Moody looking to get back to NFR, top of world rankingsLast year was the first time in three years that the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo got under way without Jill Moody. The Letcher resident isn’t planning on that being the case when the NFR rolls around this December.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
Last year was the first time in three years that the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo got under way without Jill Moody.
The Letcher resident isn’t planning on that being the case when the NFR rolls around this December.
Moody, who won the NFR barrel racing aggregate title in 2008, had her 2009 season cut short due to her top horse, Dolly, coming down with pneumonia. But Dolly is back to the grind now, and Moody is back near the top of the barrel racing world rankings.
“Right now I’m in fifth place I believe, so it’s looking like I should be all right as long as nothing catastrophic happens between now and then,” Moody said in a phone interview from a competition in Reno, Nev., earlier this week. “Dolly’s been good; she’s come back strong this year, which has been a huge relief for me.”
Dolly is the horse Moody primarily competes on, though she does have three other horses that accompany her on cross-country trips.
She was en route from Reno to Prescott, Ariz., this week, and plans on competing all over the western United States before summer comes to an end. She said she also plans to compete in rodeos in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and Idaho over the next few months.
She will be heading to Calgary, Alberta — which is where Dolly came down with pneumonia last year — for an invitation-only competition later this summer. That competition will likely mean she will miss the 40th annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, which is scheduled for July 15-18.
“Every year I would love to get back to the area for more rodeos, and I tried to do that this year,” said Moody, who is a seven-time South Dakota Rodeo Association Barrel Racing Champion. “I looked at my schedule every different way to try and make it back for the Stampede Rodeo, but it just gets too tiresome.”
Moody isn’t alone on all her road trips, though.
Her mother oftentimes travels with her, and her husband, Terry, takes his turns as well. Bobbi Tomes, another Letcher resident, also keeps Moody company when traveling to some of her rodeos.
“I don’t think I could do it all alone,” Moody said of her summer travels. “With three dogs, four horses and all this driving, I’m very pleased to have someone there with me as often as possible.”
With her summer schedule kicking into full gear over the next few weeks, Moody said she thinks Dolly — along with her three other horses — is healthy and ready for a successful summer. She said with the Fourth of July coming fast, she hopes to get a good amount of racing in before the holiday passes.
And even though she may not have qualified for the NFR last December — the top 15 barrel racers compete at the Las Vegas event — her expectations haven’t dropped one bit.
Especially now that she finds herself climbing the rankings, much like she was prior to Dolly’s illness.
“Everybody has different goals, and mine is to win the world championship,” she said. “I’m not sure if that’s realistic this year since I got a late start, though. The girl who’s in first won a big rodeo in Houston; she’s good and she won’t be going away.
“But I always want to be first.”