The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association officially kicked off its 2023 season October 1, 2022, and we’ve got all the barrel racing updates and stories from the WPRA world standings race.
—> Find complete results and standings from the 2023 WPRA barrel racing pro rodeo season here.
Scroll down for stories and updates from the 2023 season.
Kassie Mowry Wins San Antonio and San Angelo, Moves to No. 2
EquiStat All-Time Leading Rider Kassie Mowry dominated the winter stock show rodeos. As of February, Mowry wasn’t even in the top 20 of the WPRA standings, but fast forward to May 1, and she’s sitting in the No. 2 position. Over the course of those three months, Mowry earned $37,963 — a large portion of that coming from the building rodeos. Her two biggest wins came in San Antonio and San Angelo, held February 9–25 and March 31–April 15, respectively.
The San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo is an important stop in the schedule for those looking for an NFR qualification. The rodeo held over the course of February boasted $1,440,001 in total payout, making it the second-highest paying Texas stock show rodeo.
Aboard CP He Will Be Epic, the Dublin, Texas, trainer made her way through the bracket system in San Antonio, picking up $2,500 from the long rounds. They topped the Wildcard round with a 13.96, worth $5,000, and advanced to the Finals, where they turned in a 13.95 to take home the championship, worth $22,500.
San Angelo, the last building rodeo of the season, offered up $699,710 in total payout. Mowry and “Will” continued their winning streak. They came out strong, splitting second place in the first round with Timber Allenbrand from a 15.82, worth $5,171. Mowry followed that with a first-place check in Round Two with a time of 14.04, worth $6,582. They went into the Finals and turned in a 14.00 for second place behind Lindsay Sears’ 13.88 and earned $3,657. Will’s efforts earned Mowry the San Angelo Rodeo aggregate title with a 43.86 on three runs, worth $9,873 for a total of $25,283 in earnings.
Across the stock show rodeos, Mowry earned the $47,783 from San Antonio and San Angelo, and then $1,540 in Fort Worth, $13,500 at Rodeo Houston and $4,063 at Rodeo Austin.
WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings as of May 1, 2023
- Jordon Briggs / $87,894.72
- Kassie Mowry / $65,264.70
- Jackie Ganter / $50,368.28
- Sissy Winn / $48,563.78
- Hailey Kinsel / $43,259.04
- Brittan y Pozzi Tonozzi / $43,035.88
- Molly Otto / $38,621.61
- Jimmie Smith-Tew / $35,658.49
- Wenda Johnson / $33,396.37
- Kelly Allen / $33,387.75
- Dona Kay Rule / $32,725.38
- Margo Crowther / $32,448.85
- Shelley Morgan / $32,211.50
- Jessica Routier / $31,866.65
- Lisa Lockhart / $31,680.01
- Sara Winkelman / $28,812.35
- Ilyssa Riley / $28,016.85
- Taycie Matthews / $27,451.79
- Summer Kosel / $27,362.08
- Emily Beisel / $26,005.06
Jordon Briggs Wins Rodeo Houston, Takes Lead in Standings
2021 world champion Jordon Briggs has steadily been moving up in the world standings since January, but she skyrocketed to the No. 1 position after winning the $50,000 Rodeo Houston title.
Rodeo Houston is the biggest winter rodeo of the year, boasting a $1,936,000 total payout from February 28–March 19. This year marks Briggs’ second consecutive Rodeo Houston title after winning the 2022 event as well.
While a Rodeo Houston win has solidified an athlete’s NFR qualification in years past, it’s important to note Briggs won her first WPRA world title in 2021 without a Rodeo Houston qualification at all. Now, it seems the $2.1 million EquiStat leading rider is taking advantage of her shot inside the NRG Stadium in Houston.
Her world champion mount Famous Lil Jet was a force to reckon with in Houston. “Rollo” kicked off the rodeo in Super Series 1 topping the first round with a 14.93, worth $3,000.
They were out of the money in the second round but came back in the third round to finish second with a 14.90, worth $2,000. That $5,000 tied Briggs with Andrea Busby — who bred Rollo and from whom Briggs purchased the sorrel gelding from in 2015 as a yearling — as Semifinals qualifiers.
From there, Briggs and Rollo advanced to the Super Series Semifinal 2 and turned in a 14.35 to win the round and earn $3,000.
But the show wasn’t over yet. They still had to make it through two more rounds. The Tolar, Texas, professional barrel racer finished third in the Championship long round with a 14.73, worth $2,500.
