The 2023 NFR Barrel Racing Field Will Be Finalized at Sioux Falls—See Who’s Entered.

It's not if—it's how much— the money at the 2023 Governor's Cup will change the WPRA World Standings as the 2023 regular season ends.
Paige Jones Barrel Racing
Paige Jones. Phil Kitts/Avid Visual Imagery.

Unofficially, the 2023 NFR barrel racing field is going to be finalized and determined based off of 12 barrel racers’ performances at the Sioux Falls Governor’s Cup on September 28-30.

Why? Here’s the updated payout for the 2023 Governor’s cup:

Rounds 1, 2 (Thursday, Friday)

  1. $10,000
  2. $7,500
  3. $5,000
  4. $2,500

All 12 barrel racers will run in the first two rounds of competition. On Saturday, September 30, the top eight in the aggregate will advance to a clean-slate eight-man round. The top four from that round will come back again for a four-man shootout.

Final Four Round (Saturday)

  1. $25,000
  2. $19,000
  3. $12,000
  4. $6,000

We haven’t forgotten your question: Here’s the list of ladies entered in Sioux Falls versus the current WPRA World Standings.

1Brittany Pozzi TonozziLampasas, TX$246,882.5477ENTERED
2Jordon BriggsTolar, TX$160,522.6129
3Lisa Lockhart (G)Oelrichs, SD$134,593.5554
4Kassie MowryDublin, TX$133,802.1728
5Taycie MatthewsWynne, AR$122,661.4076ENTERED
6Jessica RoutierBuffalo, SD$116,437.9653ENTERED
7Emily BeiselWeatherford, OK$112,880.8683ENTERED
8Ilyssa RileyHico, TX$110,265.5274
9Wenda JohnsonPawhuska, OK$107,983.6554ENTERED
10Sissy WinnChapman, TX$106,743.7569
11Hailey KinselCotulla, TX$105,775.7758ENTERED
12Stevi HillmanGranbury, TX$105,687.3277ENTERED
13Paige JonesWayne, OK$100,147.3151ENTERED
14Summer KoselGlenham, SD$97,996.1555ENTERED
15Sue Smith (G)Blackfoot, ID$97,392.3055ENTERED
16Sara WinkelmanBig Lake, MN$91,276.2098
17Ashley CastleberryMontgomery, TX$84,789.0493ENTERED
18Kelly AllenStephenville, TX$84,775.0597ENTERED

Take a deep breath, let’s unpack this.

Kelly Allen announced on social media last week that a downed barrel in Abilene, the last Playoff Series rodeo of the regular season, would end her hopes for an NFR qualification. However, what she didn’t bank on was Lisa Lockhart not entering Sioux Falls, and she picked up the final position. Ashley Castleberry has been entering deep since she started her rapid ascent up the standings in July. Her Southern rampage last week earned her nearly $10,000 to close the gap on NFR territory, while her second-place finish in Abilene, specifically, helped clinch her spot in the inaugural Governor’s Cup.

They may be around $13,000 out of the No. 15 position, but compared to the payouts at Sioux Falls, it’s not a long shot that either Castleberry or Allen could upset the bubble. Allen must capitalize as much as she can in South Dakota, because she’s popping up dangerously close to the 100 rodeo limit on the year at 97. Castleberry has seven total rodeos left, giving her more freedom to haul during the last 10 days of the regular season.

Meanwhile, things are just as cutthroat above the bubble. An incredible 13 women already banked over $100,000 each this year. Paige Jones is the last of the six-figure club in the standings and is currently seated No. 13. Jones and “Bazinga,” have been bopping around the top 15 all season long and managed to keep their count to 51 rodeos, giving them plenty of wiggle room to stay below the count, even with an end-of-season push. However, this is something that the No. 14 and 15 positons also share.

No. 14 cowgirl Summer Kosel and her gelding, Apollo have notched wins in arenas like Sikeston, Missouri, and were the first team to break their own arena record in Cheyenne and clock in the 16-second range. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean she’s close to safe. No. 15 lady, Sue Smith may be the eldest competitor in the field, but she’s as cutthroat as any. She popped up in top 15 territory after banking nearly $25,000 in two weeks in July, then she won the Cheyenne Frontier Days, setting an arena record in the process. Smith doesn’t have the want to haul excessively, but a setup and format like Sioux Falls is just the kind of thing that could play into the Idaho lady’s hand.