Groundhog Day? Hailey Kinsel and Sister Win Back-To-Back NFR Rounds

Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday made their second victory lap at the 2022 National Finals Rodeo during round 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada on the anniversary of their arena-record breaking third round win in 2017.
Hailey Kinsel barrel racing at the 2022 NFR.
Hailey Kinsel and Sister won round 3 of the 2022 NFR. Image by Ric Anderen/CBarC Photography

Five years ago, Hailey Kinsel won the third go-round of the 2017 National Finals Rodeo and set the arena record with a 13.11-second run, and on night three of the 2022 NFR, she made her way back to the winner’s circle.

On December 3, 2022, Kinsel was No. 1 with a 13.59-second run that was worth $28,913.70, and she didn’t get there by accident. She planned on making a great run.

“I knew I was top of the ground tonight, so I was thinking that this was a really good chance to capitalize,” Kinsel said. “But it’s been pretty even, so that doesn’t mean you can’t get beat at the bottom.”

Kinsel’s 24 hours after her round 2 win on December 2 were jam-packed. After receiving her go-round buckle at the South Point Hotel And Casino, Kinsel caught a few hours of sleep and was saddled and ready at the Thomas & Mack before 6:00 A.M. barrel practice, then had a busy afternoon that would roll right into round 3 preparation. However, she did take a short break from the hustle to rest up for the round between obligation.

Watch NFR Run Breakdowns on The Replay with Ivy Saebens

“Yeah, I don’t know what day it is,” Kinsel said with a laugh. “I took a heck of a nap today though, like a solid hour-and-a-half in the darkness of my hotel room, then I woke up feeling like it was the next day.”

If Kinsel’s deja vu in the warm-up pen seems, eerie, imagine living inside DM Sissy Hayday’s head. The world is a scary place for Sister at times, but luckily Shelley Morgan’s HR FameKissNTell, “Kiss,” who followed Kinsel in the running order, was there to be Sister’s emotional support.

“We call them anxiety buddies,” Kinsel said. “She was really still because she was by herself at the front. She didn’t want to go forward because there was a big, scary flag horse up there with a big, scary flag.”

Kinsel didn’t earn three gold buckles because she settles for good enough, and although she was elated with the run, she still found time left on the table.

“It really did feel awesome,” Kinsel said. “I mean, it still kind of felt like I shoved her into the third barrel and I got a little bit out of my outside stirrup. I just felt like I stepped off it a little more than I would like to, just to be perfect. But I mean, I can’t fault her for that. She’s not doing anything wrong.”

Kinsel knows that she can’t be clean on ten runs—she tipped the second barrel in the first round—but she’s still looking to earn a solid aggregate check with the potential of being clean and fast on nine. She thinks that Sister is in perfect form to get the job done.

“Right now I do need to try and run around the barrels,” Kinsel said. “She felt so smooth and easy. Right now she’s not like, cutting corners or anything like that. She’s just being very honest, feels super fresh in my hand—which is nice because I feel like we have a lot of runs to go and we’ve got plenty of time to get that way.”

Kinsel’s round win may have been impressive, but she had an unintended act of cowgirl heroism that may just outshine the buckle.

“Nobody realizes how dangerous (the grand entry) is,” Kinsel said. “Tonight I saved a life. Okay, so the flag girl. Her horse reared up and she slid off. She had ahold of the flag and reins and stayed on longer than I would have, but she slid off right next to me and the horse I was on is the most wonderful mare that just stood like a rock and trotted around her.”

What in the World?

The world standings race continues to build tension as each round progresses. Dona Kay Rule’s $22,851 second-place finish at draw 13 on the ground in round 3 proved that she’s not giving up her world standings hold without a fight. Wenda Johnson had a solid run at No. 15 on the dirt to be out of the money, but held onto her aggregate lead with a time of 41.30 on three runs. Jordon Briggs sits No. 2 in the aggregate with a time of 41.38 on three, but slid into a fifth-place finish on Famous Lil Jet, “Rollo,” with a 13.86-second run, adding an immediate $7,461 to her total.

NFR Round 3 Payout

1$28,913.70Hailey Kinsel13.59
2$22,851.95Dona Kay Rule13.74
3$17,254.95Lisa Lockhart13.78
4$12,125.10Shelley Morgan13.8
5$7,461.60Jordon Briggs13.86
6$4,663.50Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi13.87

Here’s how things unofficially shape up in the world race after night three and who has cashed in at the NFR so far.

Pre-NFR RankingNameHometownRound 1Round 2Round 3$10k BonusPre-NFR EarningsTotal NFR EarningsYear Total 
1Jordon BriggsTolar, TX$17,255$7,462$10,000$177,779$34,717$212,496
5Hailey KinselCotulla, TX$28,914$28,914$10,000$119,390$67,827$187,217
3Wenda JohnsonPawhuska, OK$28,914$17,255$10,000$121,594$56,169$177,763
2Dona Kay RuleMinco, OK$4,664$22,851$10,000$127,442$37,515$164,956
6Shelley MorganEustace, TX$4,664$12,125$10,000$110,461$26,789$137,250
4Stevi HillmanGranbury, TX$10,000$120,602$10,000$130,602
8Margo CrowtherNorth Fort Myers, FL$22,851$10,000$96,871$32,851$129,722
10Kassie MowryDublin, TX$22,851$10,000$92,553$32,851$125,404
7Sissy WinnChapman Ranch, TX$7,462$10,000$101,848$17,462$119,310
15Leslie SmalygoSkiatook, OK$12,125$12,125$10,000$84,453$34,250$118,703
14Lisa LockhartOelrichs, SD$17,255$10,000$84,871$27,255$112,126
9Emily BeiselWeatherford, OK$7,462$10,000$93,965$17,462$111,426
12Brittany Pozzi TonozziLampasas, TX$4,664$10,000$88,432$14,664$103,095
11Bayleigh Choate (R)Fort Worth, TX$10,000$90,893$10,000$100,893
13Jessica RoutierBuffalo, SD$10,000$86,863$10,000$96,863