Cash Quest: New Names in Play for 2022 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Qualification

Barrel racers in a heated quest for top ranking in the 2022 Women's Professional Rodeo Association World Standings cashed in across the nation over the Fourth of July run.
Rookie Bayleigh Choate dominated at the Ponoka Stampede where she won the lion's share of her $26,267.

From the start of Reno Rodeo, held June 17-25, during the frenzied few weeks before the Fourth of July run concluded, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association athletes capitalized on lucrative World Standings earnings opportunities. A few new faces emerged among the familiar top 15 veterans, all of whom crisscrossed the country in heated quests to pad their 2022 WPRA World Standings earnings.

In 2021, it took $64,172.51 to be among the top 15 qualified to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. What it will take this season we’re not certain but with 87 days remaining in the regular season, time is ticking and things are getting real in a hurry.

Holding down the No. 1 spot in the World Standings is defending World Champ Jordon Briggs whose $18,465 over the Fourth riding “Rollo” (Famous Lil Jet) has her on-pace at $125,136 with a healthy $45,759 lead over No. 2 Wenda Johnson. Johnson’s $12,926 in Cowboy Christmas cash bumped her up one spot from 3rd. Johnson is bound for the Calgary Stampede where she’s slated to run in Pool B. Hailey Kinsel is 3rd in the World, while Sissy Winn’s $10,978 Fourth anchored her solidly at No. 4. Bayleigh Choate’s $26,267 run of Canadian rodeos over Fourth of July moved her from No. 12 in the World up seven spots to No. 5 with $63,512 thanks to equine partners “Dash” (Hail To Be Famous) and “Boozer” (TJR Stinson Blue). This Rookie is for real and is an odds-on favorite to be in Vegas come December. Choate’s also put $25,663 between herself and fellow Resistol Rookie of the Year contender Taycie Matthews.

| READ Rookie Tips: Taking Horses to Canada, with Bayleigh Choate

In hot pursuit of her seventh NFR appearance, Stevi Hillman earned $16,275 by the end of the the holiday weekend for $61,362. Hillman moved up one spot from 7th thanks to winning Oakley (Utah) aboard the 6-year-old standout Famous Lemon Drop. Placing at Greeley (Colorado), Livingston (Montana) and West Jordan (Utah) for $5,674, Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi holds strong at No. 7, while Dona Kay Rule earned some cash in Canada to own No. 8.

Shelley Morgan and HR FameKissAndTell (“Kiss”) banked $20,868 between Greeley and St. Paul (Oregon) to amass $55,696, which moved her up four spots to No. 9 from 13th.

| READ Fab Fourth: Shelley Morgan Wins Fourth Greeley Stampede Barrel Racing Title

Michelle Darling and “Martini” (Morning Traffic) won in Molalla, Oregon, for $3,407. The Reno Rodeo champ is 10th in the World. Shannon McReynolds is holding strong at No. 11, while veteran NFR qualifiers Cheyenne Wimberley and Emily Beisel rank 12th and 13th, respectively.

| READ Spurred to Victory: Michelle Darling Scores Reno Rodeo’s Silver Spurs

Earning $13,176, Paige Jones moved up an impressive 10 spots from No. 24 to 14 with $41,949, while 2021 Resistol Rookie of the Year Kylee Scribner banked $12,867 for $41,845. Scribner came from 23rd before Fourth of July earnings were calculated to move to the coveted No. 15 spot in the World with $41,769. Sitting just outside the top 15 with $38,966 is Black Hills Roundup Champion Kassie Mowry—a perennial leading rider who can never ever be counted out of contention when any title, anywhere is on the line.

Making the biggest move of the standings shuffle was Leslie Smalygo. During the first perf of the 103rd Cody Stampede on Friday, July 1, Smalygo took an early lead with her time of 17.04 seconds—a lead that was not to be relinquished for a win that helped catapult the Skiatook, Oklahoma, cowgirl from No. 35 to 18. Smalygo headed out with $22,586 and by the time her Cowboy Christmas money was tallied she’d added $13,801 for a total of $36,308. 

Leslie Smalygo rode Justaheartbeattafame, “Gus,” to a time of 17.04 to top the Cody Stampede. Photograph by Hailey Rae Photography

➡️ Watchlist:

  • BryAnna Haluptzok moved from 31st to 24th.
  • The St. Paul Rodeo win took Katie Pascoe from 42nd to 26th.
  • Cheyenne Hatteson won Prescott (Arizona) to move from No. 32 to 29.
  • Steely Steiner moved up five spots from No. 37 to 32.
St. Paul Rodeo Champion Katie Pascoe is making big standings moves. Photograph by Lawless Photography

2022 ProRodeo World Standings (July 6, 2022)

1Jordon BriggsTolar, TX$125,135.9718
2Wenda JohnsonPawhuska, OK$79,377.2917
3Hailey KinselCotulla, TX$74,967.7225
4Sissy WinnChapman Ranch, TX$69,145.6940
5Bayleigh Choate (R)Fort Worth, TX$63,512.3455
6Stevi HillmanWeatherford, TX$61,362.1530
7Brittany Pozzi TonozziLampasas, TX$60,344.8025
8Dona Kay RuleMinco, OK$60,117.9915
9Shelley MorganEustace, TX$55,696.4137
10Michelle DarlingMedford, OK$47,179.0625
11Shannon McReynoldsLa Luz, NM$45,174.7228
12Emily BeiselWeatherford, OK$44,290.9540
13Cheyenne Wimberley (G)Stephenville, TX$43,204.1737
14Paige JonesWayne, OK$41,948.6830
15Kylee ScribnerAzle, TX$41,768.7341
16Kassie MowryDublin, TX$38,965.9910
17Taycie Matthews (R)Wynne, AR$37,848.9540
18Leslie SmalygoSkiatook, OK$36,308.4227
19Lisa LockhartOelrichs, SD$35,713.7235
20Nellie MillerCottonwood, CA$35,430.5019