Since her first trip to the Oklahoma Panhandle in 2017, Hailey Kinsel’s golden galloper DM Sissy Hayday (“Sis”) has loved the Guymon Pioneer Days. They picked up their second straight barrel racing championship at the $7,500-added rodeo, held May 6-8, and collected $5,738 for their efforts.
“No offense to western Oklahoma, but I do have questions as to why that’s one of her favorite places,” laughed the three-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion. “She’ll keep me driving there. I’ll go where she wants to go.”
Open to all cardholders, Guymon runs all contestants in a first round of slack on Friday morning. The top 40 get their second runs in one of the four performances while the remainder get their second Friday afternoon.
Curse of the early draw?
Kinsel and Sis were out early in slack which had a reputation for being the slower ground.
“I’ve never been that early,” Kinsel explained. “Usually, or at least it has been in all the years I’ve been going to Guymon, it’s been faster at the end. It’s usually really wet at the beginning, and it dries out as it goes along. I had a few friends tell me, ‘Oh you drew at the beginning. That’s not going to work.’ You have to ask yourself is it worth running my good horse. Can I be fast?”
Kinsel did her homework before she chose to run Sis.
“I looked back at last year’s draw for confidence purposes and recognized several names in the first 50 that not only did well enough to make it to the perfs but also placed in the first round,” she said. “I was like, ‘OK, if they’ve done it, Sis can do it!’ I just needed a tiny bit of proof that it was possible. If it’s a tad bit slower, we’ll deal with it. We can still make a nice run, get back to the perfs and make a nice run for the average.”
After she watched the runners clocking before her, Kinsel knew it was possible to be fast early in slack.
Her first run actually ended up being her fastest run ever—to that point—at Guymon, a 17.19 which finished second to Wenda Johnson and Steal Money’s 16.94.
“When I ran that .1, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s plenty fast at the beginning,’” Kinsel added. “Then Wenda was in the drag after me. She was 42 on the list and ran a 16.9. I had never witnessed a 16 there and there were two this year. Later on in the afternoon, in the second round slack, Leslie Smalygo runs a 16.8. I happenned to walk up to watch a friend and saw the 16.8. I don’t know what they did differently this year, but Guymon got fast.”
Wanting to be home for Mother’s Day, Kinsel traded out of Sunday’s performance, where she was scheduled to run as one of the fastest runners, to the first performance on Friday night.
“I didn’t draw that great,” she said. “I was seventh out (on the ground). Elizabeth Schmid was fifth out and ran a .1 and I was like, ‘OK. They’re fast. Will send!’”
Sis turned in another personal best at Guymon to take second in the round with a 17.03 and win the aggregate. The victory solidified their second-place spot in the WPRA World Standings with $72,028.
“I get asked by people if she’s slowing down, and I think she’s actually getting faster,” said Kinsel. “I just ran my two fastest times ever at Guymon in the same day after not having run in a month and a half. That’s kind of cool.”
$2 Million Ride
At age 11, Sis has little to prove as the richest barrel horse of all-time with more than $2 million in career earnings. Kinsel has always hand-picked the mare’s rodeos with longevity in mind.
Since the 2021 National Finals Rodeo, where they added a second WPRA Reserve World Championship to their resume, Kinsel has only used Sis at four rodeos—Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and Guymon and finished second, first, third and first, respectively.
Kinsel’s plan all along has been to take Sis (PC Frenchmans Hayday x Royal Sissy Irish x Royal Shake Em) to the rodeos where she’s historically done well.
“For now, we’re going where she wants to go and that’s working out really well for us,” she said. “If we need to go more after those, we’ll find some new ones, but for now we’re sticking with our plan.”
Kinsel wanted to give a shout out to her friend Sally Conway, and her veterinarian husband JD, for being her go-to with all things “panhandle” and her farrier Sid Myers.
“After Houston we decided to pull Sis’s shoes off because it was a good time to let her feet rest,” she explained. “She had enough foot and was looking really good. She went a whole cycle without shoes on. I stayed riding and exercising her. A big credit to my farrier Sid Meyers on that. We discussed it. I met him the week before and he put a new set of shoes on her, and she was great. We joked that these were the fast shoes. I sent him the video Friday and said, ‘I think we have fast feet!’”
Kinsel said she’ll be running Damon and Donna Hodges’ DH Jess Stellar (“Jules”) at some of the upcoming circuit rodeos and the WCRA’s Women’s Rodeo World Championships. Sis will likely get another favorite—Woodward, Oklahoma, as a warmup for the summer run.
Guymon Pioneer Days Results
Barrel racing: First round: 1. Wenda Johnson, 16.94 seconds, $2,171; 2. Hailey Kinsel, 17.19, $1,861; 3. (tie) Nicole Driggers and Shelley Morgan, 17.30, $1,448 each; 5. Taycie Matthews, 17.32, $1,034; 6. (tie) Ivy Hurst and Tracy Nowlin, 17.33, $724 each; 8. Kylee Scribner, 17.35, $414; 9. Rachael Werkmen, 17.36, $310; 10. (tie) Paige Jones and Tami Semas, 17.39, $103 each. Second round: 1. Leslie Smalygo, 16.85 seconds, $2,171; 2. (tie) Hailey Kinsel, Tarryn Lee, Emery Mask and Jimmie Smith, 17.03, $1,706 each; 4. Elizabeth Schmid, 17.12, $1,344; 5. Katelyn Scott, 17.28, $1,034; 6. Taycie Matthews, 17.33, $827; 7. (tie) Tamara Reinhardt and Cayla Small, 17.35, $620 each; 8. (tie) Ivy Hurst, Tarryn Lee, Emily Mangione and Jimmie Smith, 17.36, $310 each. Average: 1. Hailey Kinsel, 34.22 seconds on two head, $2,171; 2. Wenda Johnson, 34.36, $1,861; 3. Tarryn Lee, 34.57, $1,551; 4. Taycie Matthews, 34.65, $1,344; 5. Ivy Hurst, 34.69, $1,034; 6. Shelley Morgan, 34.73, $827; 7. Tracy Nowlin, 34.75, $620; 8. (tie) Elizabeth Schmid, Leslie Smalygo and Paige Jones, 34.81, $310 each.