LAS VEGAS—December 11, 2021— Dona Kay Rule and High Valor take home the Round 10 victory at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by Teton Ridge. Coming into the NFR Rule and “Valor” started the event strong with a Round Two win. In Round 10 they were first in the draw and set the pace with a 13.58. After 14 more horse and rider teams, and a battle for the world title that we’ll not soon forget, the Minco, Oklahoma, duo held on to the lead for the round win and earned $26,996.97.

Finishing the NFR strong wasn’t cut and dry, however. With some concerns about the ground Rule was admittedly hesitant coming into Round 10 after a slip at the first barrel in Round Nine. Being first on the ground gave Rule even more uncertainty. Without having the opportunity to watch anyone run before her it meant Rule wouldn’t be able to gauge the ground prior to their run, but instead would have to trust her horse and her instincts.

So, Rule set her game plan as if the ground was going to be hard, versus ground that is heavy and deep. In the latter Rule says she can send Valor straight to his spot, drop and drive him through the turn. In harder ground she focuses on keeping his hips and shoulders up and go through the turn first before finishing. Keeping this mindset Rule felt was the best game plan to avoid any chance of another slip. Focusing on correct position, body placement and footwork through the turn was the key to the Round 10 win.

“He really did feel strong,” Rule said. “But, I knew that when he had that slip last night he was really going to count on me to tell him he’s all right. Honestly, I was a little nervous about the ground. I had to just make our plan and set him up as if I were on really hard ground, which I approach it differently than I do if it’s deep. And then trust him.”

When they turned the first barrel clean Rule knew it was game time.

“In that instant you have to tell yourself you’re OK, because it worked,” she said. “Then I got excited but I didn’t want to hit the second barrel, so I just had to really focus on where I belonged.”

Rule stayed on Valor for all 10 rounds, and while they did hit a few barrels they still picked up $110,585.49 in NFR earnings bringing her world standings earnings to $195,575.45 to finish fifth in the world. They finished sixth in the aggregate race with 147.09 on 10 runs.

“I had a great NFR and I’m so blessed to be here. They didn’t kick me out, I got to stay and play and I had a great time,” Rule said with a laugh. “My whole family was here and my sponsors have been wonderful. It’s been incredible.”

—> 2021 WPRA Top 15 Stats

—> 2021 NFR Horse Pedigrees

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

Round 10 Results

Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

  1. Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 13.58, $26,996.97
  2. Shelley Morgan, HR Fameskissandtell, 13.59, $21,336.32
  3. Lisa Lockhart, Prime Diamond, 13.60, $16,111.10
  4. Ivy Saebens, KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, 13.66, $11,321.31
  5. Emily Miller-Beisel, Namgis D 33, 13.70, $6,966.96
  6. Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 13.72, $4,354.35
  7. Amanda Welsh, Frenchmans Fire Fly, 13.74
  8. Stevi Hillman, Famous Lemon Drop, 13.76
  9. Cheyenne Wimberley, VQ Sucker Punch, 13.78
  10. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 13.79
  11. Molly Otto, Teasin Dat Guy, 13.81
  12. Nellie Miller, Rafter W Minnie Reba, $13.83
  13. Wenda Johnson, Macgyver Moonflash, 18.45*
  14. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, 18.53*
  15. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 18.60*

*denotes penalty

Author

Kailey Sullins is editor of Barrel Horse News, and an avid barrel racer and breakaway roper. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

3 Comments

  1. Joan DeArmond Reply

    I’m so Proud of You Dona and VALOR!!!
    What a Team you two are.

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