Mesa’s Haillie Taylor takes big lead in breakaway roping

J.D. Sessions finally bites the dust despite managing to stay on when his horse fell over backward on him in the chute during the Maverick Stampede on Friday at Mesa County Fairgrounds. The crowd gave the Utah Valley student another shot at bareback riding, during which he stayed on and scored a 50-point ride. The rodeo continues tonight.

During the inaugural Maverick Stampede Rodeo at the Mesa County Fairgrounds on Friday, freshman rider Haillie Taylor had an easier than normal task during the breakaway roping event.

Hook the rope around the bolting calf, and don’t incur a 10-second penalty for breaking the barrier that gives the calf a head start.

Taylor was the final rider, and the leader’s time was 13.9 seconds, which included a 10-second penalty.

Taylor streaked into the arena as the barrier rope whipped free, and was careful as she slung the rope around the calf’s head.

The rope broke from the saddle and stayed hooked around the calf as the crowd erupted in cheers. Taylor quickly looked back, concerned she broke the barrier.

“I felt a little late (out of the chute),” Taylor said. “With all the girls missing I was just looking back at my coach to see if everything was good and my time stood.”

During the first CMU-hosted rodeo since the program began, Taylor was the first Mesa rider to lead an event after Day 1 of the event. Her time of 4.9 seconds gave her a sizable lead heading into tonight’s final. 

“She did a good job,” coach Jimmy Allen said. “The cows are running hard for these girls. But she did what she had to to get it won.”

Taylor is among a handful of female competitors on the CMU team who have had success this spring. Freshman Sabrina Walker notched a no time in the breakaway roping on Friday, she has competed in almost every rodeo this year, traveling as far as Idaho.

“Sabrina Walker, she’s from over in Denver, she’s been competing well for us in nearly every meet this year,” Allen said. “She’s been solid for us in breakaway and goats; she’s been great.”

Allen said although Taylor had a slow start to the season, her performance Friday capped a string of hot performances.

“She’s kicked it up,” Allen said. “The first part of the semester, I think she got the jitters, and wasn’t doing as good as she could. These last three rodeos she’s really kicked it up and gotten where she’s capable of being.”

The CMU men didn’t have a strong showing Friday, but Allen said his cowboys are young.

Jake Voros and Jake Engleman are each 1½ years into bulldogging careers, and Allen said he’s seen them improve every rodeo.

“They’ve both been great,” Allen said. “I know Jake got one down and he was super excited about it. Bulldogging is brutal but it is crazy fun.”

The top 10 finishers from schools in Colorado, Utah, and Idaho, will compete in the finals tonight at 7 at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.


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