Cervi adds another impressive feat to stellar career

The list of accomplishments on four-time World Champion Barrel Racer Sherry Cervi’s resume just keep growing and growing.

The Marana, Ariz., cowgirl added yet another one last year when she and prized mare Stingray placed in all 10 rounds of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo en route to the gold buckle and added to it earlier this week. Cervi, who won her world titles in 1995, 1999, 2010 and 2013, extended her paycheck streak to 12 consecutive rounds before knocking over a barrel in Round 3.

Sherry Cervi and Stingray placed in 12 consecutive rounds at the Wrangler NFR.  --PRCA photo by Mike Copeman

Four-time World Champion Barrel Racer Sherry Cervi and her palomino mare Stingray placed in 12 consecutive rounds at the Wrangler NFR from 2013-14. –PRCA photo by Mike Copeman

The streak didn’t receive a ton of fanfare, but it is just as impressive as any of her other multiple accomplishments when you consider the stage upon which the achievement occurred. Cervi and Stingray didn’t place in 12 straight rounds at a backyard jackpot barrel race, but rather the biggest rodeo in the world that carries the most pressure.

Cervi hadn’t really given much thought to the streak, but did know it was going on. Looking back, she’s aware of the magnitude of her accomplishment.

“Last year, placing in all 10 rounds was pretty cool, and I didn’t really think about the streak continuing,” said Cervi, who tied the knot with Wrangler NFR team roper Cory Petska this summer. “It is a cool thing, because if you can come here and place in that many rounds in a row, it’s very, very tough competition. I’m very fortunate that Stingray loves this arena.”

Not since the days of Kristie Peterson and Bozo has the sport of barrel racing seen a streak like this, so it warrants a pause and some praise. According to three-time Wrangler NFR barrel racer and stat guru Joleee Lautaret, Peterson and her prized mount placed in 22 consecutive rounds from 1995-97 and reeled off another streak of 17 in a row from 1998-99.

Cervi gave all of the credit to her 12-year-old palomino.

“She runs well in big pens or little pens, and she thrives on the crowd and the adrenaline in the air,” said Cervi, who will enter Round 5 ranked sixth in the world standings. “She likes it, fortunately. She likes this arena, and she did it.”

The streak of 12 consecutive trips to the pay window for Sherry Cervi and Stingray continued with this run in Round 2, but ended on Saturday night.

The streak of 12 consecutive trips to the pay window for Sherry Cervi and Stingray at the Wrangler NFR continued with this run in Round 2, but ended on Saturday night when they knocked over a barrel.

The ever-competitive future Hall of Famer blamed herself for the end of the streak in the third round.

“I’m disappointed in myself for not riding well last night and for that streak stopping,” she said. “I want to do a better job riding my horse than I did last night. I hit a barrel and just quit riding, and you can’t do that in this little building.

“Stingray is not a barrel hitter, she does her job and is a very consistent horse. I’ve got to do better as a jockey.”

Cervi and Stingray rebounded on Sunday night, finishing fourth with a 13.91-second run to earn a check for $7,969.

Considering how much her steed enjoys running at the Thomas & Mack Center, another streak of the same kind may not be too far down the road.

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