LAS VEGAS—December 7, 2021—Ivy Saebens and KN Fabs Gift Of Fame took home the Round Six win at the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge. The duo turned in a time of 13.43 to collect $26,996.97, moving Saebens from 11th in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings to ninth.
This is Saebens’ first go-round win of the 2021 NFR. Prior to Round Six, she had earned $26,111,10 at this year’s NFR—including the $10,000 guaranteed money each contestant receives for qualifying—and hit two barrels in Round Two and took down another in Round Five. Admittedly, it hadn’t been the NFR that Saebens was hoping for up until this point. After Round Five, she says a fire lit within her.
“My week obviously hasn’t gone how I wanted it to,” Saebens said. “I’ve been trying to have a good attitude about it, but last night was pretty much the last straw for me. I’m naturally a sore loser. I’ve been a sore loser since I was a little kid. Finally, I just got pissed off.”
With renewed determination, Saebens gunned for the go-round win while focusing on riding “JLo” all the way around the turn on the second barrel—a spot she’d been catching barrels at earlier in the week. It finally came together for the Nowata, Oklahoma, resident and her 12-year-old palomino mare owned by Kenny Nichols and Dale Barron.
“JLo has been on top of it. She’s just been waiting for me to get my stuff together,” she said. “I’m glad I finally did just to show that she’s amazing. She’s one of the older horses here, so for her to keep up with all these young guns on the great ground we’re getting to run on is very impressive, especially after her almost dying [in 2020]. The fact we’re even here is unbelievable, and I just want to do her justice, especially for her owners Kenny and Dale. The fact they even let me be her partner is unbelievable and a blessing. I’m glad I finally showcased her the way she needed to be.”
JLo has miraculously come back from a near-career-ending incident in 2020 when a vet inadvertently tubed a bucket of water into her lungs when Saebens was on the road rodeoing last August. Saebens was forced to end the season and head home to receive expert care from Dr. Marty Tanner, DVM, in Brock, Texas. JLo made her comeback and slowly built steam, qualifying Saebens in 2021 for their fourth NFR together and Saebens’ fifth career NFR.
JLo has been a winner from the get-go. The mare had a stellar futurity record in 2014 with Kelsey Lutjen Treharne and earned more than $87,878 in EquiStat reported earnings during her futurity year to land as EquiStat’s No. 7 Futurity Horse of the Year.
When Saebens took the reins in 2017, it was a match made in heaven. The mare has helped Saebens earn her status as a more than $1.1 million rider and qualify for four NFRs (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021). JLo was also voted the No. 2 AQHA/WPRA Barrel Racing Horse of the Year with Saebens as her jockey in 2018 and 2019.
JLo and Saebens also earned the NFR Average title in 2019 to finish the season as the 2019 WPRA Reserve World Champions. In 2021, Saebens is thankful the mare is still alive, much less competing and winning.
She says to come back this week after hitting three barrels at the Finals and not only place, but put on a show inside the Thomas and Mack to a house of 16,763 fans in attendance, all comes back to mental game—and a bit of that dogged tenacity that makes both Saebens and JLo winners.
“The most important thing to have a winning run in this pen is executing on your timing and executing when you are on top of the ground,” Saebens said. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Mental game is everything here, and that’s what I’ve been lacking all week. I’ve been almost trying to force things, instead of just letting things be the way they are. That’s definitely the key is letting things play out the way they’re supposed to and not force anything.”
Although out of the aggregate race, Saebens is in prime position to take the round-win momentum and run, literally. With four rounds left, there’s still plenty of money on the table to be doled out—$348,348 in go-round money, to be exact. Saebens is out in full force for a piece of that pie.
“It’s so dirty tough. You’re not going to cruise through and catch a check anymore. That’s how it’s been all year. I can’t believe how tough it is,” Saebens said. “I have to go for it every night for even the hope to catch a check. You’re just going to see me trying to do my best.”
Round Six Results
Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won
- Ivy Saebens, KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, 13.43, $26,996.97
- Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.55, $21,336.32
- Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 13.56, $16,111.10
- Emily Miller-Beisel, Namgis D 33, 13.58, $11,321.31
- Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 13.63, $6,966.96
- Lisa Lockhart, Prime Diamond, 13.70, $4,354.35
- Nellie Miller, Rafter W Minnie Reba, 13.78
- Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 13.87
- Cheyenne Wimberley, Streakin Images, 13.92
- Molly Otto, Teasin Dat Guy, 14.02
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Babe On The Chase, 14.31
- Stevi Hillman, Famous Lemon Drop, 18.51*
- Amanda Welsh, Frenchman Fire Fly, 18.80*
- Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 18.99*
- Wenda Johnson, Steal Money, 23.64**
Aggregate Standings on Six Runs
Rank, Name, Aggregate Time
- Jordon Briggs, 82.61
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 83.13
- Hailey Kinsel, 87.07
- Emily Miller-Beisel, 87.29
- Stevi Hillman, 87.35
- Cheyenne Wimberley, 87.65
- tie-Amanda Welsh, 87.84
- tie-Shelley Morgan, 87.84
- Nellie Miller, 88.36
- Lisa Lockhart, 88.41
- Jessica Routier, 89.04
- Molly Otto, 89.63
- Dona Kay Rule, 92.19
- Ivy Saebens, 97.69
- Wenda Johnson, 102.19
WPRA World Standings
Rank, Name, Hometown, Earnings
- Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, TX, $186,666.68
- Jordon Briggs, Tolar, TX, $151,371.92
- Dona Kay Rule, Minco, OK, $147,242.16
- Emily Miller-Beisel, Weatherford, OK, $144,434.04
- Shelley Morgan, Eustace, TX, $136,451.53
- Amanda Welsh, Gillette, WY, $132,422.44
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Lampasas, TX, $128,200.08
- Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, OK, $127,024.15
- Ivy Saebens, Nowata, OK, $123,914.15
- Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, TX, $123,851.12
- Cheyenne Wimberley, Stephenville, TX, $111,298.94
- Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, $100,734.38
- Jessica Routier, Buffalo, SD, $88,847.28
- Nellie Miller, Cottonwood, CA, $85,519.15
- Molly Otto, Grand Forks, ND, $74,172.51