In their rigorous pursuit of a coveted spot among the Top 15 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers, ladies of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association have relied on combining the proven racing and performance bloodlines to create the best barrel racing bloodlines of the horses that carried them to success. There’s not an elite level barrel racer in the world who doesn’t understand that they’re only as good as the horses beneath them, and here we track some commonalities that exist among the equine superstars that can indeed be labeled as “uncommon” for their freakish athleticism, heart and try.
Below we take a cursory look at which pedigrees fans can expect to see and celebrate when the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo returns to Las, Vegas, Nevada, December 2-11, 2021.
No. 1 Hailey Kinsel – DM Sissy Hayday, “Sister”
Famous for his versatility, Sister’s sire PC Frenchmans Hayday (“Dinero”), was voted third overall as 2005 AQHA/PRCA Heeling Horse of the Year and helped Sherry Cervi win third in the barrel racing average that same year. Potter Ranch’s PC Frenchmans Hayday (Sun Frost x Caseys Charm x Tiny Circus) is a full brother to the late, great French Flash Hawk (“Bozo”).
Sister’s dam, Royal Sissy Irish, had four outs on the racetrack earning one second-place check of $759 (according to Equibase). The 2004 bay mare by Royal Shake Em and out of Thats Sissie Baby by Lazbuddie is among the top-producing broodmares in barrel racing thanks to Sister’s prowess. Kinsel heads into her fifth consecutive NFR in pursuit of her fourth WPRA World Championship with the 2011 palomino mare who benefited from backup by the stalwart 2004 gelding Thunder Stones, as well as the Mighty Jess sired speedster DH Jess Stellar.
No. 2 Jordon Briggs – Famous Lil Jet, “Rollo”
The interconnectedness of Briggs and NFR barrel racing history is undeniable as rodeo records riddle her family history, as well as that of her horses. Briggs’ mother is barrel racing icon Kristie Peterson, whose beloved Bozo brought industry-changing notoriety to his three-quarter brother Frenchmans Guy (Sun Frost x Frenchmans Lady x Laughing Boy) as a barrel horse sire.
Briggs’ No. 1 mount, Famous Lil Jet, “Rollo,” is by Dash Ta Fame, and out of the powerhouse daughter of Blazin JetOlena, Blazin Black Beauty. Blazin Black Beauty is out of the great Lady Perks, the 2004 Barrel Futurities of America reserve world champion and earner of more than $250,000 herself. Not only is Rollo barrel racing royalty, the 2021 AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year has proven his versatility with Briggs’ husband Justin as a money-earner in the American Rope Horse Futurity Association on multiple occasions.
Briggs hauled a special backup horse with her on the summer run in 2015 BFA Juvenile Futurity Champion Frenchmans Future. The 2011 mare by Frenchmans Guy, out of the Stoli daughter Sixes Future, returned to competition following several years in Briggs’ broodmare band.
Briggs finished out the 2021 regular season riding mom Kristie’s 2015 gelding Look Judge (JD Look x Froghollow Judy x Judge Cash) to fulfill her Texas Circuit rodeo count, winning the Stockyards Pro Rodeo held Sept. 11 with “Billy.”
No. 3 Shelley Morgan – HR Famekissandtell
Sired by CEO (Bugged With Honor x Imafasterdancer x Shoot Yeah) HR FameKissAndTell is out of the Dash Ta Fame daughter Fames Fiery Kiss. Dash Ta Fame appears no less than seven times on the maternal side of the NFR pedigrees reviewed for this report. It’s no surprise that Dash Ta Fame appears six times on the paternal side as well.
Morgan’s backup is the 7-year-old mare Kinda Heavenly. Her sire JL Dash Ta Heaven is owned by Whitmire Ranch and was bred by the late leading breeder Jud Little. JL Dash Ta Heaven was an NFR qualifier himself with Benette Little and is out of the WPRA World Champion Dynas Plain Special.
No. 4 Dona Kay Rule – High Valor, “Valor”
Valiant Hero (First Down Dash x Corona Chick x Chicks Beduino), a multiple graded stakes winner of more than $668,000 (Equibase), is Valor’s sire. The prolific First Down Dash appears no less than 11 times on the paternal side of NFR horse pedigrees we researched, and another 10 times on the maternal side. Valor’s dam Rare High by Rare Form was also an earner of more than $30,000 (Equibase) on the track.
No. 5 Jessica Routier – Fiery Miss West, “Missy”
Owned and bred by Gary Westergren, Fiery Miss West is by the late Firewater Frenchman and out of Frenchmans Bo Dashus, by Royal Quick Dash. Firewater Frenchman was sired by the legendary Fire Water Flit and out of the only full sister to Bozo, PCFrenchmansLisbet.
