In June 2022, Hailey Kinsel set out on the ProRodeo trail with DH Jess Stellar, “Jules,” and two young, unseasoned barrel horses.
Fans quickly noted that DM Sissy Hayday, “Sister,” was not on the rig, and social media blew up in response, with skepticism from some.
“People have been offended that I haven’t said where she is and what she’s doing,” Kinsel said. “One lady said, ‘Did you quit? You haven’t been on the Cowboy Channel!’ Um, Guys, I’ve been drawn up in slack for three weeks. They don’t show the slacks usually.”
So, if Kinsel has been on the ProRodeo trail with a full trailer until mid-August that fact begs the question: where was Sister? The answer may be less exciting than some fans were expecting.
Initially, Kinsel had planned to take Sister out with her young horses at the beginning of the summer run, and give her a break during the second half while she ran Jules and the youngsters, that way neither mare had to travel additional miles and both would get a chance to shine.
“My plan got a tiny hiccup when (Sis) bruised her foot the first week of June at the house. It really wasn’t even a big deal. Everybody thought she was hurt—but she was fine, she’d just been at home. She gets kind of fat really fast, that’s the only thing. She had to have two to three weeks off to heal the bruise, which was my key conditioning time to get her really ready to go on the road. Since she wasn’t super fit, I didn’t worry about Reno and decided to take Jules over the Fourth.”— Hailey Kinsel
Kinsel spent her summer riding Jules and her two younger mares, Val and Reese (more about those two here) and remained unbothered while those at home watched her name drop down a few slots in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world standings.
“I’m having a great time,” Kinsel exclaimed. “Everybody has been worried, and I don’t understand why—I’m not worried. You know, you can make all your plans, but the Lord determines your steps. That’s scripture. I had all these plans at the beginning of the summer to take Sis but you know, I feel bad taking a fat horse to Reno.”
Kinsel’s walk matches her talk. She has held down the No. 7 position in the world with $85,825 in earnings over just 46 rodeos while taking Jules and her other mares.
As for her first run back on Sister? She casually snagged the round-one win at Caldwell, Idaho, with a 17.27-second trip worth $2,479.
“I was going for a warm-up, but I guess that’s her version of a warm-up,” Kinsel said, laughing.
Looking ahead, this three-time World Champion is geeked to test the waters of a new rodeo schedule.
“I’m pumped to be in the Northwest. Caldwell (Idaho), Kennewick and Bremerton, Ellensburg—I’m so excited to run here there— Walla Walla, and Puyallup (Washington). I’ve never stayed out here and entered these rodeos, so I’m really excited.”
“This has been something I’ve never got to do but always wanted to do, and it’s all because of God’s plan. I just tried to listen and be patient and go those steps where he’s directing me. Wherever that is, I’m cool with it. It’s not easy to season horses, there’s a lot mentally that goes along with it, but it’s fun.”Hailey Kinsel
Now, as for the keyboard warriors…
Kinsel has been notably positive and transparent on social media throughout her year in 2022. However, she wanted to be clear that her personal values influence the content she shares, not the obligations placed on her by those who comment, message or discuss her career.
“I’m not going to mislead anybody. I have no reason to hide my own self on social media. The honesty of what I’m feeling and saying is important,” Kinsel said. “But there’s a lot of it that [social media] I ignore. I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve gotten that say, ‘What’s wrong with Sister? Why are you hiding her?’ and my least favorite, which I hear the most is, ‘Your followers deserve to know what’s wrong and where Sister is!’ That’s where I 100 percent disagree. My followers don’t ‘deserve’ to know that about her, and I don’t feel a responsibility to try to convince people that I’m making good decisions. That’s what my inner circle is for. There’s been a lot of people who think I’m stupid for not bringing Sister out here, and that’s okay. So, I’m being honest, but I don’t feel that it’s necessary to prove to anybody why I’m doing what I’m doing.“
However, Kinsel hoped that her followers, especially youth, will take note of her experience and can apply that to their own lives where applicable.
“It’s important to me that kids know that you don’t have to explain yourself to everyone. You don’t have to take everybody’s opinion and consider it more important than the people you trust,” she said. “That is something I am very firm with myself on. I don’t need to hear that. Do you know how many successful people don’t read Facebook comments? So many.”