HEBER CITY -- You can never have too much horse power.
Hauling a 10-year-old gelding and a 9-year-old mare in her horse trailer and riding them both during the Utah High School Rodeo Association season has catapulted the Spikers' McKale Hadley to the No. 1 hole in girls barrel racing.
The 18-year-old Hadley, who graduated from Fremont High School last month, won the first round of barrel racing at the UHSRA State Finals with a 16.540-second run aboard Jay, her 10-year-old gelding, who was a former racehorse.
"We bought him as a 2-year-old from Sherm Hadley, my uncle," Hadley said. "He ran really great. He turns really hard, and is a quicker horse who is good on both big and small patterns."
Hadley was up in Wednesday's second performance at the Wasatch County Event Center's new outdoor arena.
During the 2010-11 high school season, which included 29 qualifying rodeos, Hadley also ran her 9-year-mare, GW Lilley Bells, who she bought as a 6-year-old from Terri Wood-Gates.
Lilley Bells was Wood-Gates' futurity barrel horse.
After the first round of the state finals, Hadley leads the barrel racing with 77 points. The second round wraps up with tonight's sixth performance; Hadley makes her second run in this morning's fifth performance.
"I ran two horses all year and alternated them at rodeos," Hadley said. "It just depends on the day which horse is better. If I only had horse, it would be Jay, but I like to ride them both.
"It feels great to win a round at the state finals," she said. "This is what I wanted my senior year; this will help me."
Hadley was leading the barrel racing going into last year's Utah High School Rodeo Association State Finals with 69 points. She didn't place in the first round, took third in the second round and finished fifth in the short round.
Hadley qualified for the 2010 Utah National Team as a third-place finisher in barrel racing.
She was second in the short round at the 62nd annual National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyo., on July 24 and placed ninth in the three-run aggregate.
"At the start of the season, my goal was to make it to nationals again," Hadley said. "But since I've been here, I want to win state."
Saturday's championship short round is also the day Hadley turns 19.
"If I win state, I'm going to ride in it (championship trophy saddle) and show it off," she said. "I've thought about how nice it would be to win state on my birthday."
Hadley, who has a rodeo scholarship to Weber State University, is working four events -- breakaway roping, barrel racing, team roping and goat tying -- at the state finals.
"I missed my calf, my goat got up and I one-legged in team roping (for a five-second field penalty)," she said. "At least something has gone good this week. Barrel racing is my favorite event because it's the one I do the best in.
"Terri is kind of my coach and has helped me quite a bit," Hadley said. "Rodeo is it for me; it got me a college scholarship. I practice something every day, and I'm way excited to be going to Weber State."
Jessie Hodson, another member of the Ogden-based Spikers Rodeo Team, recorded a career-best 6.73-second run in girls goat tying to sweep the first round. She is splitting second and third place in the event standings with 76 1/2 points -- just 1 1/2 points off the lead.
"I've placed in a round before, but never won a round here," Hodson, 18, said. "Everything has to go right and make the opportunity match the intensity. I knew it could be fast, but not a 6.73."
Hodson was riding her 15-year-old mare Marie Lavo in Thursday morning's round-winning run.
"I've had her since she was eight, and I have three different horses," Hodson said. "She is really ornery, but runs true and straight and is trustworthy.
"I went to about 25-26 rodeos, and I'll put this award up next to the buckle case in my room," she said. "If I have another smooth run (Hodson was up again Thursday night), I will be placing in the average and have some room for error, which hopefully, won't happen."
Hodson's goat was tied in 11.18 seconds in its first out at the Utah High School Rodeo Association State Finals.
"My mom, Karen, scouts the goats for me -- which side they run to and whether they kick or not -- and gives me a game plan," Hodson said. "I don't like to be in the first performance. I like to scout the goats before I make my run and formulate a game plan."
Hodson, who is also competing in breakaway roping and barrel racing, has a rodeo scholarship to Weber State.
"When I was a seventh-grader at Rocky Mountain, I had to decide between comp sports and rodeo," she said. "I picked rodeo because I was best at it and my family would help me. Right now, my favorite event is goat tying."
Jessie, a Fremont High graduate, is the oldest of Brad and Karen's five daughters with baby sister, Kenna, only seven months old.
Meggen, 16, qualified for the state finals and 11-year-old twins, Emma and Erryn, start junior high rodeo this fall and will be sixth-graders.
"It hasn't been my week until today," said Jessie, who has never qualified for the NHSFR. "I'll keep practicing because I want to be a national champion."