On December 7, the top 15 barrel racers will enter the Thomas & Mack arena for their first of 10 runs at the 2023 National Finals Rodeo, and these are the barrel racing horses they will be taking to Las Vegas this year.
Table of contents
- No. 1: Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi
- No. 2: Jordon Briggs
- No. 3: Emily Beisel
- No. 4: Taycie Matthews
- No. 5: Lisa Lockhart
- No. 6: Kassie Mowry
- No. 7: Wenda Johnson
- No. 8: Jessica Routier
- No. 9: Summer Kosel
- No. 10: Ilyssa Riley
- No. 11: Sissy Winn
- No. 12: Stevi Hillman
- No. 13: Hailey Kinsel
- No. 14: Sue Smith
- No. 15: Paige Jones
No. 1: Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi
Jets Top Gun, “Benny”
Word on the street is that the 2023 runner-up Nutrena/AQHA WPRA Horse of the Year will be headed to the Thomas & Mack in December. Benny and Tonozzi went on a rampage after June of 2023 with wins like the Reno Rodeo, Calgary Stampede, Days of 47 in Salt Lake City and arena records sprinkled across the country throughout Benny’s several-month reign. The Busby Quarter Horses owned gelding is a 2015 model by Blazin Jetolena and out of GL Famous First Lady by Dash Ta Fame.
SR Industry Titan, “Titan”
Another of Tonozzi’s rumored NFR mounts is the stallion, SR Industry TItan, who finished Tonozzi’s season on a high note after Benny had the chance to come off the road and chill out for the fall semester. Titan ran at the 2020 NFR with Wenda Johnson in Arlington, but he will take on the yellow walls in 2023. Thanks to his round win and stellar performance in Sioux Falls’ Governor’s Cup in September, fans are eagerly anticipating watching the stallion’s wildly quick turns in Las Vegas. Owned by 70 Ranch, Titan is a 2013 stallion by FireWaterOnTheRocks and out of the great mare, Mulberry Canyon Moon by Marthas Six Moons.
Babe On The Chase, “Birdie”
Birdie is one of Tonozzi’s infamous Streakin Six Babe daughters and has a slew of wins under her belt, including an NFR round win in 2022 with Tonozzi. Fans are looking forward to seeing the talented mare back inside the Thomas & Mack.
- Brittany’s Back, Beisel’s Bad and Barrels Are Down: NFR Round 6 Barrel Racing
- Brittany’s “Babes”: The Streakin Six Babe Story
No. 2: Jordon Briggs
Famous Lil Jet, “Rollo”
Two-time horse of the year, Rollo is a 2014 gelding by Dash Ta Fame and out of Blazin Black Beauty by Blazin Jetolena. Rollo is the same gelding that helped Briggs break the NFR aggregate record and earn the win in 2021 en route to her first world championship.
- Justin and Jordon Briggs’ Beloved Nutrena WPRA Horse of the Year Famous Lil Jet
- Jordon Briggs Shares Top Winter Rodeo Success Tips After 2023 RodeoHouston Win
- Double the Pleasure for World Champion Barrel Racer Jordon Briggs at RodeoHouston
KN Bam Shake Da Room, “Bluey”
Young Bluey, who like his trailer mate, Rollo, is a talented team roping head horse, is a 2018 gelding by A Streak Of Fling and by KN Shea Regulargirl by Nothin But Cash. Bluey got his first taste of rodeo action in 2023 and took to it with ease, so Briggs is excited to see what the 5-year-old blue roan can accomplish if called upon.
No. 3: Emily Beisel
Namgis D 33, “Chongo”
Chongo is a weapon inside the Thomas and Mack, and he’s just the first of Beisel’s dangerous lineup of horses headed into the 2023 NFR. Last year, he picked up round wins and helped push Beisel over the $1 million mark in WPRA earnings. Chongo is a 2010 gelding by Bucks Hancock Dude and out of Track Goddess by Eyesa Special.
