GUTHRIE, Oklahoma—Ashlyn Goven, who’s only 14, took the last final of her freshman year of high school this morning in math. This afternoon—competing against some of her cowgirl heroes at the $500,000 World Champions Rodeo Alliance Semi-Finals—she piloted her 8-year-old horse Irish to a smoking 16.371-second run to advance to tomorrow’s finals here at the Lazy E Arena.

Ashlyn Goven and Irish are the best of barrel racing buddies.

“I didn’t expect this,” smiled the sweet and slender blonde, who’s a Western Christian Academy independent-study student and is the daughter of Matthew and Jessica Goven. “Irish really surprised me. I’m extremely thrilled.

Ashlyn and Irish doing work in 16.371 seconds during today’s progressive round at the $500,000 WCRA Semi-Finals.

“I look up to a lot of barrel racers—including Hallie Hanssen and Ivy Conrado, who also ran here today. They’re amazing riders. It gives me a boost of energy to be competing on the same level as them.”

The barrel racing dream of this tiny-town, Cowboy State cowgirl from Rozet, Wyoming—population 25?

“I really haven’t gotten that far yet,” said Goven, who describes her hometown as, “quiet, no traffic, flat plains with big pastures. The horses like it, so that’s all that matters.” “I’m just taking it one step at a time and seeing where life takes me.

“The WCRA is just compatible with everybody. The people who put on these rodeos are nice, they help everybody and they treat us all so good. The WCRA is just a fun organization, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”