MARCH 8, 2023 — ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The American Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge takes over Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, from March 8-11, 2023, and we’ve got all the barrel racing results, updates and stories from the richest single-day event in western sports.

—> Find complete results from The American Rodeo barrel racing here.

Scroll down for stories and updates from winners of each round.

Lisa Lockhart Earns Third The American Rodeo Barrel Racing Title

MARCH 11, 2023 — ARLINGTON, TEXAS — As the last barrel racer to run in a tough Final Four that saw some of the fastest times of the entire event, Lisa Lockhart sent Promise Me Fame Guys gunning down the alley in Globe Life Field to a flawless 15.248 to win The American Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge and a check for $100,000. The victory marked Lockhart’s third The American Rodeo championship — she won the very first The American in 2014 and then followed with a consecutive title in 2015, both aboard her great gelding An Oakie With Cash (“Louie”).

“I think the American has meant a lot to the industry, and just to people at home with the connections it has made with the industry and fans of rodeo,” Lockhart said. “The American has opened up the doors for so many and lit a fire under so many people and younger people and people that don’t do this for a living. I think that’s what’s so great about it.

“And from the very beginning, they’ve capitalized on those stories about these people, and involve them,” she continued. “And, it’s just great for the industry in general. Some of those people will be Richie Champion, or Hailey Kinsel — look where these people have gone and where it’s taken them. It’s huge, and I just cannot commend them enough. They’re continually trying to make it bigger and better and always trying to move forward.”

Lockhart earned her berth to The American as one of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s top five. “Levee” was the picture of both consistency and speed in Arlington, as the duo made it into the Final Four in the No. 4 spot after a 15.461 in the long round of 10 earlier in the day behind Jordon Briggs, Jimmie Smith-Tew and Bayleigh Choate.

Lisa Lockhart leaving second barrel
Lisa Lockhart earned her third The American Rodeo barrel racing championship for $100,000 with a 15.248 at the 2023 event aboard Teton Ridge-owned 2016 gelding Promise Me Fame Guys (Aint Seen Nothin Yet x Bar Blue Lass x FC Aboo). Photo by Kenneth Springer

Most fans have come accustom to seeing Lockhart aboard one of two talented buckskins: her two-time American Champion Louie, and Alan Woodbury’s 2010 mare Rosas Cantina CC, whom Lockhart has ridden at several The American Rodeos and National Finals Rodeos. This year Lockhart called on the Teton Ridge-owned gelding Promise Me Fame Guys. “Levee” skyrocketed to fame during the 2022 Wrangler NFR. Levee and Lockhart won $163,326 together in Vegas, catapulting Lockhart from No. 14 in the world standings to No. 4, which is ultimately what gave Lockhart the opportunity to run at The American in 2023.

“There were questions [about whether to ride Levee] because I didn’t know what they were going to do with the arena. If it was going to be like Globe Life field for the NFR in 2020 then it was going to be Rosa,” she said. “As it was with the pattern being a little bit off center, and off to the right, and the first barrel being on the fence there was no doubt what horse was fitting the situation and that was going to be Levee.”

The 2016 gelding by Aint Seen Nothin Yet and out of Bar Blue Lass by FC Aboo has turned into the consistent partner Lockhart needed on the rodeo road. Started on the barrels by his breeder Tenley Epperson, Levee was futuritied to more than $120,000 in EquiStat reported earnings by trainer Samantha Flannery before he sold to Teton Ridge during June of his futurity year in 2021 and joined Lockhart’s program.

While the talented young gelding has caught the eye of fans his success with Lockhart wasn’t born overnight. It’s been a consistent partnership built in true Lockhart fashion — with the success of the horse at the forefront. It’s a bond that has fans reminiscing about their favorite buckskin Louie.

“Since the beginning, since I started trying to get a bond with him, we’ve worked on it slowly and steadily; seasoning him to the rodeo process,” Lockhart said. “Even when Samantha was riding him and he was green just the fact that he liked his job and went out there and did it and getting to know Tenley and her training process with him and what she did when she trained him it so reminded me of Louie.

