Kalli McCall’s vision of winning the 2023 Resistol Rookie of the Year in the barrel racing came true with a grand total of $37,409 earned throughout the year.
For the 20-year-old college student from Lufkin, Texas, it was a hard-fought victory.
The road to the Rookie
McCall started the year with a No. 2 finish at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, worth a total of $6,696. She was riding “Mohawk,” her gelding registered as Dr Nicks Cash. With his push-style moves, he fit buildings like Denver perfectly.
In May, McCall and Mohawk won the Resistol Rookie Roundup in Fort Worth, worth $3,656.
At that time, McCall was preparing herself for the rollercoaster that could make or break her 2023 season, whether she was aware of it or not. She and Mohawk had gone through all stages of life together at that point, but she knew he would struggle on the summer run.
“I’m just trying to stay focused and keep pushing, because I know that God’s going to send me the right (horse) when I need it in the right timing,” McCall said back in May. “I’m just going to be patient.”
As fate would have it, though, when Mohawk went out in July with a front suspensory injury, forcing McCall’s hand. She had purchased a mare for the big, outdoor pens out West, but the marriage wasn’t perfect, so she was left scrambling for another horse. Her new partner came in July—a mare aptly named “Dyna” for her explosive athleticism in a small package.
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“Dyna became my number one horse,” McCall said. “I bought her from Shayna Weir and finished the rest of the season out on her. You would never think she could run a lick because of her size, but she can run. She’s the most honest and consistent mare I’ve ever stepped on. She was exactly what I needed for this summer. She’s so cool. You can run her in any setup, ground, situation.”
Kalli McCall’s biggest Rookie checks
- National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, Denver, $6,696
- Strathmore Stampede, Alberta, $5,857
- Resistol Rookie Roundup, Fort Worth, $3,656
- American Royal Rodeo, Kansas City, Missouri, $2,417
- Owyhee County Rodeo, Homedale, Idaho, $1,714
McCall didn’t win first at a ProRodeo throughout theseason—save the Rookie Roundup—but explained she was cutting herself some slack because of the horse change.
“I was winning checks on Dyna, so that was enough to keep me going,” McCall said.
The 2023 Resistol Rookie race in WPRA barrel racing was a fight to the end. McCall pulled ahead at the tail end of the season, but cutthroat competitor Rainey Skelton was hot on her heels, finished the season with a total of $29,990 thanks to her September hot streak. The third Texas lady in the lineup, Victoria Procter held the lead through the spring and summer months and totaled the year with $23,020 after the rodeo road beat up her mental and physical game. The lone Canadian, Saskatchewan’s Karli Cowle, held down a fourth-place finish with $21,777, and another Texan, Grace Gardiner rounded out the top five with a surplus of $21,505.
Full steam ahead for McCall
Now that the dust has settled on her 2023 run, McCall is already hot on the trail for 2024. She purchased a 10-year-old mare “Daisy” to flesh out her string, since Mohawk is still out with some front-end lameness issues.
“Daisy is very different from Dyna, and definitely keeps me on my toes,” McCall said with a laugh. “I’m trying to go as much as I can that count for the 2024. I’m trying to get into the buildings because I feel like that’s really what sets you up for a good year and I didn’t have that advantage last year. My goal in 2024 is to make the NFR.”
McCall currently has the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo in her crosshairs, as well as the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver. With her No. 45 finish in the 2023 World Standings, it remains to be seen if she’ll make the cut for some of the other winter rodeos.
About the Resistol Rookie of the Year Award
McCall will be honored alongside her fellow Resistol Rookies of the Year at the South Point Hotel & Casino on Dec. 12, 2023, during the ninth annual luncheon. There, the Rookies will receive trophy saddles and personalized Resistol hats, among other prizes.
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Resistol has supported the Rookie of the Year award since its inception. The Rookie of the Year title was first awarded in the WPRA in 1967 to barrel racer Patti Mack-Prather, and the PRCA began consistently awarding the title in 1977.