Meet the 2022 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association top 15 barrel racers running in the Nationals Finals Rodeo at the Thomas and Mack Center arena in Las Vegas.

Compiled by Blanche Schaefer

Spotlight on First-Timers by Abigail Boatwright and Jessica Lash

1. Jordon Briggs

Jordon Briggs
Reigning world champion Jordon Briggs. photo courtesy WPRA

Hometown: Tolar, Texas

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

WPRA Season Earnings: $177,779.15

Rodeo Count: 31

NFR Qualifications: 3 (2009, 2021-22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $1,782,110

Recent Career Highlights: 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

2. Dona Kay Rule

Dona Kay Rule
Dona Kay Rule. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Minco, Oklahoma

Horses: High Valor (“Valor”), 2009 gelding, Valiant Hero x Rare High x Rare Form

WPRA Season Earnings: $127,441.79

Rodeo Count: 37

NFR Qualifications: 4 (2019-22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $655,224

Recent Career Highlights: High Valor voted 2022 Runner-Up AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year. 2022 Reserve Champion Calgary Stampede. 2022 Champion San Angelo, Texas; Raymond and High River, Alberta, Canada; Burley, Idaho; Chickasha, Elk City and Henryetta, Oklahoma. High Valor voted 2019 and 2020 WPRA/AQHA Horse of the Year, 2020 reserve champion RFD-TV’s The American. Champion 2018 Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, multiple NFR go-round wins, pro rodeo and open wins, team roping and calf roping competitor and money earner

3. 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 Season Earnings: $121,594.27

Rodeo Count: 31

NFR Qualifications: 3 (2020-22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $723,718

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

4. Stevi Hillman

Stevi Hillman
Stevi Hillman. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Granbury, Texas

Horses: Cuatro Fame (“Truck”), 2007 gelding, Dash Ta Fame x Princess Streaks x Streak Laico Bird; Famous Lemon Drop (“Lemon Drop,” now deceased), 2016 mare, First Down French x A Famous Lady x Dash Ta Fame; French Zone (“Hollywood”), 2013 mare, Frenchmans Guy x Star Zone (TB) x Wild Zone (TB); RV Brijett (“Brijett”), 2017 mare, Blazin Jetolena x DTF Mellowdoc x Dash Ta Fame; Sand In My Socks (“Sandi”), 2017 mare, BHR Frenchies Socks x JC Pick Six x Tres Seis

WPRA Season Earnings: $120,602.22

Rodeo Count: 50

NFR Qualifications: 7 (2016–22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $1,443,018

Recent Career Highlights: Cuatro Fame voted third-place 2022 AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year. 2022 Champion North Platte; Nebraska; Oakley, Utah; Sheridan, Wyoming; Red Bluff, California. 2022 Calgary Stampede Pool A high-money winner; Fort Worth Round 2 and Semifinal A winner. 2022 Reserve Champion Dodge City, Kansas; Ellensburg, Washington. 2020 RFD-TV’s The American champion. 2019 NFR fastest time. Multiple NFR go-round winner. 2012 Reserve WPRA Rookie of the Year. Multiple pro rodeo and open wins

5. Hailey Kinsel

Hailey Kinsel
Three-time WPRA world champion Hailey Kinsel. 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 Season Earnings: $119,389.58

Rodeo Count: 61

NFR Qualifications: 6 (2017–22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $2,672,378

Recent Career Highlights: 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

6. 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 Season Earnings: $110,460.92

Rodeo Count: 56

NFR Qualifications: 4 (2009, 2020-22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $802,144

Recent Career Highlights: 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

7. Sissy Winn

Sissy Winn
Sissy Winn. Photo courtesy WPRA

Hometown: Chapman Ranch, Texas

Horses: Chewingthehotwire (“Chewy”), 2014 gelding, Flaming Fire Water x Native Quick Dash x Royal Quick Dash; A R Dash Ta Flame (“Scoop”), 2013 gelding, Dash Ta Fame x Discreat Retreat x Mr Jess Perry

WPRA Season Earnings: $101,848.16

Rodeo Count: 64

NFR Qualifications: 1 (2022)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $203,849

Recent Career Highlights: Champion Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo (calendar year 2021; 2022 season money); Lubbock and Mercedes, Texas; Bozeman, Montana; Jerome, Idaho; Livingston, Montana. 2022 Calgary Stampede finalist; Fort Worth Best Dressed Award winner, go-round winner and semifinalist; San Antonio Bracket 2 and Semifinal 2 high-money winner. 2022 Reserve Champion Cascade, Montana; third Belle Fourche, South Dakota; Strathmore, Alberta; Arcadia, Florida; Waco, Rosenberg, Helotes and Pecos, Texas; fourth Weatherford, Texas; Salinas, California. Finished 2021 at No. 20 in the world. Finished No. 8 in the 2017 WPRA Resistol Rookie of the Year standings. College rodeoed for Texas A&M University, multiple rodeo wins at youth/high school, college and pro levels. 2011 Miss Rodeo Texas Princess, 2015 Miss Rodeo Texas Teen.

