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2002/01/11

Jennifer Wilson "Barrels" Way To Front by Kevin DeBusk Terry, Mississippi's Jennifer Wilson turned a first night mishap into a second round victory at the Wrangler National Finals. Wilson, who was making her first appearance at the Finals, entered the contest in the 13th position with earnings of $47,196. Wilson would go on to finish fifth in the average and move up to seventh in the World. Wilson, now twenty-six, competed in high school rodeo and then went on to barrel racing and competing in Futurities because she said she didn't like rodeoing. However now she says "I love it. I'm addicted to it. It's more exciting and never ending. With barrel racing it's always the same." Though joining the WPRA in 1999 Wilson actually didn't start competing till April or May of 2001. "This is awesome," she said, referring to her winning time of 14.05. "I knew it was a good round and that my horse (an eight year old Quarter Horse) was cutting corners really close but I never dreamed this would happen. I just wanted to make it this year. "Knocking the barrel over the first night didn't bother me one bit. I knew I had nine more chances and that I was going to have to ride smarter and harder or as they say jockey-up. Being thirteenth there's no pressure. You're not up there to contend for the number one spot. You're just going day by day to move up in the standings." So did she really think she could make it starting the year off late? "Yes," she remarked. "I had a good idea I would if I kept my head on straight and kept my horses feeling good. Of coarse I couldn't have done it without my parents." Ever though she has had success as a rookie Wilson admits next year will be easier. "I didn't know anything when I started out this year," she stated. "Next year I'll be able to do a lot differently because I'll have a lot more knowledge. "I'd heard a lot of horror stories going into it not to be friends with any of the girls because they would stab you in the back but they have been super nice. Anytime I needed help from them they were willing to sacrifices for me." Wilson now wants to help other like her and had this advice for beginners. "You need to have a good plan. You need to ask advice from people before you go out there cold turkey. You have to use your head and stick to business."

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