LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 10, 2023 — Lisa Lockhart and Promise Me Fame Guys took home the Round Three win at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by Teton Ridge, with a time of 13.51, worth $30,706. The 17-time NFR qualifier and the 7-year-old gelding by Aint Seen Nothin Yet and out of the FC Aboo mare Bar Blue Lass topped the field as the first team to run down the alleyway, and no one was able to disturb their lead for the round.

“Levee” has already led Lockhart to big wins in high-pressure situations, such as The American Rodeo championship, as well as NFR paychecks, and he’s already proven he can handle the pressure inside the Thomas and Mack Center.

“Just his consistency — there’s no question what he’s going to do. If anything, he’s hesitant,” Lockhart said of what makes Levee successful. “Usually it takes him a while to gain confidence. Not that he ever does makes mistakes, per se, but he just maybe doesn’t run as hard as he could or should. He gained confidence quickly, like last night felt better. And then tonight, he just felt amazing.”

Lisa Lockhart turns second barrel
Lisa Lockhart and Promise Me Fame Guys earned the Round Three win at the 2023 Wrangler NFR with a time of 13.51, worth $30,706. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Levee joined Lockhart’s string of talented mounts in 2021 after being started on the pattern by breeder and previous owner Tenley Epperson and then futuritied to more than $120,000 with trainer Samantha Flannery. Teton Ridge purchased Levee the same year, and Lockhart and Levee went to winning together right away. By 2022, Levee and Lockhart had earned more than $197,000, including about $161,000 from the 2022 Wrangler NFR. This year, throughout the regular season of pro rodeos, he’s added another $160,000 to his earnings, bringing his total lifetime earnings to $490,465, according to EquiStat. Pair that talent with Lockhart’s 30 years of experience in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, and it’s a recipe for success.

The $3 million cowgirl moves to the bottom of the ground for Round Four, but the game plan will stay the same.

“I think the ground is great. They’re winning top and bottom,” Lockhart said. “I’m going to be unfazed and go lay it out there on the line. And yeah, we’re just gonna go after it — day in, day out.”

Lockhart isn’t one to pay attention to outside distractions and instead simply focuses on her job as a competitor and horsewoman. The round win did move Lockhart into the No. 2 position in the world standings. Her current world standings earnings sit at $193,622.85 — $130,523.86 behind the No. 1 cowgirl and regular-season earnings record-holder Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi. Lockhart also moves into the No. 3 position in the aggregate race with a time of 41.34 on three runs.

NFR First-Time Money Earning Horses

So far in the three rounds of competition at the Wrangler NFR, there have been five horses to earn their first career NFR paycheck. It’s a small group of horses that will forever hold that honor, and it’s an accomplishment a select few receive in their careers.

Jets Top Gun: Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi’s 2015 gelding by Blazin Jetolena and out of GL Famous First Lady by Dash Ta Fame, owned by Busby Quarter Horses, picked up his first NFR paycheck in Round One with a second-place finish. He hasn’t slowed down and earned paychecks in both Rounds Two and Three. So far, He’s led Tonozzi to $53,583.29 in 2023 Wrangler NFR earnings. Trained by Janna Beam Brown and bred by Busby Quarter Horses, “Benny” has earned more than $581,141 in career earnings. He earned $140,003 in futurity earnings and was the 2020 No. 3 Leading Futurity Horse. He picked up his first pro rodeo check in 2021. This year, he earned $123,072 of Tonozzi’s $270,563 regular-season earnings from 13 rodeos.

Famous Hayday: First-time NFR qualifier Paige Jones earned her first NFR paycheck aboard Famous Hayday, making “Bazinga” a member of the coveted club of NFR money-earning barrel horses. In Round One, Jones and Bazinga turned in a 13.97 for fourth place and $12,877. Tonight, the duo earned their second NFR paycheck from a time of 13.72, which split the fifth- and sixth-place positions with Jessica Routier and Fiery Miss West for $6,438. The 2012 bay gelding by PC Frenchmans Hayday was bred by Youree Ward Barrel Horses and is out of the late Dale Youree’s last futurity money earner Jaxsons Olympic Fame, by the Dash Ta Fame son Poco Lijerito.

