Good Dirt and Unicorns: Emily Beisel Fastest of 15 Clean Barrel Racing Runs in NFR Round 4

After a major footing reset, all 15 barrel racers kept three barrels standing in the Thomas & Mack, but it was Emily Beisel who outran the pack on night four of the National Finals Rodeo.
Emily Beisel barrel racing at the NFR.
Emily Beisel and Chongo won the fourth round of the National Finals Rodeo. Image by Ric Andersen/CBarC Photography.

Emily Beisel and Namgis D 33, “Chongo,” won the fourth round of the NFR with a 13.60-second run thanks to great footing and a few good luck charms.

They didn’t pick an easy night to win first. Only .13 of a second separated No. 1 and No. 6 in the payout, and all 15 cowgirls kept three barrels standing.

That Arena Dirt, Though.

“When you put 15 horses of this caliber with good ground, this is what you’re going to see,” Beisel said. “These are the results you get, and that’s incredible. This is what the people want to see. So I’m really glad that we were able to get that fixed and hopefully we can maintain it throughout the next six rounds. It was amazing to run on that kind of dirt tonight.”

Beisel noted that the ground crew was hard at work at the Thomas & Mack after multiple horses stumbled in Round 4.

“We had a big reset on the ground today, and Randy (Spraggs) worked really hard on it,” Beisel said. “I told the girls, it’s going to be good. It’s gonna hold us. He’s got it.”

It’s All About Chongo.

“Facebook, the internet, all the things, we can break it,” Beisel said. “I don’t care. But you know, I needed to do right by that horse. Like, every run with him is a blessing. And every time that I cost him, it hurts my heart a little bit, because man, he is so amazing.

Although winning over $28,913.70 is a great payday, Beisel’s dedication to her horsepower far outweighs her cash quest.

“It’s my job to be as perfect as I can be for him,” Beisel said. “And sometimes, that requires thinking outside the box.”

Beisel wasn’t always a superstar in the arena. She worked her way through the ranks, starting at the circuit level and coming onto the stage after a win at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which earned them an exemption into The Calgary Stampede, and pushed them to their first NFR qualificaiton in 2018.

“When you’re on a horse like Chongo and you know the dirt’s going to hold, you just get to have fun.”

Emily Beisel

Once Beisel hit the spotlight, she hit it big. Her first trip in the Thomas & Mack resulted in a go-round win. She just added go-round buckle No. 6 to the collection, and has been a fixture in the top 15 ever since. But make no mistake, working her way into the top ranks of barrel racing doesn’t mean that Beisel has ever stopped working to improve herself or forgotten where she came from.

“I listen to a lot of podcasts, I read what (Barrel Racing Magazine) posts,” Beisel said. “I mean, I’ve been really fortunate to be in the lineup with Kassie Mowry this week. How awesome is that? I have picked her brain more than she probably cares, I mean it’s just really, really cool.”

She shared one of the most special, yet humbling moments in her professional barrel racing career.

“I’ll never forget Lisa Lockhart coming and telling me good job at Rodeo Austin in 2019,” Beisel said. “I was bawling like a baby. It just meant the world to me that she came up and spoke to me and told me that I did good.”

It’s no secret that barrel racers have received a bit of a bad repuation in the rodeo community. They aren’t always viewed as team players, but Beisel shared that amongst the best in the world, camaradie is key.

“This road is hard,” Beisel said. “It’s not always rainbows and unicorns, but that’s the thing. We’ve got to have eachother’s backs. We’ve got enough battles to fight without fighting amongst ourselves.”

Emily Beisel's lucky socks at the 2022 NFR.
Emily Beisel’s lucky socks may have helped her snag her first 2022 NFR barrel racing go-round win.

Lucky Charms

Beisel wasn’t playing around after knocking barrels in the previous two rounds. She pulled out every lucky charm in the archive to set herself up for success.

  • Her family was in town, and she knew that having her husband, Austin, and parents in town would get the ball rolling in the right direction.
  • Beisel’s former collegiate coach has a signature adult beverage that meant good luck was on the way, sending a selfie to Beisel before the round to let her know he was cheering her on.
  • 2020 NFR barrel racing qualifier and Barrel Racing Magazine contributor, Jimmie Smith-Tew wore a pair of “lucky,” unicorn-printed socks when she won her NFR go-round, and wanted Beisel to have a pair just in case. Beisel picked Round 4 to slip them on.

“(Jimmie) sent me a package for NFR prep and it included unicorn socks. She said ‘When you want to win a round, put these on.’ I text her tonight and said ‘They’re on,’ and she said ‘It’s gonna happen.’

Emily Beisel

Listen to Beisel’s full interview on The Money Barrel Podcast.

NFR Round 4 Barrel Racing Payout

1$28,913.70Emily Beisel13.6
2/3$20,053.05Lisa Lockhart13.65
2/3$20,053.05Margo Crowther13.65
4$12,125.10Hailey Kinsel13.66
5$7,461.60Stevi Hillman13.67
6$4,663.50Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi13.73