Professional barrel racer Emily Miller-Beisel owned round No. 5 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo barrel racing at Thomas & Mack Center arena in Las Vegas, Nev., on Mon., Dec. 6. Riding her 11-year-old gray gelding Namgis D 33 (“Chongo”), Miller-Beisel stopped the clock in 13.43 seconds—the fastest time of the 2021 NFR—and banked $26,997. A Women’s Professional Rodeo Association career earner of $535,317, Miller-Beisel has added $59,640 to that total so far here in Las Vegas. With five of the 10 NFR go rounds under her belt, Miller-Beisel is ranked seventh in the average and has racked up $59,640 in NFR earnings. She is fourth overall in the WPRA world standings with $133,113.
This year marks Miller-Beisel’s third consecutive Wrangler NFR qualification and the Weatherford, Okla., barrel racer is happy to be back in Las Vegas.
“It’s so good to be back here,” said Miller-Beisel. “When you grow up and you watch it on TV and see all your idols running here, this is your dream. There’s just not another feeling really like it.”
Miller-Beisel’s horse of a lifetime, Chongo, is sired by Bucks Hancock Dude and out of Track Goddess. Of the run she and Chongo put together to win the round, Miller-Beisel felt that several variables, including a great draw and fully functioning headgear, made it possible.
“He was dialed in,” she said. “He’s turning really hard this week; the ground is so good. We were second out tonight, which is the best draw we’re going to have over the 10 days, so I knew this was my best chance. We’re winning checks at the bottom of the ground too, but I knew tonight was the night to throw down and really go for it. He’s been so sharp. A couple nights ago I had a little bit of a mishap. In the second round I had a bit malfunction turning the third barrel, and I didn’t know it until I looked at my photos afterwards. Both of the shanks were on the left side.”
Miller-Beisel has made some adjustments, including adding a string bit hobble to keep the bridle functioning correctly. While Miller-Beisel has full faith in Chongo that he could compete in all 10 rounds, she gave him round 3 off and ran Pipewrench (Namgis D35). On his day off, Miller-Beisel just eased Chongo around and reassured him.
“I took everything off my schedule Sunday and just went out and spent the day with him,” said Miller-Beisel. “I spent a lot of time just walking him, petting on him and loving on him, telling him ‘It’s okay, life’s good.’”
In turn, Chongo came back to the Thomas & Mack tonight and gave Miller-Beisel his heart—and a NFR round 5 record (previously a 13.46 by Carly (Pierce) Otero, 2011).
Miller-Beisel has a large crew of capable folks behind her supporting her efforts, to whom she extended sincere appreciation. Accompanying her in the alley each night is Darby Fox, who is here caring for Miller-Beisel’s horses.
Midway through the 2021 NFR, three-time WPRA World Champion and world standings leader Hailey Kinsel is sixth in the average with a lead of approximately $20,000 over second-place Dona Kay Rule. Brittany Pozzi-Tonozzi leads the average with a total on five of 68.82 seconds.
Follow Barrel Racing Magazine to stay up to speed on our coverage of all the great stories coming out of the 2021 Wrangler NFR. Catch our lengthier interview with Miller-Beisel on “The Money Barrel,” where she explains the new head gear she’s using along with the therapies that help keep Chongo firing on all cylinders.
National Finals Rodeo – Go Round 5 Results
- Emily Miller-Beisel, Namgis D33, 13.43, $26,996.97
- Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.53, $21,336.32
- Jordon Briggs, Famous Lil Jet, 13.54, $16,111.10
- Dona Kay Rule, High Valor, 13.57, $11,321.31
- Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Ima Famous Babe, 13.66, $6,966.96
- Wenda Johnson, MacGyver Moonflash, 13.68, $4,354.35