LAS VEGAS—December 10, 2021—Jordon Briggs and Famous Lil Jet won their second consecutive go-round with a 13.48 to tie for the Round Nine win with Stevi Hillman and Famous Lemon Drop, each banking $24,166.64.
Jordon Briggs and Famous Lil Jet
Jordon Briggs is under the gun as the race for the world championship heats up at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and the No. 2 barrel racer in the 2021 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings took full advantage of running first on the ground in Round Nine.
“You go into it thinking, ‘Man, I’m third on the ground the eighth round. I’m first on the ground in the ninth round; I need to capitalize,’ but that’s what you think, you know? It’s harder to actually do it, and gosh, my horse did it for me,” said Jordon, who last qualified for the Wrangler NFR in 2009 and has since dedicated her career to training futurity horses. “‘Rollo’ has been so solid all year. He’s never given me a reason to doubt ourselves. This is his first time here, and I hardly even remember the last time I came here, it’s been so long. From training futurity colts, you learn to stay level. You don’t let the highs get too high. You don’t let the lows get too low. A colt is going to humble you eventually, so I’ve just been just enjoying the ride.”
With the win, Jordon moves within $13,000 of No. 1 cowgirl and reigning world champion barrel racer Hailey Kinsel. Jordon is leading the average and Kinsel is sitting second, and with average payouts of $69,234.17 for first and $56,171.12 for second, it’s sure to come down to the wire in the 10th round (see current standings below).
Ironically, in 2020 Kinsel became the first barrel racer since Jordon’s mother, Kristie Peterson, to win three consecutive WPRA World Championships. Peterson and Jordon’s 3-year-old daughter Bexley arrived in Vegas for the eighth round and now have the pleasure of celebrating another win with Jordon two nights in a row.
With a gold buckle within reach, Jordon says the advice her four-time WPRA World Champion mother gave her is simple.
“Yesterday, my mom texts me and she said, ‘It’s just you and Rollo. Nobody else matters. It’s just you and Rollo.’ So that’s what we’re doing,” Jordon said.
—> Read more: Kristie Peterson and Bozo
Jordon says the most special part of the Finals is sharing the accomplishments with her family. Horses have always been a family affair for Jordon—just as Kristie and “Bozo” did when Jordon was young, it’s now Jordon’s turn to showcase her life-changing horse and enjoy the ride with her husband and their young daughter by her side.
“It’s so fun having them here. I was putting on Rollo’s boots in the tent before my run, and my daughter runs up to him and hugs him, gives him cookies. He just puts his head down, and it means the world to me. And sharing this with my husband; he walks me down the alleyway and gives me all the confidence in the world. We got to train Rollo together, and I wouldn’t be doing this without him,” Jordon said. “There’s times he’s taking care of everything at home, even our daughter when I’m out on the road. I thought the best thing for me to do was to sell Rollo now that we have a child, and he just said no. So we’re making it work together, and it’s working out.”
Stevi Hillman and Famous Lemon Drop
Stevi Hillman also enjoyed her second go-round win of the Finals, and in a special way—the money from the win pushed her WPRA career earnings over $1 million. Though her position in the standings looks a bit different than Jordon’s, Hillman is doing her best to make the most of her NFR on 5-year-old superstar Famous Lemon Drop.
“Every night she’s getting stronger and stronger in the alley, calmer about the flags and stagecoach, but she knows what she’s in there for. Tonight, I let her go a little harder and just trusted her. She’s been solid every night. It was a fun run; she was gritty tonight,” said the six-time Wrangler NFR qualifier and EquiStat earner of more than $1.2 million. “She’s had some slips and that’s cost us some barrels, but she’s just trying. It’s unfortunate and heartbreaking that the average kind of went away for us, but you have to come to every night like it’s a new rodeo. Ten runs is a lot mentally on us and the horses, so every night I just start fresh.”
Hillman is thankful for the opportunity to run the Dunn Ranch-owned mare at the NFR. Those who follow the futurity world know Famous Lemon Drop well—started by Summer Hatch and trained for the futurities by DaCota Monk, she earned $92,903 in 2020 as a futurity colt under Monk. Hillman took the reins this year, and “Lemon Drop” adapted to the rodeo scene right away. The mare’s success in Vegas isn’t necessarily a surprise given her speed, bravery and gritty nature, but Hillman is still impressed with how Lemon Drop has stepped up to the plate at such a young age on the biggest stage.
“I knew she could handle this because she’s handled a lot of stuff this summer, but she has handled Vegas like she’s having fun and loves it. It’s not bothering her one bit,” she said. “She’s gritty. She tries really hard. She’s got the solid foundation to handle it, and her heart is so big. She wants to try, and I’m so proud of her.”
Round Nine Results
Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won
- tie-Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 13.48, $24,166.64
- tie-Stevi Hillman, Famous Lemon Drop, 13.48, $24,166.64
- Amanda Welsh, Frenchman Fire Fly, 13.54, $16,111.10
- Wenda Johnson, Macgyver Moonflash, 13.61, $11,321.31
- Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.63, $6,966.96
- Ivy Saebens, KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, 13.66, $4,354.35
- Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 13.67
- Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 13.77
- Lisa Lockhart, Prime Diamond, 13.81
- Molly Otto, Teasin Dat Guy, 14.13
- Emily Miller-Beisel, Namgis D 33, 18.54*
- Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 18.59*
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 18.72*
- Cheyenne Wimberley, VQ Sucker Punch, 18.81*
- Nellie Miller, Cinco De Cash, 19.06*
Aggregate Standings on Nine Runs
Rank, Name, Aggregate Time
- Jordon Briggs, 123.11
- Hailey Kinsel, 127.81
- Jessica Routier, 130.23
- Molly Otto, 131.30
- Stevi Hillman, 133.07
- Emily Miller-Beisel, 133.13
- Dona Kay Rule, 133.51
- Shelley Morgan, 133.60
- Amanda Welsh, 134.27
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 134.48
- Nellie Miller, 134.97
- Ivy Saebens, 139.03
- Lisa Lockhart, 145.40
- Wenda Johnson, 148.96
- Cheyenne Wimberley, 149.15
WPRA World Standings
Rank, Name, Hometown, Earnings
- Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, TX, $236,741.71
- Jordon Briggs, Tolar, TX, $223,871.85
- Shelley Morgan, Eustace, TX, $169,109.16
- Emily Miller-Beisel, Weatherford, OK, $167,512.10
- Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, TX, $154,984.72
- Dona Kay Rule, Minco, OK, $151,596.51
- Amanda Welsh, Gillette, WY, $148,533.54
- Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, OK, $138,345.46
- Ivy Saebens, Nowata, OK, $128,268.50
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Lampasas, TX, $128,200.08
- Cheyenne Wimberley, Stephenville, TX, $111,298.94
- Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, $100,734.38
- Jessica Routier, Buffalo, SD, $100,168.59
- Nellie Miller, Cottonwood, CA, $85,519.15
- Molly Otto, Grand Forks, ND, $78,526.86