LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 13, 2023 Emily Beisel and Ivory On Fire won Round Six of the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with a time of 13.60, worth $30,706. Round Six was held at 10 a.m. Wednesday as the make-up round for the cancelled first performance and was not open to the public but streamed live on The Cowboy Channel.

For five rounds — every round except Round One — Beisel has ridden “Liza,” and while the mare came into the NFR with $74,399 to her name and a handful of pro rodeos under her belt, she’s handled the Thomas and Mack Center like a veteran. Now, she can add an NFR round win to her resume.

“I’m so excited for her and so excited for her people,” Beisel said. “She’s got an exceptional group of everybody who’s believed in her and knew she could do this.”

Beisel admitted she wasn’t planning to get on Liza this early in the NFR and wasn’t planning to stay on for all the rounds either. She started out on her standout NFR round-winning mount Namgis D 33, but he caught an infection that forced Beisel to step on Liza. While “Chongo” did run in Round One, Beisel felt he wasn’t performing to his best ability and called in the expertise of veterinarians to address any issues.

Beisel was quick to note they’ve addressed his health and experts have given him the all-clear. However, in true horseman spirit, Beisel didn’t want to over-exert him.

“This week, Liza got thrown to the wolves. I didn’t plan on making five [runs] in a row on her. I was going to try to throw her in there and dabble in, but she’s handled it and she’s stepped up and she’s gotten better every day,” Beisel said. “That’s all you can ask.”

Emily Beisel runs home on Ivory On Fire
Emily Beisel and Ivory On Fire win Round Six of the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with a time of 13.60, worth $30,706. Photo by Kenneth Springer

The 7-year-old mare by Ivory James and out of the Fire Water Flit mare Lil Miss Firewater runs to the left barrel first. Beisel admits it’s taken time to get used to how the mare approaches her first barrel.

“I know everybody thinks I’m loping to the first,” Beisel said with a laugh. “But, I really don’t feel like I’m going that slow. It’s just how she and I have always done it. It works better. I really struggled going left for a long time with her; it was an adjustment for me. She’s an Ivory James, so she’s got a lot more run to her versus Chongo goes in there and really drags his butt. That was an adjustment. As far as a rider, I have to make sure I place her properly. It’s a lot faster for me to back off the throttle a little going into the first than it is to step by it. I paid attention to a couple nights ago, Sue Smith and Ilyssa Riley both went left and got a little high and [the ground] was a little looser outside of the tracks. I set a strategy, 100%. I don’t want to get out there and get in that ground that could cause her to slip and maybe shake her confidence. She’s been really good with the ground. We’re just gonna stick with what we’ve been doing all year that’s been working.”

The five-time Wrangler NFR qualifier came into the Finals in the No. 3 position in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings. Over the course of six rounds, she picked up $60,187 and moved into No. 2 position in the world standings behind Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi. After Round Six, Beisel’s world standings money sits at $233,797. She trails No. 1 cowgirl Tonozzi by $138,885.

Liza joined Beisel’s string in 2022 from Shelby Ridling, who trained the mare. Beisel took Liza to a handful of pro rodeos this year, but her biggest win of the year was the Cinch Playoffs Governor’s Cup on the last weekend of the regular season.

“I’ve got three horses Shelby’s trained, and I mean, she’s one of my very best friends,” Beisel said. “We ride together on a weekly basis. I FaceTimed her the other night and let her see Liza, and she was out here for Round One on Friday. She hasn’t gotten to see Liza run in person — I hated that. But, she’s so pumped. She’s always believed in Liza, and she believed in Liza and I. I wasn’t certain it was a good thing, you know. I didn’t know that I was the right person for Liza, but Shelby knew it. I’m so thankful for that.”

Jordon Briggs and Famous Lil Jet turned in a time of 13.68 to finish third in Round Six of the 2023 Wrangler NFR. Briggs moves into the No. 2 position in the aggregate race. Photo by Kenneth Springer

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Round Six Results

Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

1. Emily Beisel / Ivory On Fire / 13.60 / $30,706

2. Stevi Hillman / Sand In My Socks / 13.62 / $24,267

3. Jordon Briggs / Famous Lil Jet / 13.68 / $18,325

4. Sissy Winn / A R Dash Ta Flame / 13.69 / $12,877

5. Summer Kosel / Firewaterfrenchflame / 13.73 / $7,924

6. Jessica Routier / Fiery Miss West / 13.79 / $4,953

7. Wenda Johnson / Steal Money / 13.83 

8/9. Ilyssa Riley / Mistys Money Blurr / 13.90

8/9. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Babe On The Chase / 13.90

10. Taycie Matthews / Stoli My Firewater / 13.92

11. Kassie Mowry / Force The Goodbye / 13.93

12. Lisa Lockhart / Promise Me Fame Guys / 13.93

13. Hailey Kinsel / Slick N Black / 13.99

14. Paige Jones / Famous Hayday / 18.49*

15. Sue Smith / Duallys Real Dream / 19.18*

2023 WPRA Top 15 Stats

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Horsepower

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Horses Connections and Stats

Aggregate Standings on Six Runs

Rank, Name, Aggregate Time

  1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / 82.17
  2. Jordon Briggs / 82.45
  3. Kassie Mowry / 82.65
  4. Lisa Lockhart / 82.87
  5. Jessica Routier /  82.87
  6. Paige Jones / 87.42
  7. Sue Smith / 88.78
  8. Ilyssa Riley / 88.85
  9. Hailey Kinsel / 88.88
  10. Emily Beisel / 92.13
  11. Wenda Johnson / 92.28
  12. Summer Kosel / 93.10
  13. Sissy Winn / 96.81
  14. Stevi Hillman / 102.84
  15. Taycie Matthews / 103.77

2023 WPRA World Standings (after Round Six)

1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Lampasas, Texas / $372,682.65

2. Emily Beisel / Weatherford, Oklahoma / $233,797.16

3. Jordon Briggs / Tolar, Texas / $221,011.01

4. Sissy Winn / Chapman Ranch, Texas / $211,636.98

5. Lisa Lockhart / Oelrichs, South Dakota / $198,575.50

6. Summer Kosel / Glenham, South Dakota / $188,580.22

7. Kassie Mowry / Dublin, Texas / $186,394.93

8. Stevi Hillman / Granbury, Texas / $173,989.82

9. Jessica Routier / Buffalo, South Dakota / $162,651.20

10. Taycie Matthews / Wynne, Arkansas / $154,161.40

11. Paige Jones / Wayne, Oklahoma / $140,868.12

12. Sue Smith / Blackfoot, Idaho / $133,968.73

13. Wenda Johnson / Pawhuska, Oklahoma / $130,506.57

14. Ilyssa Riley / Hico, Texas / $121,473.37

15. Hailey Kinsel / Cotulla, Texas / $115,775.77


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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