LAS VEGAS — December 10, 2022 — Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday seem unstoppable. They entered the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in the No. 5 position and climbed the ranks to clinch their fourth Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world championship. They also left the Thomas and Mack Center arena in style, picking up the Round 10 win as well with a 13.35.

“They’ve all felt unique, but this one is special,” Kinsel said of her fourth WPRA world championship. “With this one I got more emotional than most I think. Especially after last year making an error in the 10th round and wanting to learn from that and not do it again. Even this week, we’ve had some ups and downs, but she’s just rose up every time. She’s been ready every night. Two nights I was not so ready. I’m glad she waited on me to get there and made it count when we did.”

This marks Kinsel’s career 21st round win, and she has collected more than $1,109,429 in career Wrangler NFR earnings. This year alone, she and the 11-year-old palomino mare by PC Frenchmans Hayday and out of Royal Sissy Irish by Royal Shake Em have earned $182,782.69 in 2022 NFR earnings.

The only other barrel racer to have earned $1 million in NFR earnings is Lisa Lockhart, who after this year’s NFR has $1,425,047 in career NFR earnings, according to EquiStat. Lockhart herself had a storied NFR, having come into the Wrangler NFR in the No. 14 position and finishing the year No. 4 in the world standings.

Kinsel and Sister came into the NFR in the No. 5 position — in striking distance of the world title — and what ended up being a strategic place to be on the ground. As the barrel racing is drawn each night, the competitors run in world standings order, then move down the list by two places for each following round. This meant Kinsel started the NFR on the ground in the fifth running position, then as 10 days progressed, she ended the NFR second out on the ground during Round 10. Kinsel took advantage of each time she was on top of the ground — that’s not to say the four-time world champ didn’t strike on the bottom of the ground, either.

In Round One, Kinsel and Sister were fifth out on the ground, and while Kinsel started off her NFR with a downed barre, they came back in prime position in Round Two at third out on the ground. Kinsel and Sister ultimately picked up the round win with a time of 13.61. Again for Round Three, Kinsel was on top of the ground at draw No. 1 and picked up a back-to-back round win from a time of 13.59. In Round Four, they moved to bottom of the ground at draw No. 14 but still finished fourth with a 13.66. In Round Five, they were 12th out on the ground and again picked up a round win when she shared the win with Lisa Lockhart from a time of 13.52. At draw No. 10 in Round Six, they had another downed barrel, but the duo turned in a 13.73 in Round Seven eighth out on the dirt, which was out of the money but kept them in striking distance of a paycheck in the aggregate. In Round Eight they moved back towards the top of the ground at draw No. 6 and finished fourth with a time of 13.54. In Round Nine they picked up yet another round win with the fastest time of the NFR, a 13.34, and ran that time at draw No. 4 on the ground.

In Round 10, they moved again back to the top of the ground at draw No. 2, and in true Kinsel and Sister fashion, capitalized on the advantage and turned in a 13.35 to win the round. Round 10 marks Kinsel’s fifth round-win of this year’s Finals.

“I can’t be halfway with that horse,” Kinsel said. “She goes all-in every time, so it shows up when I haven’t been able to do it right 10 times in this building yet. I still have a goal of going around them 10 times. Everybody wants to be Sherry Cervi and place in every round like 2013, but we haven’t done that yet either. But it’s because I haven’t been able to be perfect 10 times in a row yet.”

This entire season has looked a little different for Kinsel and Sister, having only ran Sis at 10 regular-season rodeos. She took along a field of younger horses to season, allowing her more than $2 million-earning mount to save her legs for only world standings-approved rodeos. The last run Sister made was in September at the Albuquerque, New Mexico, pro rodeo, making Round One of this year’s NFR her first competitive run since then. Kinsel says the difference in competition schedule had Sister feeling fresh for 10 days in Vegas.