No. 6 Cheyenne Wimberley – KN Fabs Mist Of Fame, “Misty;” VQ Sucker Punch, “Rocco,” and Dash Ta Suz, “Smooch”
A well-stocked arsenal of impeccably bred horses helped Wimberley make her fifth trip to the Finals.
Fun Maternal Fact: Interestingly and not coincidentally, KN Fabs Mist Of Fame, owned by Robin Weaver, and Ivy Saebens’ mount KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, owned by Kenny Nichols and Dale Barron, are full siblings—a testament to the magic of Frenchmans Fabulous crossed on the blue hen mare Mistys Dash Of Fame. The 1996 sorrel mare Mistys Dash Of Fame (Dash Ta Fame x Misty Blurr x Murrtheblurr (TB)) is among the top-ranked barrel racing broodmares of all time.
Wimberley also rode a pair of Dash Ta Fame sired horses, the 10-year-old gelding VQ Sucker Punch, “Rocco,” and 10-year-old mare Dash Ta Suz, “Smooch.”
No. 7 Amanda Welsh – Frenchman Fire Fly, “Firefly”
Bred by her parents, Bob and Peggy Welsh, Amanda Welsh’s home-trained Frenchman Fire Fly carried the load, capably representing their B-P Quarter Horses breeding program.
No. 8 Nellie Miller – Rafter W Minnie Reba, “Sister,” and Rebas Cash, “Cowboy”
The 2017 WPRA World Champion and million-dollar cowgirl rode her home-bred and -trained 2008 blue roan mare Rafter W Minnie Reba, as well as her 10-year-old full brother Rebas Cash, “Cowboy,” as her back-up.
No. 9 Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi – Babe On The Chase, “Birdie,” and Rock On Guys, “Lefty”
The two-time WPRA World Champion (2006-2007) and 15-time NFR qualifier bred and raised both of her main horses. Babe On The Chase, “Birdie,” now owned by Teton Ridge Ranch, was backed up by Rock On Guys, a 4-year-old futurity colt sired by Pozzi-Tonozzi’s stallion A Guy With Proof.
No. 10 Emily Miller Beisel – Namgis D 33, “Chongo;” Namgis D 56, “Foxy,” Biddin On Fame, “Beau,” and Namgis D 35 “Pipewrench”
Going into her fourth NFR Beisel will rely on four solid mounts, three of which represent the Hondo, Texas-based Namgis Quarter Horses bloodline.
The 11-year-old gray gelding Namgis D 33, “Chongo,” is sired by Bucks Hancock Dude and out of Track Goddess. Chongo is backed up by Namgis D 56, “Foxy,” a 9-year-old mare also by Bucks Hancock Dude and out of Central Station. Foxy and Namgis D 35, “Pipewrench,” are full siblings. Biddin On Fame, “Beau,” is an 8-year-old sorrel gelding by PC Frosty Bid and out of Jaxsons Olympic Fame.
No. 11 Stevi Hillman – Cuatro Fame, “Truck,” and Famous Lemon Drop, “Lemon Drop”
Hillman heads to her sixth NFR with veteran 14-year-old gelding Cuatro Fame, “Truck,” 2020 champion of RFD-TV’s The American. Hillman has also relied heavily this season on the 5-year-old palomino mare Famous Lemon Drop by freshman NFR sire First Down French.
No. 12 Ivy Saebens – KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, “J-Lo”
KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, owned by Kenny Nichols and Dale Barron, teams with Saebens for her fifth trip to the NFR. The team of Saebens and J-Lo were the 2019 WPRA Reserve World Champions and NFR Champions.
No. 13. Wenda Johnson – MacGyver Moonflash, “Mac” and Steal Money
Taking Johnson to her second NFR is the team of First Moonflash sired speedsters. The 8-year-old bay gelding MacGyver Moonflash and the 5-year-old Steal Money are both owned by Tres Mesa Horses.
No. 14 Lisa Lockhart – Rosas Cantina CC, “Rosa;” Prime Diamond, “Cutter,” and Promise Me Fame Guys, “Levee”
For her 15th trip to the NFR Lockhart relies on three standout equine athletes. The 11-year-old buckskin mare “Rosa” and 10-year-old black gelding “Cutter” are two that Lockhart has run under the bright Vegas lights before, but “Levee” is a newcomer to the string.
No. 15 Molly Otto – Teasin Dat Guy, “Chewy,” and Sixappeal, “Jimmy”
Molly Otto heads to her first NFR with Katie and Dustin Lindahl’s Teasin Dat Guy and Sixappeal.
For more on Otto, check out her story here:
Sixteen geldings and 15 mares appear on this list of NFR horses. Stay tuned for further analysis as we count down the days until the curtain opens on 2021 NFR festivities.