“Where did she come from?”
“What horse was that?”
If you found yourself asking any of these questions after 21-year-old BryAnna Haluptzok dominated the Great Lakes Circuit Finals (GLCF) held this past weekend in Louisville, Kentucky’s Freedom Hall then you’re not alone. The Tenstrike, Minn., resident turned in the fastest time of the event running 12th on the ground in round one, tied the second-round win with her younger cousin, 2021 GLC Rookie Champion Austyn Tobey, and finished second in the final around to capture the average win by three tenths with a total of 46.12 seconds on three runs. An impressive $9,506 in earnings helped Haluptzok rocket up the 2021 Great Lakes Circuit standings from the No. 12 position to No. 3, as well as secure a trip to the 2022 NFR Open in July and move to No. 1 in the 2022 WPRA World Standings.
So, who is BryAnna Haluptzok? The baby-faced champion has managed to fly under the radar since she came on the professional rodeo scene. Haluptzok grew up showing in Western pleasure and in 4-H. Tobey helped introduce Haluptzok to the sport of barrel racing and she won her first race at age 16. Once she turned 18, Haluptzok became a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association member and hasn’t looked back. She credits her longtime mentor and coach Jane Melby with much of her success in the arena.
A relatively quiet WPRA Rookie season in 2019 was followed by an equally low-key qualification to the GLCF in 2020. Haluptzok attended seven rodeos in 2020 and finished in the No. 11 position in the Great Lakes Circuit. In 2021, she attended just 12 regular season rodeos and qualified in the No. 12 position to the GLCF with the lowest rodeo count of all the finalists.
“I knew that I had to go to a minimum of 11 rodeos to make my circuit count in order to be eligible for the Finals,” Haluptzok said. “So, I looked at the schedule and picked out the rodeos that I thought my horses would excel in, ground- and size-wise. I also looked at money added.”
Haluptzok claims that luck was on her side, but her rock-solid strategy hints otherwise. At the larger rodeos, she used her faithful black mare, Perks Pizazz. “Betty,” is a 2010 model by the great Dash For Perks and out of a proven daughter of On A High. She chose to run Mr. Cool Eddie, a son of Eddie Stinson whom she calls “Eddie,” at the lesser added money rodeos. Haluptzok did not plan on Eddie being the standout that he was this year, due to the limited seasoning that he had when she purchased him in the summer.
“I thought that I was just going to have to accept that I’d need to season him. Well, he proved me wrong,” Haluptzok said, describing her first few runs on the sorrel gelding.
Haluptzok expected the larger, outdoor setups to challenge Eddie, but he started placing in tricky setups by the team’s second run. Eddie proved himself as the season went on, and his love for smaller arenas with harder ground, paired with his honest running style made him the perfect choice for Haluptzok in Louisville.
A wide first barrel didn’t stop Haluptzok from turning in a 14.32 in the opening round of the GLCF.
“I told myself, ‘Just keep going!’ because he’s probably the fastest horse I’ve ever ridden, so he can still place with a wide first barrel. He completely shocked me by winning the round and running the fastest time of the finals,” she said.
In round two, they cleaned things up to tie for the round win once again. The young competitor almost let her nerves get the best of her in the third round but reassured herself to stay focused and let Eddie do his job.
“You’re on an honest horse. He isn’t going to knock a barrel unless you pull him into one,” is the statement Haluptzok said she repeated to herself before her run. This helped her to not only keep the barrels standing, but breeze into a second-place finish behind past National Finals Rodeo qualifier Lacinda Rose.
The Minnesota cowgirl knew that she had won a large sum of money at the GLCF but hadn’t done the math on the WPRA world standings on her 15-hour drive home from Louisville. Haluptzok says she had an emotional moment with her family after fellow competitor Ivy Hurst shared a simple message with her on her Facebook page: “No. 1 in the world! How cool is that?” on Monday morning.
Haluptzok understands there are many rodeos left in the 2022 season, but her fire has been ignited for the upcoming year. She will be spending time in Oklahoma after the holidays to escape the harsh Minnesota weather and plans on entering the winter rodeos thanks to her position in the 2022 standings.
“My plan is to winter rodeo this year since I have a good start. After that, I’m just going to take it rodeo by rodeo and see how the season goes,” she explained.
You may not have known this cowgirl’s name before the GLCF, but we have a feeling that BryAnna Haluptzok isn’t going anywhere.
Click Here to watch Haluptzok’s GLCF runs.
Great Lakes Circuit Finals Go Round Winners
Great Lakes Circuit Finals – Louisville, Ky., Nov. 11-13
Round 1: 1. BryAnna Haluptzok, 15.32 seconds, $2,305; 2. Kricket Gintner, 15.49, $1,728; 3. Austyn Tobey, 15.58, $1,152; 4. Lacinda Rose, 15.61, $576;
Round 2: 1/2. BryAnna Haluptzok, 15.37 seconds, $2,016; 1/2. Austyn Tobey, 15.37, $2,016; 3/4. Alyssa Gabrielson, 15.49, $864; 3/4. Lacinda Rose, 15.49, $864;
Round 3: 1. Lacinda Rose, 15.39 seconds, $2,305; 2. BryAnna Haluptzok, 15.43, $1,728; 3. Alyssa Gabrielson, 15.60, $1,152; 4. Kricket Gintner, 15.74, $576;
Average: 1. BryAnna Haluptzok, 46.12 seconds on three runs, $3,457; 2. Lacinda Rose, 46.49, $2,593; 3. Alyssa Gabrielson, 46.86, $1,728; 4. Kristen Meyer, 47.67, $864.
Final 2021 Great Lakes Circuit Standings
- Kricket Gintner, Eau Claire, Wisc., $24,652, 27 rodeos
- Lacinda Rose, Willard, Mo., 24,652, 27
- Bryanna Haluptzok, Tenstrike, Minn., $15,285, 13
- Alyssa Gabrielson, Perham, Minn., $11,646, 14
- Austyn Tobey (R), Bemidji, Minn., $9,135, 24
- Shelby Janssen, Austin, Minn., $8,520, 27
- Kristen Meyer (G), Clintonville, Wisc., $8,265, 24
- Sissy Warren, Glenwood, Ia., $6,543, 23
- Anna Cate Clayman (R), Naylor, Mo., $6,381, 20
- Stephanie McCready, Marshalltown, Ia., $6,149, 24
- Ronda Casey, Plymouth, Ind., $6,118, 16
- Sara Winkelman (R), Big Lake, Minn., $5,780, 16