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.
“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
|2||$22,851.95||Dona Kay Rule||13.74|
|6||$4,663.50||Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi||13.87|
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 Ranking||Name||Hometown||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||$10k Bonus||Pre-NFR Earnings||Total NFR Earnings||Year Total|
|1||Jordon Briggs||Tolar, TX||$17,255||$7,462||$10,000||$177,779||$34,717||$212,496|
|5||Hailey Kinsel||Cotulla, TX||$28,914||$28,914||$10,000||$119,390||$67,827||$187,217|
|3||Wenda Johnson||Pawhuska, OK||$28,914||$17,255||$10,000||$121,594||$56,169||$177,763|
|2||Dona Kay Rule||Minco, OK||$4,664||$22,851||$10,000||$127,442||$37,515||$164,956|
|6||Shelley Morgan||Eustace, TX||$4,664||$12,125||$10,000||$110,461||$26,789||$137,250|
|4||Stevi Hillman||Granbury, TX||$10,000||$120,602||$10,000||$130,602|
|8||Margo Crowther||North Fort Myers, FL||$22,851||$10,000||$96,871||$32,851||$129,722|
|10||Kassie Mowry||Dublin, TX||$22,851||$10,000||$92,553||$32,851||$125,404|
|7||Sissy Winn||Chapman Ranch, TX||$7,462||$10,000||$101,848||$17,462||$119,310|
|15||Leslie Smalygo||Skiatook, OK||$12,125||$12,125||$10,000||$84,453||$34,250||$118,703|
|14||Lisa Lockhart||Oelrichs, SD||$17,255||$10,000||$84,871||$27,255||$112,126|
|9||Emily Beisel||Weatherford, OK||$7,462||$10,000||$93,965||$17,462||$111,426|
|12||Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi||Lampasas, TX||$4,664||$10,000||$88,432||$14,664||$103,095|
|11||Bayleigh Choate (R)||Fort Worth, TX||$10,000||$90,893||$10,000||$100,893|
|13||Jessica Routier||Buffalo, SD||$10,000||$86,863||$10,000||$96,863|