Originally created 11/05/06

Open finals win Taylor-made



Teresa Carver says her 11-year-old daughter, Taylor, has been riding horses since before she was born.

"I was riding when I was pregnant with her," Teresa explained.

That added experience paid off Saturday night at James Brown Arena, helping 65-pound Taylor do something her mama never could do.

Taylor Carver, from Broxton, Ga., won the open finals of the 14th annual National Barrel Horse Association World Championships on Saturday night with a time of 14.104 on gelding Papa Stop.

"This is one of my biggest wins yet," Taylor said after the victory. "Mom, you never had a win this big."

A flawless run allowed Carver - donned in a sparkling pink jacket - to best a strong field that saw several favorites record no times by knocking over barrels.

Teresa Carver rode Papa Stop for 12 years, making the finals in the championship several times.

"We always made the finals together, but we could never win," Teresa Carver said. "We always tripped, slipped or knocked over a barrel."

Taylor won the trophy in her first time qualifying for a world show - bringing home the $5,283 winner's check.

"It feels great," she said. "I was hoping I'd win it."

Taylor, a Georgia State Youth Champion and four-time Georgia State Open winner, took over Papa Stop's reins two years ago, at age 9, as a surprise from her parents at a show.

"We knew they had a chance if everything went right. We were hoping, not expecting," Teresa Carver said.

Carver, the 151st of 160 entries in the finals, bettered Mesa Leavitt's time of 14.140 to become the second straight Georgian to win the event in surprising fashion. Sarah McDonald of Brunswick, Ga., won last year.

"We don't really worry about what kind of times have been run," Teresa said. "We just try to get the best possible run we can. We do like to watch the good horses run to see what the ground's like. That's all."

Jesse Wagner of West Harrison, Ind., posted a time of 14.161, Carrie Thompson of Morton, Miss., finished with a 14.218, and Montie Ledford of Tulsa, Okla., rounded out the first division's top five with a time of 14.276.

Some of the more well-known entries included Chuck Tolbert's time of 14.574 on What a Sharp Chick, Brett Monroe's 14.370 on SR Red Ryder, and Tyrney Steinhoff's no time after knocking over the third barrel on what appeared to be a threatening run.

Savannah Swann and Tiny's Lady Cat (14.612) won the second division; Dawn McCarty and Mag Bet (15.107) won the third division; and Danielle Shane and Miss Molly Mark (16.123) won the fourth division.

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steven.l.sanders@augustachronicle.com.