LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 15, 2023 — Kassie Mowry and Force The Goodbye made it look easy in Round Nine of the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by Teton Ridge. The EquiStat All-Time Leading Rider aboard her 5-year-old gelding “Jarvis” turned in a time of 13.37 to top the field and earn $30,706 and back-to-back round wins.

Not only did Mowry earn her first career NFR round win in Round Eight, but the Dublin, Texas, futurity horse trainer was also the first of this year’s field of 15 to win back-to-back round wins and the first to earn paychecks aboard two mounts.

With more than $5.5 million to her name — not including NFR earnings — there aren’t a lot of firsts left for Mowry to win. Still, she was able to accomplish a few of those this week in Las Vegas. Mowry is even quick to admit the professional rodeo world isn’t her “strong suit,” yet, with $138,274 of 2023 NFR earnings so far, it’s hard to consider rodeo anything but at the top of her repertoire.

“I mean, it just never gets old,” Mowry said of experiencing new types of wins. “I feel like it’s hard, because it hasn’t sunk in what this horse has really done. I’m still in awe of him. But it gives me hope. I’m always looking forward to those next colts. I love stepping off the good ones, letting them go on. I love starting over, weirdly, but there’s days where I regret that decision to let some of them go. Because it is such a kick in the face sometimes. With the young ones it’s it is hard, and it’s a long process, but I do still love it when it comes down to it. I love the challenge of it. I love trying to find that next winner and what makes them tick. That’s really fun for me.”

Force The Goodbye turns first barrel
Kassie Mowry and Force The Goodbye won back-to-back go-rounds at the Wrangler NFR with a 13.37 in Round Nine, worth $30,706, after winning Round Eight in 13.30. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Owned by Mowry’s fiance Michael Boone and bred by Janelle Yutzie Blubaugh of Newberg, Oregon, Jarvis was one of the year’s top futurity horses in 2022 as a 4-year-old with earnings of more than $360,644 in a year of competition. Coming into the 2023 NFR, he continued to add to that number during his first derby year. As of December 1, he had an impressive $650,558 in career earnings.

Mowry kicked off the Finals aboard 8-year-old gray gelding CP He Will Be Epic, by Epic Leader and out of the Bo Hill-bred Dash Ta Fame daughter Percilla. “Will,” who is owned by Mowry and was bred by Claire Powell, has EquiStat earnings of more than $519,859, not including any 2023 NFR earnings. Mowry stepped off Will and onto Jarvis in Round Five with simply a gut feeling that the gelding by The Goodbye Lane and out of VF Forcit First by Burrs First Down deserved a chance to shine on this stage.

Jarvis has gone on to prove Mowry’s instincts correct and exceed her expectations.

“A good horse, I feel like a lot of it is their mind along with their athletic ability — they’ll let you handle them, they’ll let you help them, and you don’t have to do a whole lot in between the runs to keep them good,” Mowry said. “A great horse just excels like [Jarvis has at the NFR] — in the hardest situations. They’re the ones that rise to the top. There’s something different about them. It’s really fun to put them in that situation and see them thrive off it. They’re so proud of themselves when they come back to the trailer. I mean, they literally drag me back, but it’s like they’re so happy in their adrenaline, and they’re like, ‘Look at what I did.’ It’s a lot of fun to see them like that.”

As any good trainer or jockey knows, success isn’t built overnight and there are still jobs to focus on, even at the top of your career. Mowry has been focusing on making sure Jarvis is dialed in each night by working diligently and purposefully during practice sessions.

“Jarvis tends to be a little too honest in his turns,” Mowry said. “I have been asking him to tighten down a little. I mean, it is a little hard because I’m sitting really good in the average, and that’s a good check. But also, you know we have to be fast, and the rounds pay so well and these girls are so tough you just can’t not put the hammer down. I have been working him tighter on the barrels, just letting him know, ‘Hey, I don’t need a 10-foot pocket here,’ like get around it, because he tends to give me a little too much room. He’s very honest.”