In Kinsel’s arsenal this year was Hodges Farm-owned DH Jess Stellar, trained by Janna Beam Brown. Owned and bred by Damon and Donna Hodges, “Jules” is a 9-year-old mare by their late stallion Mighty Jess and out of PC Frosted Stellar by Sun Frost. Kinsel also rode VQ Nonstop Stinson, owned and bred by Jeff Varner and trained by Kelsey Lutjen Treharne. “Valentina” is a 5-year-old mare by Eddie Stinson and out of Honor This Nonstop by Mr Honor Bound, making her a three-quarter sister to VQ Sucker Punch, by Dash Ta Fame, who carried Cheyenne Wimberley to the NFR as well. Rounding out Kinsel’s group of money winners was her 2018 Copper Spring Ranch purchase, TR Judges Doll. Bred by Harry Thomas, “Reece,” is a 6-year-old mare by Judge Cash and out of Jill Moody’s NFR champion TR Dashing Badger, better known as “Dolly.”

—> 2022 WPRA Top 15 Stats

The year might have been different, but Kinsel is enjoying the new experiences she’s experiencing while seasoning young horses to the vigorous professional rodeo road.

“I rode some great young horses and had so much fun seasoning them,” she said. “It’s hard seasoning horses, but I did have a fun summer taking them out and have some great people that supported me this summer — the Hodges family with Jules, and Jeff Varner with Valentina. Then my little mare Reece stepping up. Then for Sis to just be the one to take it all home is amazing.”

Kinsel now joins the ranks of not only $1 million NFR earner Lockhart but of four-time WPRA World Champions Billie McBride (1955-1958), Kristie Peterson (1994, 1996-1998), and Sherry Cervi (1995, 1999, 2010, 2013).

“[Sister] makes me rise up and be better every time,” Kinsel continued. “She is a challenger. She makes me be better and does not let me slack, and I’m thankful for that. I really am.”

Jordon Briggs
Jordon Briggs and Famous Lil Jet finish the 2022 season as the WPRA Reserve World Champions with world standings earnings of $274,520.38. Photo by Kenneth Springer

—> 2022 Wrangler NFR First-Timers

Shelley Morgan and HR Fameskissandtell Win NFR Average Title

Shelley Morgan rode HR Fameskissandtell all 10 rounds of the 2022 Wrangler NFR. Morgan was one of only two barrel racers who never hit a barrel during this NFR. Not only that, but the duo from Eustace, Texas, did so while also collecting $154,568.77 in NFR earnings. This puts Morgan’s career NFR earnings at $370,356.58, with “Kiss” earning the majority of those earnings, according to EquiStat.

Shelley Morgan
Shelley Morgan and HR Fameskissandtell win NFR Average title with a 137.28 on 10 runs, worth $74,149.92. Photo by Kenneth Springer

While Morgan and Kiss came into Round 10 with a 1.56-second lead over eventual NFR reserve average winner Bayleigh Choate, Morgan says her game plan of showing off Kiss’ capabilities never wavered. In fact, in Round 10 the duo finished third in the round with a time of 13.51, worth $17,254.95.

“We discussed that, because sometimes when you try to not to hit a barrel, then that’s when you hit a barrel,” Morgan said. “Kiss is not a barrel hitter, so we discussed it before we ever came in and just go do the same thing I’ve been doing all year. No safety-ing up. Just go ride your horse, and whatever happens happens.”

Morgan may not have picked up a go-round buckle this year, but she kept trucking and earning checks along the way. When she left her Eustace, Texas, home for the bright lights of Las Vegas her goal was to win the average.

“I just have so much confidence in her. I mean, she’s so honest and just does her job all the time. It’s no different than what we’ve done all year,” Morgan said. “That was my focus these past several days as it started becoming reality is just don’t change anything.”

Ultimately with an aggregate time of 137.28 on 10 runs, Morgan and Kiss claimed the NFR Average title for $74,149.92. With this most recent accolade, Morgan can hang her NFR Average saddle next to her 2022 The American Rodeo championship as well. Kiss, an 8-year-old mare by CEO and out of Fames Fiery Kiss by Dash Ta Fame, has been gaining national attention with her most recent years. She’s earned more than $486,787 in EquiStat reported lifetime earnings, not including this year’s Finals.

