LAS VEGAS—December 8, 2021—In Round Seven, Hailey Kinsel earned her first go-round win of the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge, clocking a fast 13.45 on her superstar mare DM Sissy Hayday for the $26,996.97 round-win paycheck.

It’s taken more rounds to get the W than fans are accustomed to, but the No. 1 cowgirl in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings says “Sister” feels great and is thankful to be placing consistently among tough company throughout the Finals. The pair has placed in four rounds, including finishing second the last two nights to a couple of Kinsel’s best friends, Emily Miller-Beisel and Ivy Saebens.

“Second was fun, but this is better!” Kinsel said with a laugh. “I think it’s really cool that there’s been seven rounds, and we’ve had eight different go-round winners. This is the most even barrel race I have ever seen in 10 days, and to be in that group and placing and now to get a round-win among that list is just amazing. It’s what you hope for when you come in to something with this even of a field of horses—you hope to see good things happen for everybody.”

dm sissy hayday

—> Read more: Hailey Kinsel Discusses Sister’s Bit

The three-time and reigning WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer has developed laser-like focus for competition, and unfortunately that was momentarily disrupted in the alleyway before Round Seven. Even so, Kinsel zoned back in and got Sister set up in the alley for a clean break to first.

“There was yet another beer can in the middle of the alleyway, so we’re going to really have to work on our alley clearing,” laughed the EquiStat earner of more than $2.3 million. “I saw it, and for me, that’s a distraction in my mind right before a run, so I had to immediately break that and just send her where I want to go. We went around it, and I told the guy at the back gate to pick that up so nobody else steps on that sucker. But my biggest focus is on keeping her calm and getting a perfect start in the alleyway. When you get a perfect start, I feel like everything flows a little easier after that and you can keep your momentum going.”

men hand-raking around a barrel
The 2021 NFR marked the first time for a hand-rake around each barrel after each runner at the Thomas and Mack Center arena. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Despite a couple incidences of trash in the alleyway, Kinsel praised the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and WPRA for what she says is the best and safest ground the barrel racers have ran on yet at the NFR. The ground crew is hand-raking around each barrel after every runner for the first time in history at the Thomas and Mack Center arena, and competitors are also running on new dirt this year.

“Hats off to the ground crew. This has been the most amazing dirt we’ve ever seen. They brought in brand new dirt this year for the first time in about 20 years. The PRCA and the WPRA have worked so hard,” Kinsel said. “We’re super grateful to Allen Rheinheimer, the new NFR general manager; he has been on top of it. The ground crew they hired is perfect. It got a little hard in Round Six last night, and we knew it, everybody knew it, everybody got mad on Facebook but whatever. We worked together, they fixed it, and it was great again today.”

With a go-round win in her pocket, Kinsel further distances herself from the field with a world-standings lead she’s held throughout the Finals as she chases a fourth-straight gold buckle. But Kinsel isn’t worried about that yet with three more rounds left to run, choosing instead to focus on the small everyday factors she can control—her riding and her horse.

“Each night I try to improve on little things. Every run I’ve made I could pick out a couple of things I could get better at and a lot of things I want to stick with and do again, so it’s trying to balance and go back and forth with what got us here,” Kinsel said. “There’s so many factors, and every horse is different, but for Sis out here, it’s all about keeping her happy during the day and quiet. I’ll bring her to some practices if I need to work in the alley to keep her calm or walk the pattern so that she’s happy, but sometimes it’s okay not to. She needed today off, so it’s just reading your horse and being sensitive to that. Your game plan only matters so much if you pay attention to your horse.”

—> 2021 WPRA Top 15 Stats

—> 2021 NFR Horse Pedigrees

—> Blood, Sweat and Cheers: 2021 NFR Horse Struggle Stories

Round Seven Results

Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

  1. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.45, $26,996.97
  2. Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 13.57, $21,336.32
  3. Emily Miller Beisel, Namgis D 33, 13.59, $16,111.10
  4. Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 13.61, $11,321.31
  5. Stevi Hillman, Famous Lemon Drop, 13.65, $6,966.96
  6. Molly Otto, Teasin Dat Guy, 13.67, $4,354.35
  7. Nellie Miller, Rafter W Minnie Reba, 13.69
  8. Amanda Welsh, Frenchman Fire Fly, 13.77
  9. Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 13.82
  10. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 13.84
  11. Ivy Saebens, KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, 13.86
  12. Wenda Johnson, Steal Money, 18.70*
  13. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 18.86*
  14. Lisa Lockhart, Prime Diamond, 23.92*
  15. Cheyenne Wimberley, VQ Sucker Punch, 23.94*

*denotes penalty

Jordon Briggs turning the second barrel
Thanks to Famous Lil Jet, Jordon Briggs maintains a healthy lead in the aggregate through Round Seven of the 2021 Wrangler NFR. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Aggregate Standings on Seven Runs

Rank, Name, Aggregate Time

  1. Jordon Briggs, 96.18
  2. Hailey Kinsel, 100.52
  3. Emily Miller-Beisel, 100.88
  4. Stevi Hillman, 101.00
  5. Shelley Morgan, 101.45
  6. Amanda Welsh, 101.61
  7. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 101.99
  8. Nellie Miller, 102.05
  9. Jessica Routier, 102.88
  10. Molly Otto, 103.30
  11. Dona Kay Rule, 106.01
  12. Ivy Saebens, 111.55
  13. Cheyenne Wimberley, 111.59
  14. Lisa Lockhart, 112.33
  15. Wenda Johnson, 120.89

WPRA World Standings

Rank, Name, Hometown, Earnings

  1. Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, TX, $213,663.65
  2. Jordon Briggs, Tolar, TX, $172.708.24
  3. Emily Miller-Beisel, Weatherford, OK, $160,545.14
  4. Shelley Morgan, Eustace, TX, $147,772.84
  5. Dona Kay Rule, Minco, OK, $147,242.16
  6. Amanda Welsh, Gillette, WY, $132,422.44
  7. Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, TX, $130,818.08
  8. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Lampasas, TX, $128,200.08
  9. Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, OK, $127,024.15
  10. Ivy Saebens, Nowata, OK, $123,914.15
  11. Cheyenne Wimberley, Stephenville, TX, $111,298.94
  12. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, $100,734.38
  13. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, SD, $88,847.28
  14. Nellie Miller, Cottonwood, CA, $85,519.15
  15. Molly Otto, Grand Forks, ND, $78,526.86

Blanche Schaefer is an avid barrel racer and managing editor of Barrel Horse News. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

1 Comment

  1. good article, enjoyed it. I have supported and cheered on Hailey Kinsel all year. And last year for that matter. I sure hated to see her knock that barrel down on round 10. I wonder how it would have turned out if she hadn’t. I guess that is just part of it.
    Jordan did a great job. she’s on a super horse. With her horse and Stevi’s horse both being so young, they may be hard to beat in the future.
    It is hard to believe that the Odessa rodeo is less than a month away.

    Again, thank you for your article.

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