Firewaterfrenchfame: First-time NFR qualifier Summer Kosel and first-time NFR earner Firewaterfrenchfame earned their first check in Round Two with a second-place finish from a time of 13.63, worth $24,268. “Apollo” is the second NFR horse bred and raised by Carol Warren out of her great Fire Water Flit-Magnolia Bar mare Fire Water Flyer. Apollo, who is the second NFR qualifier for Aint Seen Nothin Yet, is a half-brother to Shu Fire, the Dash Of Royal Gold mare, who helped Jessie Telford qualify for the NFR. Apollo and Kosel also set the Cheyenne Frontier Days arena record twice — the first time in 2022 when they ran a 17.02 in the first round in the CFD to break Kristie Peterson’s long-standing arena record of 17.03. Then, they broke their own CFD record with a 16.97 during the Finals of the 2023 CFD. Fellow 2023 NFR qualifier Sue Smith and Dashs Centerfold turned around to beat Kosel’s CFD arena record on the same day with a 16.89.

Ivory On Fire: Emily Beisel added Ivory On Fire to her string in 2022 after purchasing the 7-year-old brown mare by Ivory James and out of the Fire Water Flit mare Lil Miss Firewater from Shelby Ridling, who trained the mare. Beisel took “Liza” to 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. Beisel and Liza were first out on the ground in Round Two of the NFR and turned in a 13.70, which ultimately finished fourth for $12,877 and put “Liza” in the record books as an NFR money earner.

Diamond Center: Cheyenne Frontier Days arena-record holder Sue Smith picked up her first paycheck of the 2023 NFR aboard 2016 gelding Diamond Center, by A Smooth Guy and out of her CFD arena-record holder Dashs Centerfold by Dash Ta Fame. “Heff” earned $129,1197 in futurity earnings in 2021 and was the No. 8 Leading Futurity Horse. Heff has more than $252,190 in total lifetime earnings and now can add NFR earner to his resume. In Round Three, Smith and Heff put together a run of 13.66 to finish third and earn $18,325.

2023 WPRA Top 15 Stats

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Horsepower

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Horses Connections and Stats

Kassie Mowry turns second barrel
Kassie Mowry and CP He Will Be Epic move to No. 2 in the aggregate race at the 2023 Wrangler NFR after Round Three. After picking up checks in Rounds One and Three, Mowry moved from No. 6 in the world standings to No. 3. Photo by Kenneth Springer

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Round Three Results

Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

1. Lisa Lockhart / Promise Me Fame Guys / 13.51 / $30,706

2. Kassie Mowry / CP He Will Be Epic / 13.56 / $24,268

3. Sue Smith / Diamond Center / 13.66 / $18,325

4. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Jets Top Gun / 13.71 / $12,877

5/6. Jessica Routier / Fiery Miss West / 13.72 / $6,438

5/6. Paige Jones / Famous Hayday / 13.72 / $6,438

7. Hailey Kinsel / DM Sissy Hayday / 13.75

8. Emily Beisel / Ivory On Fire / 13.76

9. Jordon Briggs / Famous Lil Jet / 13.78

10. Ilyssa Riley / Themajorthriller / 13.84

11. Sissy Winn / A R Dash Ta Flame / 18.61*

12. Wenda Johnson / Steal Money / 18.63*

13. Stevi Hillman / Sand In My Socks / 18.78*

14. Summer Kosel / Firewaterfrenchfame / 18.87*

15. Taycie Matthews / Stoli My Firewater / 19.35*

*denotes penalty

Aggregate Standings on Three Runs

Rank, Name, Aggregate Time

1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / 41.17

2. Kassie Mowry / 41.20

3. Lisa Lockhart / 41.34

4/5. (tie) Jessica Routier / 41.48

4/5. (tie) Paige Jones / 41.48

6. Jordon Briggs / 41.64

7. Sue Smith / 41.65

8. Ilyssa Riley / 46.62

9. Hailey Kinsel / 46.76

10. Wenda Johnson / 51.10

11. Stevi Hillman / 51.27

12. Emily Beisel / 51.29

13. Summer Kosel / 51.62

14. Taycie Matthews / 52.14

15. Sissy Winn / 56.03

2023 WPRA World Standings (after Round Three)

1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Lampasas, Texas / $324,146.71

2. Lisa Lockhart / Oelrichs, South Dakota / $193,622.85

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

4. Emily Miller Beisel / Weatherford, Oklahoma / $181,629.29

5. Jordon Briggs / Tolar, Texas / $175,776.85

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

7. Summer Kosel / Glenham, South Dakota / $149,949.58

8. Jessica Routier / Buffalo, South Dakota / $149,774.32

9. Sissy Winn / Chapman, Texas / $149,728.90

10. Stevi Hillman / Granbury, Texas / $149,721.85

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

12. Paige Jones / Wayne, Oklahoma / $132,283.54

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

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

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

Author

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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