December 11, 2020—Arlington, Texas— The unstoppable team of Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday won back-to-back rounds with Round Nine of the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The Cotulla, Texas, duo turned in a time of 16.81 on top of the ground, marking Kinsel’s fifth round-win and seventh paycheck of the 2020 Wrangler NFR.

“It’s pretty far-fetched to wrap my mind around that. With the caliber of horses running here, I wouldn’t have picked that for anybody, honestly, in recent years to be able to do that. Sis clearly loves it here, and she’s adapted better than most. Obviously there’s been a lot that’s been close, but to pull out the round wins is a happenstance thing—she’s just doing it. I didn’t plan it, but it’s pretty fine with me,” Kinsel said with a laugh.

With the advantage on top of the ground, which has been holding firm the past three nights and perfect for record-setting times, Kinsel said she knew she’d have the opportunity to be a little aggressive. The Round Nine time was nearly three-tenths of a second off her WPRA rodeo standard pattern record-setting time in Round Eight. She says that was due in part to her angles going to the second barrel.

“I knew going in that I’d have a good chance to doing something fast, not knowing how fast, but at least be solid and I could go for it,” Kinsel said. “I still cut off my pocket a little going to the first more than I wanted to. Because of that I came off it a little late and then moved over, and I only rode about two to three strides across asking her to run before I went ahead and sat down. I was a tick early. [The ground] was firmer and I figured it would carry her farther, which it did, buy my angle was off so it carried me toward the bucking chutes.”

Kinsel has an expert feel for her horse and where each foot is placed in the pattern, but to the average fan, the slight mishap wasn’t apparent as the palomino lighting bolt elicited roars of applause inside Globe Life Field.

“[With the ground] being firmer, I think she was expecting more of a bank to push off of and didn’t have that, so she stepped off each one a little, but she was firing and perfect,” Kinsel said. “She’s gotten better and better feel-wise and just had a couple little bobbles tonight, but still so fast.”

Kinsel used an expert system of conditioning to get “Sister” ready for the 10 grueling days on the WPRA standard pattern inside Globe Life Field. While Kinsel is confident that her horse is in peak fitness, she takes noteworthy care of the $1.7 million Equi-Stat reported lifetime earner in between runs.

This regime is similar to what she does all year, especially during the long summer run of many rodeos.

“I’m packing her feet during the day with different things, icing her legs after each run, hydro-ing her legs in the middle of the day the next day. I usually put poultice on overnight and then hydro that off,” Kinsel said. “I get on her everyday. I usually don’t get out of a walk or trot, sometimes walking around just to feel her. She’s a real reactive horse, and [because she has a stiff turning style] I like to do that. It almost dulls her a little bit and helps her relax. It helps her soften up, and that way when I get on her at night it’s not the first time this little ball of energy is being rode. She’s good like that, it doesn’t take much more than saddle time, and if she’s saddled every day she keys in.”

Hailey Kinsel pets Sister's neck
The top 15 barrel racers chose Round Nine to honor Dona Kay Rule with her favorite color turquoise. Rule was mandated to sit out the 2020 Wrangler NFR due to a positive COVID-19 test prior to competition. Photo by Kenneth Springer

It was an emotional night inside Globe Life Field as the top 15 ladies ran down the alleyway with sparks of turquoise emblazoned to their outfits and horses in honor of Dona Kay Rule. Rule came into the NFR at No. 3 in the WPRA world standings before mandated COVID-19 testing regulations took her out of competition prior to the start of the Finals. No. 16 cowgirl Jessie Telford replaced Rule in the NFR roster.

“When Dona Kay tested positive last week, it was heartbreaking for all of us. Jessie Telford came in 16th and everyone welcomed her in, and Dona Kay above all has welcomed her in and made it clear that it was not a replacement thing, but that she earned that 16th position just the same as you earn 15th,” Kinsel said. “Dona Kay has reached out to all of us to tell us good job, good run, keep going. She’s been such a big person through it all. We all love her. We wish she could be here competing with all of us. Obviously her and Valor earned their spot here, and I would have loved to see what he could have done here.

“We all decided that since tonight wasn’t a theme night of any kind, her favorite color is turquoise so we added some turquoise ribbons braided into horses’ manes and we had masks that say ‘DK’ on them and wore those in her honor,” she continued. “That’s what we wanted to do to make sure everybody knew that obviously there’s nothing we could do about it, we understood the rules, whether we wanted that to be the case or not. It’s just the year that we’re in, but we wanted to give her the best support we could.”

