“I don’t think you’ll be able to wipe this smile off my face for a very, very long time,” said 16-time NFR qualifier Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi after her first National Finals Rodeo go-round win in over a decade.
“I don’t care what happens the rest of the NFR, this just made it for me,” Pozzi Tonozzi said. “The last time I won a round was on (Yeah Hes Firen) Duke, so that was super special. I’ve come back on several different horses, and they’ve been great horses, but I mean—it’s so dang hard to win a go-round here!”
Pozzi Tonozzi shared her thoughts in the alleyway to help convey to fans the feelings that she experiences in the Thomas & Mack.
“I don’t think people quite understand, when you’re sitting in that alleyway and you’re watching a 13.56, .57, you know, last night, a 13.4, and you’re just like—it’s amazing,” Pozzi Tonozzi said. “The horsepower, just, how much it’s changed since the last time I won a go-round. It’s really exciting. I shouldn’t have doubted Birdie, because she likes to prove me wrong.”
Babe On The Chase, “Birdie,” who was raised and trained by Pozzi Tonozzi and recently purchased by Teton Ridge, certainly proved she could hang with one of the Thomas & Mack’s elite contenders, Namgis D 33 “Chongo,” and Emily Beisel. The pair turned in a 13.57 that matched Pozzi Tonozzi’s to claim their second go-round win of the week.
“Chongo has won seven go-rounds for me in four years,” Beisel said. “That’s incredible. He’s spoiled me rotten.
Beisel continued to describe her appreciation for Chongo.
“To have a horse of his caliber is amazing,” Beisel said. “He’s such a huge blessing and I just don’t know how to thank him for what he does for me. He is a unicorn, for sure.
Much to fan’s dismay, Chongo was the only unicorn Beisel was invovled with in Round 6—she ditched the “lucky,” unicorn socks after a downed barrel cost her a 13.29-second run in Round 5.
“I’m riding a unicorn, so I figure that’s close enough,” Beisel said. “No socks tonight.”
Chongo set up hard on the third turn, just as he did in Round 5, but Beisel gritted it out and managed to slide the barrel and leave it standing. A bit of paternal advice helped her find the drive to get past it.
“My dad has a phrase” Beisel said. “He always tells me ‘To finish first, first you must finish.’ Tonight he said to me, “Why don’t you try to go for second? Sometimes if you go for second, you win.'”
Beisel was No. 14 on the draw, and although she trusted Randy Spraggs to keep Chongo and herself safe, even she was shocked at how well the bottom of the drag treated them.
“Tonight I said (to myself) ‘I just need to make sure I make a clean run and kind of get our confidence back so that we can get around three,” Beisel said. “Fortunately, he’s so fast, if I do my part and get him around three, he’s going to take care of the clock.”
World Standings and Aggregate Watch
The aggregate was shook up in a major way, as was the world standings race in Round 6. Lisa Lockhart was once solid once again to earn a fourth-place finish behind Resistol Rookie of the Year Bayleigh Choate. Her 13.64-second run on Promise Me Fame Guys, “Levee,” helped her jump from No. 4 to No. 3 in the world standings, a far cry from the No. 14 position she began the NFR in.
Lockhart now not only leads the aggregate, she has a commanding lead on the pack and is less than $40,000 out of the No. 1 position in the world. Jordon Briggs’ knocked third barrel knocked her out of No. 2 in the aggregate, and Lockhart’s 82.35 seconds on six runs is most closely challenged by Shelley Morgan’s 82.94 on six. Briggs isn’t out of world championship reach just yet—she trails leader Hailey Kinsel by just under $3,000, and holds down No. 6 in the aggregate with a time of 87.64 on six runs, while Kinsel’s downed second turn dropped her down to No. 11 in the aggregate.
NFR Round 6 Payout
|1/2||$25,882.42||Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi||13.57|