Spotlight on First-Time Qualifiers:

BHN: Tell us about the horses you rode this year and how you got connected with them.

Winn: “I rode Chewy in the winter rodeos, and I’ve had him since he was 5 — he’s 8 now. Shelby Ridling trained him, and Kenna Squires owned him [prior to me]. Last year is when he came on really strong in the rodeo scene, and I rode him throughout the winter rodeos. He had won about $30,000 after San Antonio, total. I got my second horse, Scoop, in April. Danyelle Campbell trained him, and she did a phenomenal job on him in the futurities and derbies, and we really just clicked. He was a huge help in the summer rodeos.”

BHN: What was the hardest part about rodeoing this year?

Sissy: “I think the hardest part is we live in South Texas, so we had to drive even farther than what a lot of people have to drive. My vet is in Brock, [Texas], and I drive seven hours to go see him. My shoer is four-and-a-half hours away from me in Bellville [Texas].”

BHN: Now that you’ve qualified, looking back on your journey to get to the NFR this year, what would you tell yourself before you started?

Winn: “Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m always my biggest critic, and I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want to do the best I can for my horses. I know they’re going to put me in the position I need if I’m riding my best. So just try not to be so hard on myself, and have a good time.”

8. Margo Crowther

Margo Crowther
Margo Crowther. Photo courtesy WPRA

Hometown: North Fort Meyers, Florida

Horses: Shes Packin Fame (“Sissy”), 2012 mare, Carrizzo x Heidis Dashin Sixes x Packin Sixes; Im Stylin Like Sissy (“Style”), 2017 mare, Carrizzo x Heidis Dashin Sixes x Packin Sixes

WPRA Season Earnings: $96,870.71

Rodeo Count: 82

NFR Qualifications: 1 (2022)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $382,632

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 Champion NFR Playoff Puyallup, Washington; Deadwood, South Dakota; Rock Springs, Wyoming; Omak, Washington; Caldwell, Idaho; Bonifay, Homestead, Dade City and Davie, Florida; Dothan, Alabama. 2022 Reserve Champion Casper, Wyoming; third place Filer, Idaho; Canby, Oregon; Salinas, California; Waxahachie, Texas; Old Fort Days Super Derby Champion, NBHA Open World Champion, multiple pro rodeo, open, futurity and derby wins

Spotlight on First-Time Qualifiers:

BHN: What were your goals for this year?

Crowther: “Starting last October 1, my goal for the rodeo season was to win my Southeastern Circuit. I had a lot going on with my kids and life, and I didn’t want to not rodeo, because my mare was in such a prime age and was feeling and doing well, but I didn’t want to be traveling and away from my kids [Sawyer, 12, Stella, 10, Saylor, 3]. I wrote my goals down, and it said to win the Southeastern Circuit and go into the Circuit Finals by winning a lot. Then, after doing good and I was winning my circuit from Day One, it just fell into place that by May, I could make the decision to make a summer run and make an NFR run. My goals changed after a few months.”

BHN: Tell us about your horse Sissy.

Crowther: “She’s a family member, and we all adore her and love her like a human being. If she could sleep in the house, she would. I’ve owned her since she was an early 3-year-old, and I trained and futuritied her. She’s a phenomenal, gritty mare that absolutely loves her job. I didn’t win any money on any other horse. It was pretty cool to know that she literally won every single penny for me.”

BHN: What does it mean to you to finally get this chance to go to the NFR?

Crowther: “It means that if you really believe in something and you work hard, you can do anything. I feel like there were so many times when I told myself that it’s not possible. But it’s a dream come true of mine. It really hasn’t set in, until I get there and I run in the first round. But it’s exciting and it means a lot, especially with my two girls growing up and loving horses. That means they’re going to be excited to reach for the biggest and hardest dream, not settle, and just know you can do anything you set your mind to.”