That was good enough to advance Briggs and her ultra-consistent gelding to the clean-slate Championship Shootout. Rollo turned in another 14.73 to win the coveted Rodeo Houston title and $50,000.
All totaled, Briggs earned $60,500 in Houston. Those earnings boosted her from No. 8 in the world standings to No. 1. As of May 1, she still holds onto that lead in the WPRA world standings.
WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings as of April 1, 2023
- Jordon Briggs / $87,895
- Jackie Ganter / $49,193
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / $43,036
- Sissy Winn / $42,452
- Kassie Mowry / $39,982
- Molly Otto / $38,622
- Margo Crowther / $32,449
- Jessica Routier / $31,867
- Lisa Lockhart / $31,680
- Hailey Kinsel / $30,557
- Kelly Allen / $26,983
- Sara Winkelman / $25,724
- Jimmie Smith-Tew / $25,316
- Ilyssa Riley / $24,743
- Bayleigh Choate / $22,400
- Emily Beisel / $22,088
- Taycie Matthews / $21,608
- Amanda Welsh / $21,308
- Dona Kay Rule / $20,694
- Erin Wetzel / $20,446
WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings as of March 1, 2023
- Jackie Ganter / $45,768
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / $29,974
- Lisa Lockhart / $29,842
- Sissy Winn / $28,658
- Margo Crowther / $27,535
- Kassie Mowry / $27,302
- Hailey Kinsel / $24,307
- Jordon Briggs / $23,467
- Emily Beisel / $21,148
- Ilyssa Riley / $20,279
- Bayleigh Choate / $19,598
- Kelly Allen / $19,316
- Jimmie Smith-Tew / $18,457
- Erin Wetzel / $18,431
- Dona Kay Rule / $16,387
- Taycie Matthews / $15,128
- Tiany Schuster / $14,649
- Nicole Love / $14,535
- Sara Winkelman / $13,829
- Ivy Hurst / $13,325
Jackie Ganter Wins Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo, Leaps to WPRA World Standings Lead
As of January 1, 2023, Jackie Ganter was fifth in the WPRA world standings with a little more than $9,000 to her name. By February 6, she was sitting No. 1 with $36,798. Ganter and Howes A Tycoon took home the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo championship after a grueling week and earned $25,260 to boost the Abilene, Texas, resident to the No. 1 spot.
It wasn’t an enter-and-win, pay-to-play path, however. The qualification into the big winter “building” rodeos can be a major factor in the future success of a pro rodeo athlete’s season. The qualification into the building rodeos is earned by several factors, mostly dependent on the success of the previous year. A percentage of the prior year’s world standings, circuit standings and WPRA Tour standings are taken to the building rodeos. Ganter has battled her way back into those qualifications after working through horse injuries since 2019. Ganter earned her berth to the limited-entry Fort Worth rodeo, held January 20–February 4, by finishing in the top four of the WPRA Tour the previous year. The WPRA Tour is point-based and reflects a member’s seven best results out of 60 qualifying events with $5,000 or less added money, and it’s one of the avenues used to determine limited-entry qualifications. She also earned her way into the other winter rodeos from winning the Card Holder’s Race at the WPRA World Finals in November.
“Fort Worth was probably the building rodeo this winter I felt the least prepared for — I felt like I had a plan at Denver and San Antonio, but at Fort Worth I felt like I’d take a few horses and see how it goes,” Ganter said with a laugh. “I didn’t really know which horse was going to run well or not, so it was shocking that was the rodeo I won.”
With three horses in her trailer, Ganter made the trip over to Fort Worth and made the game-time decision to give “Tycoon” the call. Fort Worth, while now inside Dickies Arena, still holds the same arena dimensions as the historic Will Rogers Coliseum, where it was previously held. Ganter says the first barrel specifically can offer up difficulties.
Ganter made her first run in Bracket 7, meaning she’d watched the previous six brackets of horses run and knew if a horse struggled with the first barrel it was likely not making it back to the Semifinals. That was the deciding factor in Tycoon getting the call for the Fort Worth rodeo, which boasted a total payout of $908,800.
“He typically would never run by the first barrel,” she said. “He’s going to find the barrels and turn them, so I went with him because I thought he would turn the first barrel. When you put him on the right stage, he knows to deliver.”
The 15-year-old gelding did exactly that, topping the first round of Bracket 7 with a time of 16.54, worth $1,760. The first round was on a Monday night, and they turned around and ran their second run Tuesday. Tycoon stumbled going to the second barrel, which cost them some time. They turned in a 16.74, but it wasn’t good enough to advance to the Semifinals. They did earn a Wildcard position, however, for the following night.
