LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 13, 2023 — Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi and Jets Top Gun took home the Round Seven win with a time of 13.47 at the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by Teton Ridge. Tonozzi and “Benny” have earned $132,825 in 2023 NFR earnings thus far, adding not only cushion to Tonozzi’s commanding lead in the world standings but also holding onto the lead in the aggregate.

“It’s all surreal,” Tonozzi said. “I came here with the hopes that Benny, and knowing that Benny could win a go-round. I just needed to make sure Benny got to where he got to win a go-round. I want to don’t want to say it was expected, but it was definitely I was like, ‘Come on Benny, we have two more nights on the top of the ground. We need to get this done.’ It was really cool [Benny’s owners and breeders] Jeff and Andrea (Busby) were here at the rodeo tonight. It’s just been a big family event, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

All week, Tonozzi has been cashing checks at the Wrangler NFR, and Benny’s handled the arena like a veteran in the gelding’s first trip to the Finals.

Benny, who’s by Busby Quarter Horses’ late stallion by Blazin Jetolena and out of GL Famous First Lady by Dash Ta Fame, picked up his first NFR paycheck in Round One and has placed in all six rounds in which he’s ran. For Round Six, which was held the morning of December 13, Tonozzi got on Babe On The Chase to give Benny a much-needed rest from running what would have been three runs in 24 hours. The EquiStat All-Time Leading Owner was back on Benny for Round Seven that night, and at draw No. 4, they didn’t waste their position on top of the ground.

Benny added his name to the record books already from earning paychecks inside the Thomas and Mack Center arena and can now add round winner to his accolades. Trained by Janna Beam Brown and owned and bred by Busby Quarter Horses, Benny has earned more than $581,141 in career earnings, not including any 2023 NFR earnings. He earned $140,003 in futurity earnings and was the 2020 No. 3 Leading Futurity Horse with Brown. 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.

Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi turns second barrel
Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi and Jets Top Gun took home the Round Seven win with a time of 13.47 at the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by Teton Ridge. Tonozzi and “Benny” have earned $132,825 in 2023 NFR earnings thus far. Photo by Kenneth Springer

“He just keeps getting stronger and stronger,” Tonozzi said. “Getting on ‘Birdie’ this morning was like pulling on your favorite pair of jeans and and going for a ride. But Benny is strong, and I do feel a little like I am at his mercy. Thank goodness he’s so honest. Because in this in this short setup, he’s a little hard to ride.”

Benny started his career earning more than $298,636 with Janna Beam Brown for owners Busby Quarter Horses from 2020 to 2022. He joined Tonozzi’s string in 2023 and together they earned more than $253,280 — not including any Wrangler NFR earnings.

“His consistency and his ability to basically put his body in positions that he should not be able to put it in,” Tonozzi added of what makes Benny successful. “He is a very big horse, and he can just wrap around a barrel, and that’s what’s really cool about him.”

Standings Update

After Round Seven, Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi continues to hold onto her lead in the Women’s Professional Association world standings with a $156,715 lead over No. 2 cowgirl in the world Emily Beisel. Tonozzi, who is EquiStat’s all-time leading owner of barrel horses, currently has $403,388 in WPRA world standings money. The EquiStat No. 3 all-time leading rider is also holding onto her lead in the aggregate with 95.64 seconds after seven rounds.

Beisel has moved from the No. 3 in the world to No. 2 in the world and has cashed in $87,921 in NFR earnings including a round win — all aboard Ivory On Fire. Beisel sits in the No. 9 position in the aggregate currently with 105.81 seconds on seven runs.

No. 3 cowgirl in the world Jordon Briggs and her world champion mount Famous Lil Jet have earned $60,186 in NFR earnings and have $221,011 in world standings earnings. However, with the aggregate paying out a lucrative $78,747.07, she still has the chance to move up in the standings as she’s sitting No. 2 in the aggregate race with a time of 96.17.

$1 Million Earner

On December 13 after the sixth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Fiery Miss West, ridden and trained by Jessica Routier and owned by Gary Westergren, officially crossed the $1 million lifetime earnings mark with $1,001,205. The 2011palomino mare by Firewater Frenchman and out of Frenchmans Bo Dashus by Royal Quick Dash has been Routier’s main mount for years and carried her to six NFR qualifications and a WPRA Reserve World Championship. So far at the 2023 Wrangler NFR, the duo from Buffalo, South Dakota, have earned $43,678. Routier currently sits in the No. 5 position in the aggregate and No. 9 in the world standings.

