LAS VEGAS — December 5, 2022 —  Lisa Lockhart and Hailey Kinsel both turned in times of 13.52 to share the win in Round Five of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by Teton Ridge, worth $25,882.42 each. Lockhart rode Teton Ridge-owned Promise Me Fame Guys, and Kinsel rode three-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion DM Sissy Hayday.

Lockhart’s veteran status has been on full display, both with her storied qualification to the NFR in 2022 in the last two weeks of the regular season to her showing at this year’s NFR, picking up $85,315.52 in five rounds so far. She’s moved from 14th in the world standings to fourth as well as taken over the lead in the aggregate race.

“It’s been a while, so it feels fantastic,” Lockhart said of winning a round at the NFR. “What great company, not just Hailey, but to know my horse ‘Levee’ ran in the company of ‘Sister.’ That to me means the world. It’s not about me being here, it’s just what we’ve accomplished coming here. He hasn’t been on any kind of stage like this before, so this has been huge, and he just gets stronger every day.”

—> 2022 WPRA Top 15 Stats

Lockhart had three horses to choose from in her string this year. Rosas Cantina CC (Corona Cartel x Dash Ta Vanila x Dash Ta Fame), Prime Diamond (Prime Talent x Hugos Diamond x Hugo Streakin) and Promise Me Fame Guys (Aint Seen Nothin Yet x Bar Blue Lass x FC Aboo). While both “Rosa” and “Cutter” have each earned her NFR earnings and round wins, the Thomas and Mack Center arena is notorious for throwing horses for a loop. After much consideration, it was the 6-year-old grey gelding Levee who got the call in Round One and has continued to exceed Lockhart’s expectations as he gets more confident each round.

“It was a seasoning process, taking him this summer when Rosa was down, and relying on all three of my horses all summer long was definitely a team effort to get here,” Lockhart said of her 16th NFR qualification. “Then trying to decide who to ride when you get here in this scenario. I knew how young Levee was, and I thought, I’ll give him a chance the first round, and he was so hesitant. I didn’t know if I should stay hooked. I thought I’ll give him one more round. Then it was better the second round, and he’s just gotten nothing but stronger and more confident every round.”

Started on the barrels by his breeder Tenley Epperson, Levee was futuritied to more than $120,000 in EquiStat reported earnings by Samantha Flannery before he sold to Teton Ridge during June of his futurity year in 2021 and joined Lockhart’s program.

“It has absolutely blown my mind, actually. I knew it was in [him], but you just you never know, because this is a huge stage, and it’s so hard for horses,” Lockhart said. “There is so much going on, and he’s on high alert all the time. That’s not his demeanor normally. It’s been a lot, but he’s handling it when he goes to run. I’m just very thankful for him and what he’s putting forth.”

Coincidentally, both Lockhart and Kinsel are Wrangler NFR earners of more than $1 million. Lockhart crossed that feat in 2017 — the year of Kinsel’s first NFR appearance. Kinsel, on the other hand, accomplished the task this year a few nights ago after Round Four. The only other barrel racer to have accomplished this feat is four-time WPRA world champion Sherry Cervi. Lockhart and Cervi also share the honor of being $3 million earners in the WPRA.

—> 2022 Wrangler NFR First-Timers

“I feel like the lucky kid in rodeo, because I came in when things started booming — the go-round money and the average money here grew, the American Rodeo jumps on the scene, other rodeos follow suit and start adding more money and paying out more and bigger opportunities,” Kinsel said. “This year with the rounds paying even more allowed me to get there sooner. People like Lisa have had to work at it longer, because they didn’t run at this much money, so I’m thrilled to do it. I feel lucky and like it came in at the right time. I’m grateful for it. It’s really Sister’s deal. She gets the honor. I’ve gotten to ride other horses here, but she’s done a majority of the work and I could not have done that on any other horse. I’m confident of that.”

Hailey Kinsel turns second barrel
Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday shared the win in Round Five of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with Lisa Lockhart and Promise Me Fame Guys, both running times of 13.52. Photo by Kenneth Springer

The Round Five win puts Kinsel in the No. 1 position in the world standings. So, far Kinsel and “Sister” have earned $105,834.92 at this year’s NFR. But, there’s a long five rounds left and as we’ve seen this year after the ground fixes, it’s anyone’s game. While Lockhart turned in her 13.52 at draw No. 6, Kinsel and Sister were out at draw No. 12.