“I was first out in the Wildcard, and I knew in a Wildcard round I just had to go for it,” Ganter said. “Being first in the round you can’t think your way through it, because you don’t know what everybody else is going to do. I had to just go for first [place]. He absolutely threw down a great run. It’s probably one of my favorite runs I’ve ever made on him in the whole time I’ve owned him.”
That run pushed them into the Semifinals, which were set for the next night. This meant Ganter would have to make her fourth run in a row on Tycoon — something the 2016 NFR qualifier has never asked the gelding to do before.
“He’s legitimately never made four runs in a row. I felt like it was a lot to ask of him. I actually cried after my run, because I felt like I was asking too much of him,” Ganter said with a laugh.
Ganter says Tycoon was admittedly a little tired in the Semifinals but still conquered the Fort Worth set up and turned in a time of 16.56 to split second place with Jordon Briggs, worth $2,500 each. This also meant they advanced to the Finals and even got a day’s rest with the Fort Worth finals set for Saturday.
Ganter made sure Tycoon used that Friday for well-deserved rest and relaxation. That same weekend, a Texas ice storm blew through the arena and kept Ganter from traveling back to Abilene. She used her day making sure Tycoon was feeling his best.
“I just hung out all day Friday with him,” Ganter said. “I Bemer’ed him, did all the therapies and tried to make him feel good and made sure I got him out of his stall as much as I could.”
Saturday rolled around, and the clean-slate finals meant it had all come down to this one moment.
“I was really nervous,” Ganter admitted. “It had been a long, long time since I had been in a short round with that caliber of people and horses.”
The day of rest seemed to do the trick. Tycoon had a whole new spark for Saturday’s final round.
“He felt alive. He just showed up again,” Ganter said. “That was his fifth run that week, and he did it again and ran the same time he ran in the Wildcard. I did not see that coming.
“It was a really cool week,” she continued. “God has a plan, and when it’s your time, it’s your time. When it’s not your time, you can’t force it to happen, but when it is you can’t stop it from happening. I guess it was just our week.”
Ganter and Tycoon topped the Finals with a 16.30, worth $20,000. The Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo concluded February 4, and when the WPRA updated its standings February 6, Ganter had launched to the top of the standings. Not only is the win personally rewarding for Ganter, but professionally it means she’s opened the door for another potential NFR qualification.
“It was really exciting to get that win and a lump sum of money like that,” Ganter said. “It pushed me toward the top of the standings, and now I have a chance to try to make the NFR again. At the end of the day, everything comes down to the summer, but I’m thankful for it setting me up to go into the summer and feel good about it and to try to have a successful summer and make the Finals again. It’s been a long time. I haven’t made the Finals since 2016, so I would love to make it again, but I know it comes down to the summer and what can happen there.”
WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings as of February 6, 2023
- Jackie Ganter / $36,768
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / $25,974
- Sissy Winn / $23,158
- Ilyssa Riley / $18,503
- Hailey Kinsel / $17,807
- Lisa Lockhart / $17,650
- Jordon Briggs / $15,967
- Erin Wetzel / $14,974
- Tiany Schuster / $14,649
- Kelly Allen / $14,368
- Ivy Hurst / $13,325
- Emily Beisel / $12,081
- Abigail Knight / $11,913
- Stephanie Fryar / $11,012
- Sara Winkelman / $10,480
- Shannon Griffin / $10,285
- Darby Fox / $10,242
- Fonda Melby / $10,157
- Shali Lord / $10,071
- Margo Crowther / $9,644
WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings as of January 1, 2023
- Ilyssa Riley / $15,582.85
- Erin Owens Wetzel / $13,693.61
- Stephanie Fryar / $10,572.25
- Kelly Allen / $10,177.14
- Jackie Ganter / $9,124.33
- Sara Winkelman / $9,077.15
- Lisa Lockhart / $8,435.71
- Austyn Toney / $8,383.75
- Ivy Hurst / $8,338.93
- Leia Pluemer / $8,227.43
- Jordon Briggs / $7,947.22
- Tiany Schuster / $7,788.83
- Ashley Stpierre Rogers / $7,465.12
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / $7,447.40
- Nikki Hansen / $6,526.26
- Rachelle Riggers / $6,526.26
- Kacey Gartner / $6,413.27
- Cayla Melby Small / $6,256.81
- Rainey Skelton / $6,015.22