Hailey Kinsel led the field of WRWC Pro division barrel racers in the Semifinals round on Tuesday, May 17 with a 13.667-second run on DH Jess Stellar, earning a combined $3,400 for her efforts.
In the Qualifying round on Monday Kinsel turned in a 13.988-second run, a respectable, but not perfect run for “Jules.” The palomino mare by Mighty Jess and out of PC Frosted Stellar by Sun Frost is arguably one of the most deadly weapons of choice in Cowtown Coliseum, but Kinsel felt she was on the ratey side in the qualifying round. Kinsel—no stranger to mastering small coliseums—decided to switch up her game plan in the second round of competition.
“Tonight I just told myself to let her roll a little faster, knowing that she’s going to find her barrels and she’s going to work the turn,” Kinsel said.
Kinsel was calm in the alleyway before her run, holding the 9-year-old mare until she found the sweet spot to release and approach the first barrel.
“Every horse is different, but with Jules I feel like you just kind of take off in the middle of the alley and take a hard right partway down the pen—that’s a good angle for her,” Kinsel explained. “One, it’s conserving energy when I try to get partway down the alleyway, but you need to take off early enough that they can get running. It’s just the balance of that. I try to trust my gut. When it feels right, I go for it and don’t overthink it.”
Kinsel was a dominating player in the early days of the WCRA, winning the very first WCRA Rodeo Showdown in Las Vegas back in 2018, and two titles at The Days of 47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City, Utah afterwards.
When her schedule finally cleared up enough to allow a trip to Fort Worth for the WRWC, Kinsel entered, thinking it would be at the site of the 2020 WRWC.
“I nominated and got entered so that I could run Jules. I thought it was at Will Rogers, and then when they moved it to Cowtown, I was like ‘Oh, even better! She likes that place,’” Kinsel said.
Winning aside, Kinsel was thrilled to have Jules’ entire “fan club,” at the event. Jules is owned by Donna and Damon Hodges, of Hodges Farms, and they were able to witness the mare’s success in both rounds.
“I know Donna’s excited to watch an event like this and watch her horse run at it. It’s really fun for me to be able to take Jules to something like this, because I know it means a lot to them,” Kinsel said.
Kinsel finished in the No. 2 position behind 2021 WRWC Champion Rainey Skelton, who has already pocketed a combined $4,820 for the week. Sherri Barnes and Laura Mote will round out the four Pro division cowgirls meeting up with London Gorham, the No. 1 seeded athlete going into the WRWC, in the Showdown Round at 7:30 p.m. CST on May 18. Tickets are available here and you can watch the action live on CBS Sports Network.
WRWC Pro Division Barrel Racing Results
- Rainey Skelton, 27.552 on two, worth $2,900
- Hailey Kinsel, 27.665 on two, worth $2,400
- Sherri Barnes, 27.744 on two, worth $1,900
- Laura Mote, 27.773 on two, worth $1,400
- Ari-Anna Flynn, 27.837 on two, worth $900
- Jordan Driver, 27.940 on two, worth $500
- Hailey Kinsel, 13.667-second run, worth $1,000
- Rainey Skelton, 13.748-second run
- Laura Mote, 13.788-second run
- Sherri Barnes, 13.793-second run
- Stephanie Fryar, 13.845-second run
- Ari-Anna Flynn, 13.897-second run
- Randi Holliday, 13.930-second run
- Jordan Driver, 14.042-second run
- Jada Trosper, 14.095-second run
- Sadie Wolaver, 18.601-second run
- Tiffany Lujan, 18.865-second run
- Acey Pinkston, 18.982-second run