Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Cheat Sheet: Round 8 Recap

11x Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion Barrel Racer Charmayne James shares her impressions from Round 8 and what to look for in Round 9.
Jordon Briggs taking her Round 8 victory lap at the 2021 Wrangler NFR.

Charmayne James needs no introduction in the world of barrel racing. She’s ridden many different horses down the alley at the Thomas & Mack Center arena, most famous among them the legendary “Scamper” (Gills Bay Boy). She’s been kind enough to share her thoughts with Barrel Racing Magazine as we continue tracking the most exciting 10 days of the year in rodeo.

Get caught up on the WPRA world standings, average standings and Round 8 results HERE

World Standings Leader Hailey Kinsel

Charmayne’s take: Hailey ran a 13.6 and just made it look easy. She got a hair by first, but that didn’t faze her, she’s a cool cat out there and she went on with it to win third in the round. It seems to me that’s it’s easy for Hailey to keep herself focused and chill. I think she’s got the kind of nature and demeanor that makes her a champion.

No. 2 Jordon Briggs

Charmayne’s take: Wow! What a great rider to watch. Jordon is the perfect example of great two-handed riding. She helps her horse stay framed up, it’s absolute perfection. She said in her interview with Cowboy Channel that Rollo keeps getting better, and to me that’s because she’s not hindering him—they feed off each other and that’s why they got their turn on the stage at South Point last night for the buckle ceremony.

No. 3 Shelley Morgan

Charmayne’s take: Shelley and Kiss laid down another really good run. They were a 13.56 for second in a super tough round. Shelley looks like she’s got her groove. She’s right with her horse timing-wise and she’s not having to hold her off the barrels, they look super solid and have a chance to get their round win tonight.

No. 4 Emily Miller-Beisel

Charmayne’s take: Emily was a 13.71 for fifth in the round and she’s sitting solid at third in the average. Her first and second barrels were great once again. Emily’s got that first barrel down, it’s amazing and it’s because she’s got great timing there. She makes it look easy. Being third in the average she’s a threat because anything can happen, and a lot can happen in two nights—it’s happened before—so she’s in a good spot.

No. 5 Dona Kay Rule

Charmayne’s take: Valor and Dona Kay got by first a little and still won sixth. Every time Dona Kay runs down that alley, she and Valor are a threat to win the round.

No. 6 Amanda Welsh

Charmayne’s take: Amanda and Firefly just had a little bad luck. Firefly tipped the second barrel when he bumped it with his nose. He was working great, so they’ll come back hoping for some redemption tonight.

No. 7 Stevi Hillman

Charmayne’s take: This is another team that had a little bad luck. Lemon Drop hit first leaving it and still clocked a 13.59. So that’s got to be disappointing for Stevi but there’s no doubt about it that she’s got a fast horse that has a chance to win in the two remaining rounds. They are always a threat here.

No. 8 Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi

Charmayne’s take: Brittany and Katniss were later in the draw and ran a 13.77 to be just out of placing. They made a great run and moving up in the run order tonight will be advantageous for them.

No. 9 Wenda Johnson

Charmayne’s take: Tough luck for Wenda in Round 8. Moe was flying to first and she was working to keep from hitting it. He spun out on the ground, and it was just a tough night for them. I hope she has a better go of it tonight.

No. 10 Ivy Saebens

Charmayne’s take: Ivy and J-Lo ran a 13.82 toward the bottom of the ground. Last night it seemed like it was a little tougher to win from the bottom. A 13.82 is nothing to sneeze at, it was just a super tough round.

No. 11 Cheyenne Wimberley

Charmayne’s take: Cheyenne and Rocco tipped first leaving it. They’re running in there real hard trying to win something. She knows she’s got two more chances since she’s out of the average, so I expect Cheyenne to take her chances and keep going in trying to place deep.

12 Lisa Lockhart

Charmayne’s take: Lisa made a horse change. She was on a super talented young horse, Promise Me Fame Guys (“Levee”). They got in a little tight and tipped second but that’s a lot of pressure for a young horse to take and he handled the atmosphere very well. It can take a few runs on a new horse to get in the groove in Thomas & Mack.

No. 13 Jessica Routier

Charmayne’s take: I was happy to see Jessica and Missy get a nice check in the round for fourth with a 13.68. They’re placing seventh in the average too and I’m sure Jessica is looking to capitalize on these last two go-rounds.

No. 14 Nellie Miller

Charmayne’s take: Nellie was a little wide leaving first but made that same solid run, and clocked great at a 13.86. She is holding strong at sixth in the average. If I were Nellie, I’d try to keep making those same solid runs, hopefully place in the last two rounds, and try to keep moving up in the average for a nice check.

No. 15 Molly Otto

Charmayne’s take: Molly and Chewy got by first a little but ran a good time and they’re eighth in that average as well so she just needs to keep it up.