The game plan has been working, and Mowry has no intentions of changing anything for Round 10. Most importantly, she’s enjoying the success her horses are having at the NFR and plans to cherish these runs.

“I normally remember every detail of my runs, and for some reason here I don’t remember a whole lot of it, but I felt like it’s in a good way. I’m letting my horse go do his thing, which is hard for me to not control everything,” Mowry said with a laugh. “But, things happen fast in this arena. It’s a blind first barrel. I mean, everything is happening so fast, and I feel like [Jarvis] is making better decisions than I am, so I’m going to keep letting him.”

The Kassie Connection

Kassie Mowry qualified for her fourth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2023, with several talented horses in her string including Famous Ladies Man, CP He Will Be Epic and Force The Goodbye. Famous Ladies Man — “Emmitt” has earned more than $678,374 in lifetime earnings and carried Mowry to two of her four NFR qualifications. This year he earned $75,149 of Mowry’s pro rodeo earnings from just 14 rodeos. CP He Will Be Epic — “Will” has more than $515,802 in lifetime earnings and has helped Mowry for the past two years of NFR qualifications. He earned $55,282 in pro rodeo earnings this year during the regular season and so far at the 2023 NFR has earned $42,593. Force The Goodbye — “Jarvis”  has more than $650,558 in career earnings and has now earned two NFR round wins and $85,679 in NFR earnings. 

The reach of the EquiStat All-Time Leading Barrel Racer’s talented hands extends far beyond just her own string of NFR horses. An earner of more than $5 million in lifetime earnings and a career futurity trainer, Mowry trained or campaigned several horses competing at the 2022 NFR. 

Sand In My Socks, ridden by Stevi Hillman – “Sandi” is a graduate of Mowry’s futurity training program and won $100,000 in the very first run of her life as a 3-year-old to win the 2020 Barrel Futurities of America SuperStakes slot race under Mowry for then-owners Isabella Quarter Horses. The 2017 mare by BHR Frenchies Socks and out of JC Pick Six by Tres Seis went on to win more than $260,000 with Mowry. Sandi sold in 2022 to 70 Ranch Performance Horses and joined Hillman’s string for the NFR. In 2023, Sandi was an integral part of Hillman’s team winning the Pendleton Roundup and securing Hillman’s NFR qualification. So far, the duo have earned $64,974 in NFR earnings and a round win. 

Steal Money, ridden by Wenda Johnson — Trained on the barrels by Luis Hernandez, “Mo” was sent to Mowry to be jockeyed for his 5-year-old futurity year in 2021 by then-owners Tres Mesa Horses. The pair placed at the BFA World Championship Futurity, won a round at the 2020 OKC Futurity, finished reserve at the BRN4D MVP Futurity in Arizona and won the 2021 Elite Futurity in Waco, Texas. The 2016 gelding by First Moonflash and out of Im Chica Stoli by Stoli and Mowry won more than $45,000 together before Mo went on the rodeo road with Johnson and won the fourth round at the 2021 Wrangler NFR — an incredible feat for a horse during its futurity year. In 2023 

Mistys Money Blurr — “Money” ridden by Ilyssa Riley earned his first career earnings with Mowry at the helm taking home futurity earnings in 2020 of $32,944 with Mowry. Purchased from Mowry by Slash Z Quarter Horses in 2021, Money joined Riley’s string and has earned more than $107,000 with Riley. Although Riley has yet to earn an NFR paycheck, both she and her string of horses have been handling the pressure well. 

“It’s just incredible, because, I go through the highs and lows with these girls and we want them to do good, and we understand the bumps in the road and everything that goes with it,” Mowry said of seeing horses she’s had a hand in go down the alleyway at the Thomas and Mack with other riders. “I’m so proud of all of them. I mean, just to make it this far, and for them to choose these horses to be here. It’s an amazing feeling to me. We put a lot in these horses. I love these horses. I see how well they’re taken care of, and just how much people put in them, and we love it.”