Jessica Routier turns second barrel
Fiery Miss West, owned by Gary Westergren and ridden by Jessica Routier, crossed the $1 million lifetime earnings mark after Round Six of the 2023 Wrangler NFR. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Notable Horse Changes

Wenda Johnson got on Smoken French Winner (Smoke N Sparks x Runaway Frenchgirl x Frenchmans Guy), owned by Christian Shipley and bred by the Korell Family Trust. In Round Seven, Johnson and “Smoke” turned in a time of 13.96, which was out of the money. Johnson is sitting in the No. 10 position in the aggregate and No. 13 in the world standings.

Sue Smith rode Rockin The Guns (PG Dry Fire x Baby Likes To Rocket x Whatta Band), owned by Jennifer Kalafatic and bred by Kyle Edwards and Sue Smith. “Rock” has earned more than $91,000 in EquiStat lifetime earnings with Kalafatic. In Round Seven, Smith and Rock turned in a time of 18.65 after a downed barrel. Currently, Smith is in the No.12 position in the aggregate and No. 12 in the world standings.

Ilyssa Riley rode 2011 gelding Championofthehouse (Furyofthewind x Teenish x Pritzi Dash), on whom she earned $2,920 at the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver. “Champ” has earned more than $82,900 in career lifetime earnings — $45,844 of that with futurity trainer Leslie Willis in aged-event competition before selling to Slash Z Quarter Horses in 2019 and joining Riley’s team. In Round Seven, Riley and Champ turned in a time of 13.88, which was out of the money. Riley currently sits in the No. 8 position in the aggregate and No. 14 in the world standings.

Kassie Mowry turns second barrel
Kassie Mowry and Force The Goodbye turned in a 13.60 for second place in Round Seven, worth $24,267. This makes Mowry the first lady at the 2023 NFR to win a paycheck on two different horses. She won $42,593 aboard CP He Will Be Epic in earlier rounds. Photo by Kenneth Springer

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Round Seven Results

Place, Name, Horse, Time, Money Won

  1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Jets Top Gun / 13.47 / $30,706
  2. Kassie Mowry / Force The Goodbye / 13.60 / $24,267
  3. Paige Jones / Famous Hayday / 13.62 / $18,325
  4. Emily Beisel / Ivory On Fire / 13.68 / $12,877
  5. Summer Kosel / Firewaterfrenchflame / 13.69 / $7,924
  6. Lisa Lockhart / Promise Me Fame Guys / 13.70 / $4,953
  7. Jessica Routier / Fiery Miss West / $13.71
  8. Jordon Briggs / Famous Lil Jet / 13.72
  9. Stevi Hillman / Sand In My Socks / 13.77
  10. Hailey Kinsel / DM Sissy Hayday / 13.78
  11. Taycie Matthews / Stoli My Firewater / 13.86
  12. Ilyssa Riley / Championofthehouse / 13.88
  13. Wenda Johnson / Smoken French Winner / 13.96
  14. Sue Smith / Rockin The Guns / 18.65*
  15. Sissy Winn / A R Dash Ta Flame / 18.79*

2023 WPRA Top 15 Stats

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Horsepower

2023 NFR Barrel Racing Horses Connections and Stats

Aggregate Standings on Seven Runs

Rank, Name, Aggregate Time

  1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / 95.64
  2. Jordon Briggs / 96.17
  3. Kassie Mowry / 96.25
  4. Lisa Lockhart / 96.57
  5. Jessica Routier / 96.58
  6. Paige Jones / 101.04
  7. Hailey Kinsel / 102.66
  8. Ilyssa Riley / 102.73
  9. Hailey Kinsel / 88.88
  10. Emily Beisel / 105.81
  11. Wenda Johnson / 106.24
  12. Summer Kosel / 106.79
  13. Sissy Winn / 115.60
  14. Stevi Hillman / 116.61
  15. Taycie Matthews / 117.63

2023 WPRA World Standings (after Round Seven)

1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Lampasas, Texas / $403,389.06

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

3. Jordon Briggs / Tolar, Texas / $221,011.01

4. Sissy Winn / Chapman Ranch, Texas / $211,636.98

5. Kassie Mowry / Dublin, Texas / $210,662.90

6. Lisa Lockhart / Oelrichs, South Dakota / $203,528.15

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

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

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

10. Paige Jones / Wayne, Oklahoma / $159,192.91

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

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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