“But fast forward; his personality, his big eyes, his desire to be a pet. He loves his humans, he loves food, everything about it and the way he runs, just the consistency it’s crazy,” Lockhart continued about the similarities between Louie and Levee. “He’s got his own identity, but I’ve gone so far as to say he’s a little Louie in a great costume.”

With Lockhart’s The American Rodeo championship win in the books she’s earned more  than $3.2 million in EquiStat reported lifetime earnings. An accomplishment only achieved by a handful of barrel racers in the world. Match that with three The American Rodeo wins — joining Hailey Kinsel as the only other barrel racer to have accomplished that feat — Lockhart can reflect on a career far from over, but also far above what she ever imagined. One resounding truth to her success has remained the same in her more than four decades of barrel racing and that is the respect for which she holds her horses — Levee included.

“He’s earned his right to the top of the A Team, and it’s a place he deserves to be,” Lockhart said.

“Horses have been my passion my entire life,” she continued. “Horses are good for our soul, they are at least great for mine anyway. It’s not just about training another champion, it’s about the bond and appreciating the little things they bring to you and getting to know them as a horse, as an individual. It’s a continual education process, and I love being a sponge about it and learn from the horse. I always say horses don’t talk, but they do if you listen.”

The American Rodeo 2023 Barrel Racing Final Four Results

  1. Lisa Lockhart, Promise Me Fame Guys, 15.248, $100,000
  2. Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 15.289, $25,000
  3. Bayleigh Choate, Hail To Be Famous, 15.309, $10,000
  4. Jimmie Smith-Tew, A Valiant Nicky, 15.548, $5,000

The American Rodeo 2023 Barrel Racing Long Round Results

  1. Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 15.145
  2. Jimmie Smith-Tew, A Valiant Nicky, 15.416
  3. Bayleigh Choate, Hail To Be Famous, 15.460
  4. Lisa Lockhart, Promise Me Fame Guys, 15.461
  5. Wenda Johnson, Steal Money, 15.468
  6. Latricia Duke, DM High Roller, 15.547
  7. Hailey Kinsel, VQ Nonstop Stinson, 15.581
  8. Tamara Barnhart, Guys Sweet Design, 15.971
  9. Sherry Cervi, MP Ray Of Fame, 19.202
  10. Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 20.602*

*denotes penalty

Tamara Barnhart Wins The American Contender Tournament Finals

MARCH 9, 2023 — ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Tamara Barnhart and Guys Sweet Design (Guys First Down Fame x Smart Designer x Design Jet) have been partners since the 2016 buckskin mare was a yearling. Barnhart purchased “Lucy” five years ago from Glenn Johnson of Athol, Idaho. Together, Barnhart and Lucy have been making dreams come true, but it wasn’t an easy road to the winner’s circle. Barnhart admits the training process was a little tough and the talented mare nearly died after a bout of colic. Through all the adversity the duo came back stronger than before and earned more than $103,321 prior to this year’s The American Rodeo. Now, they are making a big splash inside Globe Life Field and added earnings to their record along the way.

On Thursday, The American Contender Finals featured the top four athletes from each American Regional events, plus the Wild Card winner from Wednesday. It was Barnhart and Lucy that came out on top of the field with a fast time of 15.516. She along with the other four fastest time will advance to Saturday’s The American Rodeo.

Find full results here.

buckskin horse turning barrel
Tamara Barnhart and Guys Sweet Design topped the field of The American Rodeo Contender Finals with a time of 15.516. They will advance to Saturday’s main event, The American Rodeo, for a chance at the $1 million bonus. Photo by Kenneth Springer

London Gorham Wins The American Contender Tournament Wild Card

MARCH 8, 2023 — ARLINGTON, TEXAS — London Gorham is not new to success in The American Rodeo barrel racing. In 2018 at the age of 10, Gorham topped the first round of The American Semifinals inside historic Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. The Cowtown Coliseum is notorious for challenging even the best barrel horses and riders in the world with its unique setup. Now, five years later, the teenage talent showed up to Arlington, Texas, to prove her worth again inside a tricky arena setup in Globe Life Field.