With the round win Kinsel adds another $26,230.77 to her world standings, giving her a $91,582.18 lead above No. 2 in the world Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi with one round left to go. Kinsel also holds onto her lead in the aggregate with 154.07 on nine runs. Tonozzi currently sits in fourth in the aggregate with 157.55 on nine runs. Kinsel has won a total of $156,385 in Arlington and leads the RAM Top Gun standings. The Top Gun Award goes to the contestant who wins the most money in a single event at the Wrangler NFR.

The projected aggregate payout is as listed below:

  1. $67,269.23
  2. $54,576.92
  3. $43,153.85
  4. $31,730.77
  5. $22,846.15
  6. $16,500.00
  7. $11,423.08
  8. $6,346.15
Ryann Pedone and JS Milo And Stitch turn a barrel at the Wrangler NFR
First-time qualifier Ryann Pedone earned her first paycheck of the 2020 Wrangler NFR, thanks to a fifth-place 17.28 aboard JS Milo And Stitch. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Notable horse changes include Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi getting off of Ima Famous Babe (Dash Ta Fame x Streakin Six Babe x Streakin Six) and onto another of her home- raised and -trained mounts Babe On The Chase (Chasin Firewater x Streakin Six Babe x Streakin Six). Wenda Johnson got back on Macgyver Moonflash (First Moonflash x Touched By The Moon x Black Moons Arising), the gelding who led her to her NFR qualification but had a tough time getting accustomed to Globe Life Field. The duo figure it out in Round Nine, picking up a second-place paycheck. Ryann Pedone got off of French Zone (Frenchmans Guy x Star Zone x Wild Zone) and onto the Janet Staton-trained and Jennifer Fite-owned JS Milo And Stitch (Firewater Ta Fame x T K Twirl x Tres Seis) to pick up her first paycheck of the Wrangler NFR.


Rank, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

  1. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 16.81, $26,230.77
  2. Wenda Johnson, Macgyver Moonflash, 17.18, $20,730.77
  3. Cheyenne Wimberley, Dash Ta Suz, 17.21, $15,653.85
  4. Emily Miller Beisel, Namgis D 33, 17.22, $11,000
  5. Ryann Pedone, JS Milo And Stitch, 17.28, $6,769.23
  6. Tiany Schuster, Show Mance, 17.33, $4,230.77
  7. Jill Wilson, Lean Mean Blue Dean, 17.52
  8. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Babe On The Chase, 17.58
  9. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 17.66
  10. Jimmie Smith, Lena On The Rocks, 22.05*
  11. Stevi Hillman, MCM Imasharpguy, 22.28*
  12. Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 22.60*
  13. Brittney Barnett, Frenchmans Pick, 23.17*
  14. Lisa Lockhart, Rosas Cantina CC, 27.16**
  15. Jessie Telford, Famous Cool Whip, 27.39**


Rank, Name, Time on nine runs

  1. Hailey Kinsel, 154.07
  2. Jill Wilson, 156.99
  3. Jessica Routier, 157.42
  4. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 157.55
  5. Emily Miller Beisel, 160.15
  6. Ryann Pedone, 160.44
  7. Jimmie Smith, 162.84
  8. Wenda Johnson, 162.90
  9. Shelley Morgan, 167.26
  10. Cheyenne Wimberley, 167.94
  11. Tiany Schuster, 168.40
  12. Brittney Barnett, 173.60
  13. Stevi Hillman, 175.05
  14. Jessica Telford, 177.46
  15. Lisa Lockhart, 194.96


Rank, Name, Hometown, Earnings

  1. Hailey Kinsel, $261,076.25
  2. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, $169,494.07
  3. Emily Miller Beisel, $136,580.5
  4. Jimmie Smith, $130,868.21
  5. Lisa Lockhart, $119,865.68
  6. Shelley Morgan, $116,382.65
  7. Stevi Hillman, $111,042.54
  8. Tiany Schuster, $105,252.69
  9. Jill Wilson, $95,524.82
  10. Cheyenne Wimberley, $94,693.15
  11. Wenda Johnson, $84,222.37
  12. Jessica Routier, $83,794.01
  13. Dona Kay Rule, $77,453.54
  14. Brittney Barnett, $70,296.10
  15. Jessie Telford, $59,477.2
  16. Ryann Pedone, $59,349.83

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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