On Saturday, Jan. 20, Texas cowgirls Halyn Lide and Hailey Kinsel became co-champions of the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver, kicking their 2024 winter rodeo barrel racing seasons off on the right foot.
Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday, “Sister,” rocked the NWSSR coliseum during her second trip to Denver every chance she had. The Cotulla, Texas, lady kicked off her bracket at the tail end of the progressive round by setting an arena record—on the 2024 pattern, which measured up just a few feet shorter than in previous years—in 14.63 seconds. She then returned to clock a 14.78 in Round 2 to clock the fastest in her performance once again and lead Bracket 7 to the Semifinals. In the overall placings, Kinsel won the first round of the tournament across all eight brackets, earning $3,667, then split sixth in the second round, worth $1,036.
On Saturday, Kinsel’s 13.84 earned $2,126 for a second-place finish and earned her a spot in Sunday’s Finals. The $4,257 she and Lide both won put her Denver earnings to a totaled $11,086.
Kinsel’s return to Denver in 2024 after a four-year hiatus from NWSSR wasn’t by chance.
“I came back because of the dirt,” Kinsel said. “After watching it last year, I said ‘Okay, I can come back.’ Little did I know, (NWSSR) hired a new tractor driver in 2022, and he’s been able to work with that ground and get it great. I’m so impressed with how much they’ve improved it.”
The four-time world champion has never been scared to make bold statements regarding ProRodeo events, and she let BarrelRacing.com know she’s going to help push the committee to commit even further to great ground conditions, recommending a drag halfway through the 12-woman in the future to advocate for not only Sister, but other barrel racers and their equine counterparts.
- Gold Buckle Reflections and Life in Barrel Racing’s Spotlight, with Hailey Kinsel
- Hailey Kinsel’s Hot Mare Summer
- Hailey Kinsel and Jules Master the Cowtown Coliseum First Barrel to Win WRWC Barrel Racing Semifinals
Wait….did Denver pay more money to barrel racers this year? It sure did. See how much NWSSR’s added money increased in 2024.
Halyn Lide may be a less recognizable name on the ProRodeo trail, but WCRA fans have been watching this cowgirl bank thousands each year at co-sanctioned events. The China Spring, Texas, mom and barrel horse trainer decided to try her hand at the 2024 winter rodeos after earning her way in by her top 30 ranking in the 2023 WPRA World Standings. She clocked a 14.78 and 14.99, respectively, in the first two rounds of her bracket to finish first and third in the performances. Her first paycheck for $709 came in Saturday’s Semifinals, where she grabbed the final qualifying spot in a tough bracket that saw Tessa Arnold’s 14.50 top Kinsel’s arena record and Lide’s 14.84 finish fourth. When the chips were down, Lide stayed ultra-consistent, which paid off in the Finals by way of $4,257, bringing her overall event earnings to $4,966.
“I don’t win every day, so that’s kind of fun,” Lide said after the win.
The 12-year-old gelding, Jettin Ta Heaven, known as “Keeper,” has lived up to Lide’s expectations, and more. His dam, Zeros Gypsy Jet carried Lide through wins in high school and college, until an injury cut her career short. Around the same time, Lide was watching young stallion JL Dash Ta Heaven light up futurity, then derby competitions. She decided she had to have one of his progeny, and the next year, Lide’s foal was on the ground.
“My husband started him at 2,” Lide explained. “He told me ‘I think this one’s a keeper,” so we started calling him Keeper.”
A decade later and Keeper is still around, making Lide and her family’s dreams into reality. Looking ahead, Lide will be taking Keeper and another JL Dash Ta Heaven down the road to see if they can continue to have ProRodeo success in 2024.
- Halyn Lide and Keeper Clinch Spot in WCRA Days of ‘47 Gold Medal Round With Third Performance Win
- Halyn Lide Keeps Forward Motion Straight to WCRA Showdown Round
- Halyn Lide and Keeper Keep Winning in Corpus Christi, Earn $17,800
Listen to the full interview with Lide and Kinsel on this week’s episode of The Rundown. Looking for full NWSSR event results? Click here.