Aboard Runnin With Wings, the Cotulla, Texas, cowgirl topped the tough field of 93 barrel racers, which included National Finals Rodeo qualifiers and former American qualifiers. Gorham and “Homeboy” turned in a time of 15.353 to win The American Rodeo Contender Tournament Wild Card and earn a berth to Thursday’s Contender Tournament Finals.

Homeboy is a 7-year-old sorrel gelding by JL Dash Ta Heaven and out of Nicki Nick Bar by Colonel Azucar and started his career with James Barnes at the reins, earning more than $15,756 in EquiStat reported earnings. From there, Gorham and Homeboy kicked off their career together and have earned more than $38,416 together thus far, not including their Wild Card earnings.

Only one person advances from the Wild Card to Thursday’s Contender Tournament Finals where they will have to battle it out once again for an advancement to Saturday’s The American Rodeo. Gorham and Homeboy earned that honor and will try their hand at earning one of the five spots advancing from the Contender Tournament Finals to The American Rodeo.

barrel racer turns second barrel
London Gorham and 7-year-old gelding Runnin With Wings (JL Dash Ta Heaven x Nicki Nick Bar x Colonel Azucar) won The American Rodeo Contender Tournament Wild Card with a 15.353. Photo by Kenneth Springer

The American Rodeo Barrel Racing Results:

Contender Tournament Wild Card:
  1. London Gorham, Runnin With Wings, 15.353
  2. Stephanie Fryar, Some Streakin French, 15.401
  3. Pete Oen, DR Famous Legacy, 15.426
  4. Oceane Veilleux, Heavens Guy, 15.444
  5. Mattie Jackson, License To Kill, 15.489
  6. Kim Schulze, French Me Or Else, 15.536
Contender Tournament Finals:
  1. Tamara Barnhart, Guys Sweet Design, 15.516
  2. Sherry Cervi, MP Ray Of Fame, 15.523
  3. Latricia Duke, DM High Roller, 15.524
  4. Bayleigh Choate, Hail To Be Famous, 15.545
  5. Jimmie Smith-Tew, A Valiant Nicky, 15.634

The American Rodeo Contender Tournament Wild Card Draw

The American Rodeo Contender Tournament kicks off March 8 at Globe Life Field with the Wild Card featuring 93 barrel racers vying for a spot in the Contender Tournament Finals on March 9. Find the Wild Card Draw here.

The American Rodeo Contender Finalists

  1. Latricia Mundorf
  2. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi
  3. Dusky Lynn Hall
  4. Merrick Moyer
  5. Kathleen Menard
  6. Sable Miller Emerson 
  7. Jimmie Smith-Tew
  8. Bayleigh Choate
  9. Sherry Cervi
  10. Taylor Hanson 
  11. Tamara Barnhart
  12. Emilee Drawver 

Top Five Barrel Racing Invitees

1. Hailey Kinsel 

Hailey Kinsel standing with Sister
Hailey Kinsel of Cotulla, Texas, with her three-time WPRA World Champion DM Sissy Hayday. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Cotulla, Texas

Horses: DM Sissy Hayday (“Sister”), 2011 mare, PC Frenchmans Hayday x Royal Sissy Irish x Royal Shake Em; DH Jess Stellar (“Jules”), 2013 mare, Mighty Jess x PC Frosted Stellar x Sun Frost; TR Judges Doll (“Reese”), 2016 mare, Judge Cash x TR Dashing Badger x Mr Illuminator; VQ Nonstop Stinson (“Valentina”), 2017 mare, Eddie Stinson x Honor This Nonstop x Mr Honor Bound; Thunder Stones (“TJ”), 2004 gelding, Sticks An Stones x See F Jets Candy x Pines Easter Jet