“I was 14th [on the ground] last night and 12th tonight, and you can feel [the changes made to the ground]. I mean, you can see it when you’re running in there, you see the ruts going in. Obviously, they hand rake around the barrel, but you can see where everybody goes and digs in,” Kinsel said. “I remember last night, it was a bit of a daunting thing to look at that right as you’re coming in, then you have to just focus on riding to your spot, but [the ground is] holding. Before, I think it was Round Three, toward the bottom of the ground, there were those same ruts but it wasn’t holding underneath. So [the ground crew] was able to get that hard pan ripped, and there’s a base under there that [the horses] can dig into. When these horses get in there and try and throw down and get confident, they can. The more they try and it works, the more they’re going to build on that. That’s what’s exciting for us is we know that moving forward, [our horses] are going to be happier, more comfortable, they’re not sore, and they’re confident, because it worked.

“She’s really smart,” Kinsel continued of her $2 million mount. “She’s always been one to be very safe if necessary. Maybe it doesn’t slow her down more than some, but it does. So, for her to really throw down and use her body and have it work, I know she can only get faster from here, and that’s pretty fun for me.”

Rodeo has changed a lot since Lockhart purchased her Women’s Professional Rodeo Association card in 1993, from horseflesh to payout to even the rodeo fans. After 16 consecutive qualifications to the NFR, Lockhart has been front row for all the changes. Still, each qualification and each round win is something she’s grateful to achieve.

“I have seen so many changes, and it just keeps getting better all the time,” Lockhart said. “I mean, all of it, whether it be the fans getting to be a part of rodeo, everybody’s so invested in this. This is real and this is raw right now. Rodeo has come so far in the last few years, and it’s just amazing to see.

“The competition, even last night, I think first through sixth was a matter of hundredths,” Lockhart continued. “That doesn’t happen very often. It was a struggle to get here, and the opportunity to come here and lay it all out there on the line. We all aspire to be here.”

Lisa Lockhart turns the first barrel
Lisa Lockhart shared the win in Round Five of the 2022 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo aboard Promise Me Fame Guys, tying with Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday with times of 13.52. Photo by Kenneth Springer

2022 Wrangler NFR Barrel Racing Halftime Report

Round Five is in the books, which means we’re halfway through the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge. Barrel Horse News magazine presents a Wrangler NFR barrel racing halftime report with a look at the current Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings, the NFR aggregate race as well as the cowgirls who have banked the most bucks at the NFR so far this year.

Hailey Kinsel took over the lead in the WPRA world standings, while Lisa Lockhart took over the lead in the aggregate from Jordon Briggs, who now sits second in the average after Round Five. Lockhart’s aggregate time stands at 68.71 seconds on five runs while Briggs and Famous Lil Jet have turned in five runs at 68.94 seconds.

The aggregate championship, worth a hefty $74,150, will be a major influence in who leaves Las Vegas as the 2022 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer (see full aggregate payouts and standings below), as will the aggregate money for placing.

With go-round payouts reaching new highs as well (see below), each top 15 barrel racer will be gunning to make it count throughout the next five rounds of the richest-paying NFR yet.

Payout Per Round, Per Event

1st: $28,914

2nd: $22,851

3rd: $17,255

4th: $12,125

5th: $7,462

6th: $4,664

Total: $93,270

Aggregate Payout, Per Event

1st: $74,150

2nd: $60,159

3rd: $47,568

4th: $34,976

5th: $25,183

6th: $18,188

7th: $12,591

8th: $6,995

Total: $279,811

Total NFR Earnings (Through Round Five)

  1. Hailey Kinsel, $105,834.92
  2. Lisa Lockhart, $85,315.52
  3. Wenda Johnson, $56,168.65
  4. Margo Crowther, $52,904.20
  5. Kassie Mowry, $50,106.10
  6. Emily Beisel, $46,375.30
  7. Jordon Briggs, $44,509.90
  8. Dona Kay Rule, $37,514.65
  9. Shelley Morgan, $36,581.95
  10. Leslie Smalygo, $22,125.10
  11. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, $19,327.00
  12. 12/13 (tie) Sissy Winn, $17,461.60
  13. 12/13 (tie) Stevi Hillman, $17,461.60
  14. Jessica Routier, $14,663.50
  15. Bayleigh Choate, $10,000.00

NFR Notable Horse Changes

Bayleigh Choate rode 7-year-old gelding Hail To Be Famous, by Dash Ta Fame and out of Itty Bitty Boon by Flaming Talent. He was bred by Terri Willingham with the assistance of her sister Luann Johnson of Twisted J Ranch in Stephenville, Texas. Hail To Be Famous’ barrel racing career started under Kassie Mowry’s training with EquiStat earnings at his first futurity, the 2018 BFA World Championship Juvenile (3-year-old). A year later, Choate made the 2019 BFA Futurity Finals on the 2015 gelding as the only Junior rider in the Finals. In 2022, Choate won Ponoka (Alberta, Canada) on the gelding to help bolster her first NFR qualification.

