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)
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)
We haven’t forgotten your question: Here’s the list of ladies entered in Sioux Falls versus the current WPRA World Standings.
|1||Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi||Lampasas, TX||$246,882.54||77||ENTERED|
|2||Jordon Briggs||Tolar, TX||$160,522.61||29|
|3||Lisa Lockhart (G)||Oelrichs, SD||$134,593.55||54|
|4||Kassie Mowry||Dublin, TX||$133,802.17||28|
|5||Taycie Matthews||Wynne, AR||$122,661.40||76||ENTERED|
|6||Jessica Routier||Buffalo, SD||$116,437.96||53||ENTERED|
|7||Emily Beisel||Weatherford, OK||$112,880.86||83||ENTERED|
|8||Ilyssa Riley||Hico, TX||$110,265.52||74|
|9||Wenda Johnson||Pawhuska, OK||$107,983.65||54||ENTERED|
|10||Sissy Winn||Chapman, TX||$106,743.75||69|
|11||Hailey Kinsel||Cotulla, TX||$105,775.77||58||ENTERED|
|12||Stevi Hillman||Granbury, TX||$105,687.32||77||ENTERED|
|13||Paige Jones||Wayne, OK||$100,147.31||51||ENTERED|
|14||Summer Kosel||Glenham, SD||$97,996.15||55||ENTERED|
|15||Sue Smith (G)||Blackfoot, ID||$97,392.30||55||ENTERED|
|16||Sara Winkelman||Big Lake, MN||$91,276.20||98|
|17||Ashley Castleberry||Montgomery, TX||$84,789.04||93||ENTERED|
|18||Kelly Allen||Stephenville, TX||$84,775.05||97||ENTERED|
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.