title with a 13.639-second run – her fastest of the week – in the short go.
“Pepto just really likes this pen,” Murphy said. “And he’s just working great right now.”
After the times were tabulated Murphy and the awards were handed out for pole bending and junior barrel racing, Murphy took her place front and center in the middle of the Wrangler Rodeo Arena. In front of her was a saddle, an oversized check for $10,450, a rope bag and other tools of the trade. Behind her was a brand-new horse trailer.
“Kelly (Kaminski) leaned over when we were taking pictures and said, ‘How do you like your trailer?’ I couldn’t believe it.”
“My goal this year was to win a saddle. I thought I got second again and I was going to be happy with that. But we won a trailer … it’s crazy.”
Cashen Turner of Edmond, Oklahoma, finished as the reserve champ with a 41.662 and Payton Schoeppack of Lincoln, California, was second in the short go with a 13.817.
In the junior division, 9-year-old Kami Klepac of Van Vleck, Texas, had the fastest run of the week to vault from fifth place to a world title. Klepac clocked in at 13.738 seconds in her final turn of the cloverleaf to finish with a three-run time of 42.010 seconds on Zoey.
“It feels good (to be a world champion),” Klepac said. “I just kept working with my horse all week and she got better. She’s fast.”
And she helped Klepac take home a check for $9,050 to go with a saddle and other barrel racing accessories.
Hometown cowgirl Lindee Moser was the re