The 61st Annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is only a few days away. Find out what keys to success have kept the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s top 15 ladies going strong this year and throughout their rodeo careers.

Nellie Miller

No. 1, Cottonwood, CA, $154,610.50, 4 NFR qualifications (2010, 2017-2019)

“I think perseverance is No. 1. When things aren’t going well you have to persevere through that and so I think that kind of stops people from being successful. I think if you can power through (the hard times) you can be successful.”

Hailey (Kinsel) Lockwood

No. 2, Cotulla,TX $148,866.64, 3 NFR qualifications (2017-2019)

“My faith and knowing that rodeo and horses aren’t everything – as much as I want them to be – is what keeps me grounded. Knowing there is a bigger purpose to why I’m here and why I’m getting to do what I get to do helps me understand why I get these opportunities. And my family; they are very hardworking, good people and they just remind me to be the best person I can be in any scenario whether winning or losing.”

Lisa Lockhart

No. 3, Oelrichs, SD, $146,351.65, 13 NFR qualifications (2007-2019)

“I try to never take [qualifying for the NFR] for granted, because you never know what tomorrow holds, and because I know how hard it is to qualify.”

Shali Lord

No. 4,  Lamar, CO, $111,775.59, 2 NFR qualifications (2005, 2019)

“There are so many dynamics that go into it and I feel like I have such a huge support system and without my family helping me it wouldn’t be possible.  I feel like you have to look at all aspects as a whole and once you have everything clicking I think it’s a success.”

Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi

No. 5,  Lampasas, TX, $105,503.40, 13 NFR qualifications (2003, 2005-2013, 2017-2019)

“I ride every day. I ride 10-12 horses every day… it’s like second nature to me.”

Stevi Hillman

No. 6, Weatherford, TX, $105,334.82, 4 NFR qualifications (2016-2019)

“I compete against myself – that’s how I stay focused on what I need to do.”

Emily Miller

No. 7, Weatherford, OK, $98,144.73,  * First time NFR qualifier

“This season I focused on the mental aspect and having confidence. I trusted my gut instinct and relied on past experiences to help me decide what worked for my horses and I. Everyone has such a different journey throughout the year and what works for some, doesn’t always work for others and that’s valuable knowledge I was able to apply in 2019.”

Jessica Routier

No. 8,  Buffalo, SD, $96,581.90, 2 NFR qualifications (2018-2019)

“My key to success is a great team. I am truly blessed with amazing family, friends and sponsors, and there is no way I’d get down the road without them.”

Dona Kay Rule

No. 9, Minco, OK, $96,507.49, * First time NFR qualifier

“Learning. If you ever want to quit winning, you quit learning. Continually improve your horsemanship and never stop learning.”

Ericka Nelson

No. 10, Century, FL, $93,433.24, * First time NFR qualifier

“I believe the key to success is asking the Lord to direct our steps and then trusting Him to handle the rest. Of course, hard work, gratefulness and a don’t quit attitude are needed as well, plus a couple very special horses.”

Ivy (Conrado) Saebens

No. 11, Nowata, OK, $93,269.24, 4 NFR qualifications (2016-2019)

“Keeping it simple, riding to my spots and sitting up; and having a soft body.”

Amberleigh Moore

No. 12, Salem, OR, $93,059.22, 4 NFR qualifications (2016-2019)

“Perseverance and good a sense of humor got me through the summer run. This was the year of driving 8 hours to get hit by a freak rain storm the day I was up, and taking the fine and driving way.”

Jennifer Sharp

No. 13, Richards, TX, $91,754.45, * First time NFR qualifier

“First and foremost my husband. Without him, I would have never made it this year. Second, my horses! Smooch, Tequilla and Commander were rockstars all year! Last but not least my support system. I’ve had so many pushing me this year and with my recent accident I’ve realized how much I value all of them!”

Cheyenne Wimberley

No. 14, Stephenville, TX, $90,360.85, 2 NFR qualifications (1999, 2019)

“I’ve never stopped learning. I’m always looking for something new and it’s one of those things that whenever I’m on a horse I’m always trying to learn something.”

Lacinda Rose

No. 15, Willard, MO, $88,935.85, * First time NFR qualifier

“I have three main keys to success. No. 1, my horse RR Meradas Real Deal. He is an amazing athlete and his heart to win inspires me! No. 2, my family backing me. Mostly my husband encouraging me to keep going, and No. 3, my God with His protection over us and the ability He gave me!”


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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