“She deserves it,” Morgan said. “I love for her to get the recognition for the horse that she is. Gosh, I can’t say enough how much I love that horse. Just talking about her I want to cry, just talking about her. She gives it everything.”

NFR Notable Horse Changes

Stevi Hillman made a horse change for Round 10, stepping on the Vauna Walker-bred and -trained RV Brijett, a 5-year-old mare by Blazin Jetolena and out of DTF Mellowdoc by Dash Ta Fame.

Leslie Smalygo made a horse change for Round 10 to Justatroubledwarrior, a 2014 gelding by Justaheartofawarrior and out of Just Regal Kisses by A Regal Choice. “Trouble” is owned by Scott Hansen and was bred by Shad Hansen.

Best Dressed Award
Margo Crowther earned the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award during this year’s NFR, which is worth $5,000. Photo by Kenneth Springer

NFR Barrel Racing Round 10 Results

Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

  1. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.35 seconds, $28,914
  2. Margo Crowther, Shes Packin Fame, 13.43, $22,851
  3. Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 13.51, $17,255
  4. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 13.52, $12,125
  5. Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 13.62, $7,462
  6. Bayleigh Choate, Hail To Be Famous, 13.65, $4,664
  7. Lisa Lockhart, Promise Me Fame Guys, 13.66
  8. Wenda Johnson, Macgyver Moonflash, 13.67
  9. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Babe On The Chase, 13.85
  10. Sissy Winn, Chewyingthehotwire, 14.01
  11. Kassie Mowry, CP He Will Be Epic, 18.37*
  12. Emily Beisel, Namgis D 33, 18.63*
  13. Stevi Hillman, RV Brijett, 18.97*
  14. Dona Kay Rule, Minco, Okla., 19.28*
  15. Leslie Smalygo, Skiatook, Okla., 25.14**

*denotes penalty

2022 Final WPRA World Standings

Rank, Name, Hometown, Earnings

  1. Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, TX, $302,172.27
  2. Jordon Briggs, Tolar, TX, $274,520.38
  3. Shelley Morgan, Eustace, TX, $265,029.69
  4. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, $253,196.90
  5. Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, OK, $231,859.61
  6. Emily Beisel, Weatherford, OK, $221,718.13
  7. Margo Crowther, North Fort Myers, FL, $184,751.16
  8. Bayleigh Choate (R), Fort Worth, TX, $182,970.62
  9. Dona Kay Rule, Minco, OK, $171,018.99
  10. Leslie Smalygo, Skiatook, OK, $158,342.95
  11. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Lampasas, TX, $154,160.67
  12. Kassie Mowry, Dublin, TX, $150,121
  13. Sissy Winn, Chapman Ranch, TX, $149,156.21
  14. Stevi Hillman, Granbury, TX, $138,063.82
  15. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, SD, $123,445.05

Aggregate Standings on 10 Runs

Rank, Name, Aggregate Time

  1. Shelley Morgan, Eustace, Texas, 137.28 seconds on 10 runs, $74,150
  2. Bayleigh Choate, Fort Worth, Texas, 138.98, $60,159
  3. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 141.66, $47,568
  4. Jordon Briggs, Tolar, Texas, 142.41, $34,976
  5. Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, Okla., 142.76, $25,183
  6. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Lampasas, Texas, 143.01, $18,188
  7. Sissy Winn, Chapman Ranch, Texas, 144.03, $12,592
  8. Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, Texas, 146.06, $6,995
  9. Margo Crowther, North Fort Myers, Fla., 146.98
  10. Kassie Mowry, Dublin, Texas, 152.33
  11. Emily Beisel, Weatherford, Okla., 155.50
  12. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D., 158.19
  13. Dona Kay Rule, Minco, Okla., 159.34
  14. Stevi Hillman, Granbury, Texas, 164.56
  15. Leslie Smalygo, Skiatook, Okla., 144.69 on nine

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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