It was only their second time roping together, but for Kenzie Kelton and Whitney DeSalvo, the pairing has been quite sweet. When the dust settled, it was the college student from Arizona and three time WPRA World Champion from Arkansas that sealed the deal and walked away as the 2023 Bob Feist Invitational Charlie 1 Horse All-Girl Team Roping Champions and a $20,000 payout.
The team roped sharp throughout the day, coming into the Short Round in fifth position with a time of 29.55 seconds on three head. It was their smart and consistent run of 7.95 seconds on their fourth steer that put them in the driver’s seat of the roping. Sweating it out past four impressive teams, Kelton and DeSalvo ultimately came out on top with an overall time of 37.50 seconds.
DeSalvo joked about the wait in between teams, explaining “I didn’t think we were going to get it and I didn’t expect it, there were a few really great teams ahead of us. I’m just glad it all worked out the way it did.”
Winning big at the BFI is nothing new for DeSalvo, who has now taken home her fifth Charlie 1 Horse Team Roping title since 2018. DeSalvo expressed her excitement and gratitude, explaining that this win is just as sweet, if not sweeter as they hadn’t anticipated the win going into the short round. DeSalvo also explained this win was important to her year thus far, as she has been recovering from a hand injury over the past few months.
Kelton, a Mayer, Arizona native explained she knew she just had to do her job, watch the barrier and let the rest fall into place. Kelton is currently in her first year of college at Central Arizona College and explained how this win is an exciting moment in her career. As a freshman, she hopes this momentum will continue throughout the college rodeo season and beyond. Kelton also touched on the importance of family and a supportive network. Recently, it seems the Keltons have been synonymous with the Lazy E Arena and winning, as her brother Ketch took home the Jr Ironman Title just less than a month ago.
Both Kelton and DeSalvo expressed their excitement and gratitude for the BFI and the prestige that comes with winning it. Looking forward, this win provides positive momentum going into the summer run, as well as the rest of the week. DeSalvo will be competing on Saturday, April 1 at The Feist and Kelton will be competing in the Charlie 1 Horse All Girl Breakaway Roping.