WPRA 2022 Season Earnings: $302,172

NFR Qualifications: 6 (2017–22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $2,915,653

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 WPRA World Champion, 2022 Champion San Antonio, Texas; Guymon, Oklahoma; Ellensburg, Washington. 2022 Reserve Champion Fort Worth, Texas, stock show rodeo and Texas Champions Challenge at Fort Worth; Kennewick and Bremerton, Washington; Levelland, Texas. Third at Rodeo Houston and Belton, Texas; Puyallup, Washington. 2018-2020 WPRA World Champion, 2020 Wrangler NFR Average Champion, Fastest Time and set NFR earnings record, two-time WPRA standard pattern rodeo record setter (Dodge City, Kansas, in summer 2020, broke it at Wrangler NFR in December 2020). 2020, 2019 and 2017 RFD-TV’s The American Champion. NFR Thomas and Mack Center arena record holder (13.11 seconds in 2017), 2017 WPRA Reserve World Champion, 2017 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Barrel Racing Champion, multiple pro rodeo wins

2. Jordon Briggs

Jordon Briggs
2021 WPRA world champion Jordon Briggs.

Hometown: Tolar, Texas

Horses: Famous Lil Jet (“Rollo”), 2014 gelding, Dash Ta Fame x Blazin Black Beauty x Blazin Jetolena

WPRA 2022 Season Earnings: $274,520

NFR Qualifications: 3 (2009, 2021-22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $2,040,403

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 WPRA Reserve World Champion, Famous Lil Jet voted 2022 and 2021 WPRA/AQHA Horse of the Year, 2021 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer and NFR average champion. 2022 Champion Rodeo Houston, WCRA Utah Days of ’47, Vernal and Ogden, Utah. 2022 Reserve Champion Reno, Nevada; Belle Fourche, South Dakota; NFR Open (formerly RAM National Circuit Finals) in Colorado Springs. 2009 Wrangler NFR qualifier and round winner. 2006 Barrel Futurities of America World Futurity Champion (aboard 2009 NFR mount Frenchmans Jester), 2014 BFA Juvenile Futurity Champion (aboard 2021 back-up rodeo horse Frenchmans Future). Multiple pro rodeo, futurity, derby, aged-event and open wins

3. Shelley Morgan 

Shelley Morgan
Shelley Morgan. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Eustace, Texas

Horses: HR Fameskissandtell (“Kiss”), 2014 mare, CEO x Fames Fiery Kiss x Dash Ta Fame; Kinda Heavenly (“Phoebe”), 2013 mare, JL Dash Ta Heaven x Kindabugginme x Bug In My Frosty; Will Merada (“Radar”), 2007 gelding, Light N Lena x Meradas Oh Cay x Freckles Merada

WPRA 2022 Season Earnings: $265,030

NFR Qualifications: 4 (2009, 2020-22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $1,043,985

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 NFR Average Champion, 2022 Champion Pecos and Nacogdoches, Texas; Walla Walla, Washington; Greeley, Colorado. 2022 Reserve Champion NFR Open; Puyallup, Washington. 2022 Champion The American Rodeo. HR Fameskissandtell honored with 2020 Scoti Flit Bar Rising Star award. 2021 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (now NFR Open) Champion and multiple national circuit finals qualifier, multiple Texas Circuit Finals qualifier, multiple pro rodeo and open wins, futurity money earner

4. Lisa Lockhart

Lisa Lockhart
Lisa Lockhart. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Oelrichs, South Dakota

Horses: Rosas Cantina CC (“Rosa”), 2010 mare, Corona Cartel x Dash Ta Vanila x Dash Ta Fame; Prime Diamond (“Cutter”), 2011 gelding, Prime Talent x Hugos Diamond x Hugo Streakin; Promise Me Fame Guys (“Levee”), 2016 gelding, Aint Seen Nothin Yet x Bar Blue Lass x FC Aboo