9. Emily (Miller) Beisel

Emily Miller-Beisel
Emily Miller-Beisel. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Weatherford, Oklahoma

Horses: Namgis D 33 (“Chongo”), 2010 gelding, Bucks Hancock Dude x Track Goddess x Eyesa Special; Biddin On Fame (“Beau”), 2013 gelding, PC Frosty Bid x Jaxsons Olympic Fame x Poco Lijerito; Namgis D 35 (“Pipewrench”), 2010 gelding, Bucks Hancock Dude x Central Station x First Down Dash

WPRA Season Earnings: $93,964.76

Rodeo Count: 88

NFR Qualifications: 4 (2019–22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $926,083

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 Champion Bennington, Kansas; Ponca City, Oklahoma; Abilene, Kansas; Albuquerque, New Mexico. Third place Langley, British Columbia; Kennewick, Washington. 2022 Calgary Stampede finalist, round winner. Multiple NFR go-round winner. Biddin On Fame voted 2020 No. 2 WPRA/AQHA Barrel Racing Horse of the Year. 2017 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo Champion, multiple Prairie Circuit Champion, multiple Prairie Circuit Finals and RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo qualifier. Multiple pro rodeo and open wins, three-time Kansas High School Rodeo Association all-around champion

10. Kassie Mowry

Kassie Mowry
Kassie Mowry. Photo courtesy WPRA

Hometown: Dublin, Texas

Horses: Famous Ladies Man (“Emmitt,” out for 2022 NFR with injury), 2015 gelding, Dash Ta Fame x Lady Perks x Dash For Perks; CP He Will Be Epic (“Will”), 2015 gelding, Epic Leader x Percilla x Dash Ta Fame; Epic Guy (“King”), 2015 gelding, Epic Leader x Frenchilicious x Frenchmans Guy; Force The Goodbye (“Jarvis”), 2018 gelding, The Goodbye Lane x VF Forcit First x Burrs First Down

WPRA Season Earnings: $92,553.30

Rodeo Count: 26

NFR Qualifications: 3 (2005, 2017, 2022)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $5,005,414

Recent Career Highlights: All-time winningest barrel racer with over $5 million in career earnings. 2022 Champion Calgary Stampede and arena-record setter (16.860); champion Belle Fourche, South Dakota; Waco, Texas. Reserve Champion Rodeo Houston; Ogden, Utah. Multiple arena-record setter, multiple futurity, slot race, derby, open, and pro rodeo wins

11. Bayleigh Choate (Rookie)

Bayleigh Choate
Bayleigh Choate. Photo courtesy WPRA

Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas

Horses: Hail To Be Famous (“Dash”), 2015 gelding, Dash Ta Fame x Itty Bitty Boon x Flaming Talent; TJR Stinson Blue (“Boozer”), 2017 gelding, Eddie Stinson x YO Threatnin Frost x Pat Cowan; LK Heza Fame (“Preacher”), 2013 gelding, Dash Ta Fame x Sheza Peasa Pie x Pie In The Sky

WPRA Season Earnings: $90,892.81

Rodeo Count: 89

NFR Qualifications: 1 (2022)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $331,080

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 WPRA Resistol Rookie of the Year. 2022 Cowboy Christmas highest-money earner; Canadian world standings barrel racing leader and Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier. 2022 Champion Ponoka, High Prairie and Wainwright, Alberta; Kansas City, Missouri; Mineral Wells and Vernon, Texas; Rodeo Austin Playoffs winner and third place overall Rodeo Austin. 2022 Reserve Champion Salinas, California; Armstrong and Williams Lake, British Columbia; Jacksonville, Texas; La Crete, Alberta. NBHA Youth World Champion, multiple open and youth wins

Spotlight on First-Time Qualifiers:

BHN: What was your most memorable moment from this year?

Choate: “Probably the funniest was Ponoka [Alberta, Canada]. Before the first round of barrel racing, they had mounted shooting. It was on a big racetrack. I was standing at the back of the alleyway, and they did the mounted shooting, and my horse took off to the other side of the track and wouldn’t move. We couldn’t get him to go through some ropes out there. He just would not move. They were putting barrels up in the arena, and my horse was on the other side of the track. I had to get off him, longe him in a circle, and inch up to the arena while I was longeing in a circle. Everyone was freaking out thinking I was going to miss my run, and I thought I was going to miss my run, too. I was yelling, ‘I’m here, I promise!’ Finally he was like, ‘OK, I’m sorry,’ and that’s when he ran his fastest time. I think he ran so fast because he was so scared.”

BHN: What does it mean to you to make the Finals?

Choate: “Right now, it doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t feel like I did that, but it’s an amazing feeling. Almost like a sigh of relief — I did it. It’s so rewarding, because I know where I started in this whole professional rodeo career, so to see where I ended up, it’s a reward for me and my support system, just to represent them on such a big stage and give my horses the opportunity to shine on a big stage. It’s really special to me.”

12. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi

Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi
Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Lampasas, Texas

Horses: Babe On The Chase (“Birdie”), 2011 mare, Chasin Firewater x Streakin Six Babe x Streakin Six; Ima Famous Babe (“Katniss,” now deceased), 2012 mare, Dash Ta Fame x Streakin Six Babe x Streakin Six; Blazin Babe Olena (“Anna”), 2017 mare, Blazin Jetolena x Streakin Six Babe x Streakin Six; Rock On Guys (“Lefty”), 2017 gelding, A Guy With Proof x Vital Rock x Firewaterontherocks

WPRA Season Earnings: $88,431.79

Rodeo Count: 71

NFR Qualifications: 16 (2003, 2005–13, 2017–22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $3,444,282

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 Champion Denver, Colorado; Salinas, California; Springdale, Arkansas; Evergreen and Burlington, Colorado. 2022 Reserve Champion Austin, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Spokane, Washington; Yuma and Loveland, Colorado; Mineral Wells, Texas. 2020 WPRA Reserve World Champion. 2007 and 2009 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer, 2006 and 2007 Wrangler NFR Average Champion. 2016 Mountain States Circuit Average Champion, two-time Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo champion. Set the U.S. record on a standard pattern on Kisskiss Bangbang. Multiple pro rodeo, futurity, derby and open wins

13. Jessica Routier

Jessica Routier
Jessica Routier. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Hometown: Buffalo, South Dakota

Horses: Fiery Miss West (“Missy”), 2011 mare, Firewater Frenchman x Frenchmans Bo Dashus x Royal Quick Dash

WPRA Season Earnings: $86,863.10

Rodeo Count: 63

NFR Qualifications: 5 (2018–22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $874,191

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 Champion Sidney, Iowa; Lawton, Oklahoma; Baker and Billings, Montana. 2022 Reserve Champion Mona, Utah; Killdeer, North Dakota; Wall, South Dakota. 2022 third place Cheyenne Frontier Days; RodeoHouston Super Series 1 third-highest money earner. 2018 WRPA Reserve World Champion. 2021 and 2022 Champion Badlands Circuit (year-end). 2020 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo average champion, 2017 and 2010 Badlands Circuit Champion, Fiery Miss West named 2017 Badlands Circuit Horse of the Year, multiple RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo qualifier. 2003 College National Finals Rodeo Champion. Multiple pro rodeo, open and aged-event wins

14. 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 Season Earnings: $84,870.91

Rodeo Count: 93

NFR Qualifications: 16 (2007–22)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $2,864,100

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

15. Leslie Smalygo

Leslie Smalygo
Leslie Smalygo. Photo courtesy WPRA

Hometown: Skiatook, Oklahoma

Horses: Justaheartbeattofame (“Gus”), 2010 gelding, Justaheartofawarrior x Yawl A Fame Maker x Dash Ta Fame

WPRA Season Earnings: $84,453

Rodeo Count: 50

NFR Qualifications: 1 (2022)

*EquiStat Lifetime Earnings: $86,359

Recent Career Highlights: 2022 Champion Cody, Wyoming; Red Lodge, Montana; Goliad, Texas; El Paso, Arkansas. 2022 Reserve Champion Cheyenne Frontier Days; Woodward, Oklahoma. Third place Ponca City, Oklahoma; fourth place Puyallup and Ellensburg, Washington; Vernon, Texas. 2021 Prairie Circuit Champion (year-end), multiple pro rodeo and Open wins

Spotlight on First-Time Qualifiers:

BHN: You bought Gus sight-unseen as a 3-year-old off the track after riding and training his full brother. What made you decide to take the chance on him?

Smalygo: “I had this feeling that if I got Gus, he was going to be great. I just knew it in my bones. I started riding him, and within two weeks, he was solid on the pattern. With the Justaheartofawarrior horses, you show them something once, and it better be right, because that’s going to be how they do it for the rest of their lives. I would marry Gus if I could! He will never understand how much he means to me. He’s the type of horse people only dream of. He’s my whole heart.”

BHN: When did you realize the NFR was within reach?

Smalygo: “He ran really well at Denver. We didn’t have a very good run in the first round at Guymon, but in our second run he broke the arena record. From there, it was really me saying, ‘I’ll try this one or I’ll try that one.’ I didn’t watch the standings — I knew I had money in my account to keep going, and that’s what mattered to me. It was that way until Cheyenne Frontier Days, where I won my performance and my semi-finals, and then placed second in the finals. From then on I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve got a shot. I think we can do this!’”

BHN: What does this qualification mean to you?

Smalygo: “Dreams just don’t come true for people like me, so I didn’t really waste my time on them. I don’t come from much. I was a nobody. I was going to jackpots, and then I was like, ‘I want to see what rodeos are all about.’ It just went from there. If you believe in yourself and you really have a vision of what you want to do — not just a dream, but a vision — there is nothing that can stop you. If you believe it, if you want it, and if you work hard enough for it, it will happen. I’m proof of that.”

Editor’s Note: *EquiStat Lifetime Earnings are as of reports pulled October 31, 2022, and include WPRA rodeo earnings through May 2022 and other barrel racing event earnings through August 2022. EquiStat only began recording WPRA rodeo earnings in 2010, therefore some individual’s earnings may be significantly more than reported through EquiStat.

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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