Lisa Lockhart Becomes WPRA Leading Earner

Lisa Lockhart surpassed the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s all-time career earnings record previously held by Sherry Cervi with $3,388,790. Coming into the 2023 Wrangler NFR, Lockhart sat in the No. 2 position with $3,308,970 and Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi sat at No. 3 with $3,122,225. Both Lockhart and Tonozzi have been earning checks steadily at this year’s NFR and it was a race to see who would cross the mark first. Through Round Nine, Lockhart has earned $99,642.91 in total NFR earnings. Tonozzi has earned $162,046.26. Lockhart’s total WPRA career earnings now sit at $3,408,613. Tonozzi’s earnings are at $3,284,271.

Lisa Lockhart turns second barrel
Lisa Lockhart and Promise Me Fame Guys turned in a time of 13.41 in Round Nine of the 2023 Wrangler NFR, adding $24,268 to their lifetime earnings and effectively making Lockhart the WPRA’s highest earning cowgirl of all-time. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Notable Runs

Four-time WPRA world champions Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday picked up their first paycheck of the 2023 Wrangler NFR with a 13.51 for fourth place and $12,877.

Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi — the three-time WPRA world champion — continues to add to her resume. She clinched her third world championship in Round Eight of this year’s NFR, and tonight in Round Nine she earned her eighth paycheck of the NFR from a time of 13.68 aboard Jets Top Gun, good enough for sixth place and $4,953. With this round paycheck, the Lampasas, Texas, barrel racer moved into the No. 1 position in the NFR RAM Top Gun race with earning total NFR earnings thus far of $162,046.26. Trailing behind her in a close second place is bull rider Ky Hamilton with $160,312.82.

Four-time WPRA world champions Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday picked up their first paycheck of the 2023 Wrangler NFR with a 13.51 for fourth place and $12,877. Photo by Kenneth Springer

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Round Nine Results

Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Lampasas, Texas / $427,657.03

2. Emily Beisel / Weatherford, Oklahoma / $246,674.04

3. Kassie Mowry / Dublin, Texas / $241,369.31

4. Sissy Winn / Chapman Ranch, Texas / $229,961.77

5. Jordon Briggs / Tolar, Texas / $227,449.45

6. Lisa Lockhart / Oelrichs, South Dakota / $209,966.59

7. Summer Kosel / Glenham, South Dakota / $196,504.45

8. Stevi Hillman / Granbury, Texas / $173,989.82

9. Paige Jones / Wayne, Oklahoma / $172,069.79

10. Jessica Routier / Buffalo, South Dakota / $162,651.20

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

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

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

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

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

2023 WPRA Top 15 Stats

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Horsepower

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Horses Connections and Stats

Aggregate Standings on Nine Runs

Rank, Name, Aggregate Time

1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / 122.66

2. Kassie Mowry / 122.92

3. Jordon Briggs / 123.31

4. Lisa Lockhart / 123.64

5. Paige Jones / 128.45

6. Jessica Routier / 129.03

7. Ilyssa Riley / 130.75

8. Hailey Kinsel / 135.03

9. Sue Smith / 135.03

10. Summer Kosel / 139.07

11. Sissy Winn / 142.83

12. Emily Beisel / 142.92

13. Wenda Johnson / 143.90

14. Stevi Hillman / 144.24

15. Taycie Matthews / 154.88

2023 WPRA World Standings (after Round Nine)

1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Lampasas, Texas / $432,609.68

2. Kassie Mowry / Dublin, Texas / $272,075.72

3. Emily Beisel / Weatherford, Oklahoma / $246,674.04

4. Jordon Briggs / Tolar, Texas / $245,774.24

5. Lisa Lockhart / Oelrichs, South Dakota / $234,234.56

6. Sissy Winn / Chapman Ranch, Texas / $229,961.77

7. Summer Kosel / Glenham, South Dakota / $204,428.68

8. Stevi Hillman / Granbury, Texas / $173,989.82

9. Paige Jones / Wayne, Oklahoma / $172,069.79

10. Jessica Routier / Buffalo, South Dakota / $162,651.20

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

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

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

14. Hailey Kinsel / Cotulla, Texas / $128,652.65

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

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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