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Dominating Dodge City

Courtesy the August 4, 2015, Barrel Racing Report

WPRA rookie Elizabeth (“Tillar”) Murray and her 15-year-old gelding Lil Gracie Dude topped the historic Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. Murray and “Tic Tac” won all but the first go, in which they finished eighth, to earn $8,304.

“Tic Tac worked really well and that was a huge blessing,” said Murray. “At the beginning of the summer, he got hurt right after Reno when he kicked the stall and cut his leg. He was out for the first four weeks of the summer. I got him back and ran him a Nampa (Idaho). It’s a huge blessing that he came back really well from his injury.”

Tic Tac, a 2000 sorrel solid, is by Smart Lil Crimson out of Gracies Doll, by Buster Welch. Murray purchased the gelding five years ago from Bailey Bankston of Paris, Texas. Bankston had done really well on Tic Tac in the United Professional Rodeo Association when Murray asked if he was for sale.

“I felt so fortunate when we got him,” Murray said. “It was a huge blessing. Before I got him, I couldn’t even qualify for the state high school finals and two years after I bought him I won the Texas State High School Finals on him. It was really neat to have him throughout high school and now running at pro rodeos on him.”

Murray, an incoming Freshman business major at the University of Texas in Austin, didn’t grow up in a rodeo family. She learned to ride at her grandparent’s ranch near Houston. When her family moved from Dallas to Fort Worth, seven years ago, the proximity to their place in Lipan, Texas, made riding horses more feasible.

She said that legendary trainers Ed and Martha Wright have had a profound impact on her barrel racing, saying that as a “city girl” she didn’t know anything until she started working with them.

“I have to give a huge thank you to them,” she said. “They’ve been a huge help for the past several years. I wouldn’t be doing anything close to what I’m doing without them. When I first started riding, I was barely loping the pattern. To have them help me along the way has been a huge blessing. Ed helped me get with Tic Tac. Martha is so sweet. Throughout the summer, she helped me so much. I called her all the time because I had never really hauled that far. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without their help along the way.”

Murray also wanted thank her parents, especially her father for spending the summer on the road with her.

“It wasn’t just my dad, it was my mom and sisters too,” she said.“It really does take a whole team to make it work.”

She also gave a shout out to her sponsor Myristol Pro.

“Tic Tac is 15-year-old and I really believe that Myristol Pro has really helped him out,” she said.

Surprisingly, Murray hadn’t planned on getting her WPRA Card until after she finished college, but Tic Tac made her change her mind.

“Tic Tac is so special,” she said. “I basically learned to ride on him. I knew he was special enough to go to the pro rodeos so I just decided to go ahead and buy my card. It’s been a really neat experience to be able to do it with Tic Tac while he’s still relatively young. We didn’t go really hard this summer. We kind of hiked around and explored the towns. We had a great time.”

Murray also worked the Abilene, Kansas, rodeo between her runs at Dodge City. She placed sixth there for $708 aboard Say Hello To Goodbye (“Big John”). She’s currently 41st in the WPRA World Standings with $26,965.

Although she plans on making a few easily accessible rodeos—like Lawton, Okla., and Lovington, N.M., Murray is looking forward to staring business school.

“It’s bittersweet, going home, but it’s been a lot of fun. It was a great experience to haul all summer. I’m sure the horses are looking forward to the break. I move to Austin in two weeks. I think it will be a nice change.”


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