WPRA 2022 Season Earnings: $253,197

NFR Qualifications: 16 (2007–22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $3,106,634

Recent Career Highlights: Lifetime total NFR earnings leader. 2022 Champion Oakdale and Springville, California; Kalispell, Montana; Spokane, Washington; Rapid City, South Dakota. 2022 Reserve Champion Springhill, Louisiana; Othello, Washington;  Ashley, North Dakota. Third place Ellensburg, Washington; Stephenville and Amarillo, Texas; Baker and Missoula, Montana; fourth place Pendleton Roundup. 2022 Champion Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo (2023 season money). 2016 and 2014 NFR Average Champion, 2015 WPRA Reserve World Champion. 2019 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo Champion. 2018 Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo Average and Year-End Champion, 2016 Montana Circuit Champion, multiple Badlands Circuit Champion, multiple RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo qualifier. 2014 and 2015 RFD-TV’s The American Rodeo Champion. Multiple pro rodeo wins

5. Wenda Johnson 

Wenda Johnson
Wenda Johnson. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Horses: Macgyver Moonflash (“Mac”), 2013 gelding, First Moonflash x Touched By The Moon x Black Moons Arising; Steal Money (“Mo”), 2016 gelding, First Moonflash x Im Chica Stoli x Stoli

WPRA 2022 Season Earnings: $231,860

NFR Qualifications: 3 (2020-22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $914,852

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 Champion and arena-record setter Fort Worth, Texas; Champion Cleburne and Stephenville, Texas. 2022 Calgary Stampede Pool B high-money winner; San Antonio Semifinal 1 high-money winner. 2022 Reserve Champion Nampa, Idaho; Coleman, Texas; Ponoka, Alberta; Guymon, Oklahoma. Multiple RFD-TV’s The American qualifier. Multiple arena records, pro rodeo, open, futurity and derby wins


The New American Rodeo Format  

This year, Teton Ridge announced a newly revised qualification system for The American Rodeo. The new tournament-style format, dubbed The American Contender Tournament, featured increased prize money as athletes made their way through the new competition structure. Made up of multiple qualifying rounds dedicated to each of the eight disciplines of rodeo, the newly launched format hosted more than 50 events in cities coast to coast, beginning in July 2022 through February 2023. Rodeo athletes had the opportunity to earn a spot at The American Rodeo by going through a tournament-style series of qualifiers that culminates at the Contender Tournament Finals in Texas. Teton Ridge has added guaranteed prize money to regional semifinals and regional finals upwards of $900,000 which takes the total prize money opportunity to nearly $6 million.

The New American Rodeo Format  

Round 1: The American Contender Tournament, consisting of three regions (East, Central and West) and hosting up to 54 qualifying events, is open to athletes of all levels and ages. The expanded selection of contender events will welcome thousands of new and existing athletes to compete for their chance to advance to the Regional Semi-Finals.

Round 2: The American Contender Tournament Regional Semifinals features up to 100 top athletes in each discipline joining the automatically seeded athletes from the 2022 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings, who will compete for the opportunity to advance to the Regional Finals.

Round 3: The American Contender Tournament Regional Finals, which will be three nationally televised events, will host the top 10 athletes advancing from the Semifinals plus two athletes who have earned a spot through the Redemption Round, a last-chance qualifier after a regional Semi-Finals.  

Round 4: The American Contender Tournament Finals kicks off The American Rodeo week in Texas with nationally broadcast events, bringing the top four athletes from each Regional Finals plus one athlete advancing through the Contender Tournament Wild Card event held March 8 at Globe Life Field.

The American Rodeo is where all roads ultimately lead to March 11, 2023, as the chase for the $1 million bonus culminates. The nationally broadcast event will turn all eyes toward Texas as the Top Five Contender Champions go head-to-head with the top five in the world standings for a high-stakes showdown. 

Author

Kailey Sullins is editor of Barrel Horse News, and an avid barrel racer and breakaway roper. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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