Just three short weeks ago Barrel Racing Magazine reported on the top-earning Cowboy Christmas barrel racers, tracking some new faces to emerge in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s World Standings. Big checks continue to be the trend as the month of July ends and National Finals Rodeo contenders shift rankings.
Defending 2021 WPRA World Champion Jordon Briggs, Tolar, Texas, continues to hold down the No. 1 spot. Briggs added $23,202 in NFR Open earnings for total regular season earnings of $153,295 as of July 25. The latest WPRA standings do not appear to include $8,584 from Ogden, Utah, where Briggs set an arena record of 16.96 seconds, or Spanish Fork, Utah, where she placed for another $2,451. Add the two outstanding amounts in and Briggs, who’s almost exclusively ridden 2021 AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year Famous Lil Jet (“Rollo”), has accrued $164,330. While in Utah, Briggs made a lucrative pass through Salt Lake City where she and Rollo won $25,000 in World Champions Rodeo Alliance earnings, plus earned a gold medal.
We caught up with Briggs this week as she was taking a little time away from the rodeos and playing golf course caddy for husband Justin. The Briggs rig is bound for Burwell, Nebraska, for the Saturday, July 30 perf at Nebraska’s Big Rodeo, an event recently inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
“I took the week off,” said Briggs. “We’re headed to Burwell Saturday, then from there we’re entered at Sydney (Iowa), Phillipsburg and Dodge City (Kansas) and then home.”
Briggs reported that her ace Rollo has been working amazing and that he was “very excited at Salt Lake City after a few days off. He was a fire-breathing dragon!”
Opting to forego the Northwest run, Briggs looks forward to returning home to Tolar, Texas, to regroup and work futurity horses. In she and Justin’s absence, mom, and four-time WPRA World Champion Kristie Peterson has been holding down the fort in the midst of record-setting heat spells and fire threats.
“I want to thank my mom for taking care of everything while we’ve been gone,” said Briggs. “I’m also thankful for all the committees that have stepped up and who seem to really care about safety and fairness for the barrel racers.”
One individual in particular caught Briggs’ attention following her record-setting performance in at Pioneer Days in Ogden. “After my run that tractor driver was so excited, he was doing a happy dance,” said Briggs. “He looked like he was almost in tears he was so excited. At Ogden they drug at five or six and if I’m remembering right, they didn’t do that last year. Even though I didn’t enter Cheyenne this year, I noticed they did a big drag every 50 and watered this year, it looked like they really tried to keep it fair and even for slack. It seems like more committees are taking the extra time and effort.”
Trailing Briggs by around $40,000 is red-hot Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, Oklahoma, whose impressive performances riding both MacGyver Moonflash (“Mack”) and Steal Money (“Mo”) at the Calgary Stampede helped her earn $33,259 in the span of the past few weeks.
Between big paydays in Calgary and winning the Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho, where she won the first go, split the finals with Johnson and notched top honors in the aggregate by a tenth, Dona Kay Rule and High Valor have jumped five spots from No. 8 two weeks ago to No. 3 in the world with $98,920. Once her Spanish Fork, Utah, earnings are added in, Rule will surpass the $100,000-earnings mark this season.
Racing her way into the pack of familiar top 15 veterans Stevi Hillman (4), Hailey Kinsel (6), Shelley Morgan (7), 5x California Rodeo Champ Pozzi Tonozzi (9), Emily Beisel (11), and Cheyenne Wimberley (15) is the trainer’s trainer, Kassie Mowry. Mowry achieved windfall earnings of $64,500 from the Calgary Stampede where she put on an absolute clinic riding Famous Ladies Man (“Emmitt”). According to the WPRA’s Calgary Stampede ground rule 8.6.5, “all monies earned at the Calgary Stampede will count in the 2022 WPRA World standings, except for ground money (exception bull riding, per PRCA Rule R5.5.3), the $2,500 appearance payment, and 50 percent first place of the Showdown Round.” With the lowest rodeo count among the top 15 of 14, Mowry has earnings of $78,466 to put her eighth in the world having moved up nine spots from 17th two weeks ago. Mowry left Canada for Cheyenne Frontier Days slack where she placed second with a rapid 17.28 to earn $6,356, which is not yet added in the standings since Cheyenne doesn’t end until July 31. Mowry finished second behind Briggs in Ogden with a 16.98 to bank $6,867. Factor those checks in and Mowry is very unofficially at $91,689 and counting.
New faces who appear to have solid odds of making the first NFR appearances of their careers are Sissy Winn (4), Michelle Darling (12), Margo Crowther (13) and 2021 Resistol Rookie of the Year Kylee Scribner (14).
Winn advanced from ultra-tough Pool B in Calgary and finished seventh in the Semifinals riding AR Dash Ta Flame (“Scoop”) before traveling to the California Rodeo in Salinas where she won third in the finals and fourth in the aggregate for total earnings of $7,007. Similarly, Crowther and Shes Packin Fame made Salinas count, placing in all but one round, second in the finals and third in the aggregate for $8,161 to help jump her from 24th to 13th in the world with $52,867. The North Fort Myers, Florida, barrel racer placed in Westcliffe, Colorado, as well as major Wyoming rodeos in Sheridan and Casper, where she topped the short go and won second in the average behind red-hot Summer Kosel (47).
Coming out of nowhere, but not surprising anyone with brilliant runs aboard her heart-horse J-Lo (KN Fabs Gift Of Fame) was Nowata, Oklahoma’s Ivy Saebens. Saebens moved from 45-ish in the world two weeks ago to No. 16 with $47,293, in large part thanks to Calgary earnings. The 2019 Reserve WPRA World Champion and NFR average champion is pursuing her sixth NFR appearance. Saebens has another $2,825 from Cheyenne, which she won riding J-Lo’s daughter KN Streak N Fabulous (“Reba”), that is not yet tallied in the standings. Reba and J-Lo are bred and owned by Kenny Nichols and Dale Barron.
2022 World Standings (as of July 25, 2022)
|Rank||Name||Hometown||Money Won||Rodeos Attended|
|1||Jordon Briggs||Tolar, TX||$153,294.67||23|
|2||Wenda Johnson||Pawhuska, OK||$112,636.23||19|
|3||Dona Kay Rule||Minco, OK||$98,920.03||17|
|4||Stevi Hillman||Weatherford, TX||$92,885.68||34|
|5||Sissy Winn||Chapman Ranch, TX||$89,566.98||46|
|6||Hailey Kinsel||Cotulla, TX||$83,607.09||33|
|7||Shelley Morgan||Eustace, TX||$79,695.92||45|
|8||Kassie Mowry||Dublin, TX||$78,465.99||14|
|9||Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi||Lampasas, TX||$75,157.17||33|
|10||Bayleigh Choate (R)||Fort Worth, TX||$72,502.78||57|
|11||Emily Beisel||Weatherford, OK||$60,790.95||46|
|12||Michelle Darling||Medford, OK||$53,989.93||33|
|13||Margo Crowther||North Fort Myers, FL||$52,867.18||53|
|14||Kylee Scribner||Azle, TX||$48,261.69||49|
|15||Cheyenne Wimberley (G)||Stephenville, TX||$48,204.17||41|
|16||Ivy Saebens||Nowata, OK||$47,292.56||25|
|17||Leslie Smalygo||Skiatook, OK||$46,246.41||31|
|18||Shannon McReynolds||La Luz, NM||$45,131.94||36|
|19||Taycie Matthews (R)||Wynne, AR||$44,184.19||48|
|20||Jessica Routier||Buffalo, SD||$42,687.81||30|