Sissy Winn rode 9-year-old gelding A R Dash To Flame, by Dash Ta Fame and out of Discreat Retreat by Mr Jess Perry. “Scoop” was bred by Atwood Ranches and came from Felicia Taylor via trainer Danyelle Campbell, both of whom are former NFR qualifiers. With Campbell behind the reins, “Scoop” earned $54,214 in EquiStat reported earnings. Winn added Scoop to her trailer in April 2022, and together Winn and Scoop have earned $8,847 in EquiStat earnings.

Wenda Johnson stepped off Macgyver Moonflash and got back on Steal Money, who’s helped her collect $56,168.65 in NFR earnings so far this year plus a Round One win. Johnson is a three-time NFR barrel racing qualifier and has done so with a group of talented geldings, previously owned by Tres Mesa Horses of Fort Worth, Texas, and all trained by Luis Hernandez. The geldings have since sold to Highpoint Performance Horses. Macgyver Moonflash is by First Moonflash and out of Touched By The Moon by Black Moons Arising. “Mo” has earned more than $124,395 in EquiStat reported lifetime earnings, not including the $56,169 he’s earned at this year’s NFR.

NFR Barrel Racing Round Five Results

Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

1/2. Lisa Lockhart, Promise Me Fame Guys, 13.52, $25,882.42

1/2. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.52, $25,882.42

3. Kassie Mowry, CP He Will Be Epic, 13.57, $17,254.95

4/5. Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 13.69, $9,793.35

4/5. Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 13.69, $9,793.35

6. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 13.72, $4,663.50

7. Margo Crowther, Shes Packin Fame, 13.73

8. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Babe On The Chase, 13.75

9. Wenda Johnson, Steal Money, 13.84

10. Sissy Winn, A R Dash Ta Flame, 13.87

11. Bayleigh Choate, Hail To Be Famous, 13.93

12. Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 13.96

13. Emily Beisel, Namgis D 33, 18.29 *

14. Leslie Smalygo, Justaheartbeattofame, 18.47 *

15. Stevi Hillman, Sand In My Socks, 18.61 *

* denotes penalty

2022 WPRA World Standings

Rank, Name, Hometown, Earnings

  1. Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, TX, $225,224.50
  2. Jordon Briggs, Tolar, TX, $222,289.05
  3. Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, OK, $177,762.92
  4. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, $170,186.43
  5. Dona Kay Rule, Minco, OK, $164,956.44
  6. Margo Crowther, North Fort Myers, FL, $149,774.91
  7. Shelley Morgan, Eustace, TX, $147,042.87
  8. Kassie Mowry, Dublin, TX, $142,659.40
  9. Emily Beisel, Weatherford, OK, $140,340.06
  10. Stevi Hillman, Granbury, TX, $138,063.82
  11. Sissy Winn, Chapman Ranch, TX, $119,309.76
  12. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Lampasas, TX, $107,758.79
  13. Leslie Smalygo, Skiatook, OK, $106,578.10
  14. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, SD, $101,526.60
  15. Bayleigh Choate (R), Fort Worth, TX, $100,892.81

Aggregate Standings on Five Runs

Rank, Name, Aggregate Time

  1. Lisa Lockhart, 68.71
  2. Jordon Briggs, 68.94
  3. Margo Crowther, 68.99
  4. Wenda Johnson, 69.19
  5. Shelley Morgan, 69.24
  6. Sissy Winn, 69.81
  7. Bayleigh Choate, 70.25
  8. Hailey Kinsel, 73.27
  9. Kassie Mowry, 73.78
  10. Leslie Smalygo, 73.96
  11. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 74.37
  12. Dona Kay Rule, 74.79
  13. Jessica Routier, 75.40
  14. Stevi Hillman, 79.66
  15. Emily Beisel, 82.81

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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