- Emily Beisel and Chongo Headline $25,000 Cowboy Christmas with Ponoka Win
- Good Dirt and Unicorns: Emily Beisel Fastest of 15 Clean Barrel Racing Runs in NFR Round 4
Ivory On Fire, “Liza”
Liza showed a possible preview of her NFR potential when she dominated the Cinch Playoffs Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the final week of the 2023 regular season. Since then, she’s been terrorizing jackpots with Beisel. Liza is a 2016 mare by Ivory James and out of Lil Miss Firewater by Fire Water Flit.
Biddin On Fame, “Beau”
Beau can excel inside smaller arenas, like at the 2022 Ram Prairie Circuit Finals, where he clocked up to help Beisel clinch the 2022 Prairie Circuit Championship in Duncan. Beau is a 2013 gelding by PC Frosty Bid and out of Jaxsons Olympic Fame by Poco Lijerito.
Namgis D 35, “Pipewrench”
Pipewrench just helps complete the dream team for Emily Beisel, which only seems fitting, because the 2017 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo (the predecessor to the NFR Open) champion helped catapult Beisel’s career before her first National Finals Rodeo.
No. 4: Taycie Matthews
Heavenly Firewater, “Bud The Stud”
Bud the Stud and Matthews grew up together at amateur, high school, collegiate and ProRodeos and will be taking on Matthews’ first trek to the National Finals Rodeo in 2023. After an injury to Fame Fire Rocks just after her announcement as 2023 Nutrena/AQHA WPRA Horse of the Year, Matthews will be down the much-anticipated mare inside the Thomas & Mack, so all eyes will be on Bud. Bud is a 2012 stallion by JL Dash Ta Heaven and out of Fire Water Fanny by Fire Water Flit.
Stoli My Firewater, “Stoli”
Stoli will be accompying her father on the trip to Las Vegas. The green mare has been excelling inside Southeastern coliseums at barrel races and may be green, but Matthews is excited to jockey the mare. Stoli is a 2018 mare by Heavenly Firewater and out of Stoli My Guy by Traffic Guy.
No. 5: Lisa Lockhart
Promise Me Fame Guys, “Levee”
Lockhart seasoned Levee heavily in 2022 and debuted him at the 2022 NFR. After that, he won The American Rodeo and was solid throughout the 2023 season beneath Lockhart. Levee is a 2016 gelding by Aint Seen Nothin Yet and out of Bar Blue Lass by FC Aboo.
- Full 2022 NFR Horse Report
- $100K Day Play-By-Play: Lisa Lockhart Breaks Down Her Third The American Rodeo Win
- NFR Timer Equalizes 30-Year Age Gap Between Lockhart and Kinsel
Rosas Cantina CC, “Rosa”
Rosas Cantina CC needs little introduction. The impressive earner and producer is no stranger to the Thomas & Mack, and the left-hander will be a crowd favorite with Lockhart. Rosa is a 2010 mare by Corona Cartel and out of Dash Ta Vanilla by Dash Ta Fame.
Prime Diamond, “Cutter”
Cutter is an old faithful of sorts for Lockhart. The 2011 gelding by Prime Talent and out of Hugos Diamond has won at rodeos across the country for multiple years with Lockhart and is a staple on her trailer for the NFR in recent years.
No. 6: Kassie Mowry
Mowry is bringing her superstar team of derby and aged geldings once again to the Thomas & Mack.
CP He Will Be Epic, “Will
Will was Mowry’s main NFR mount in 2022 and will be back again in 2023. The nearly 17-hand grey gelding is surprisingly nimble within the Thomas & Mack’s yellow walls. Will is a 2015 son of Epic Leader and out of Percilla by Dash Ta Fame.
- Kassie Mowry and Cp He Will Be Epic Win $25,000 and San Angelo Barrel Racing Title
- The Rundown: Pendleton, Kassie Mowry and Breeders Challenge
Force The Goodbye, “Jarvis”
After rampaging on the rodeo and derby trails in 2023, Jarvis is in his usual position on Mowry’s trailer. He is a 2018
Famous Ladies Man, “Emmitt”
Emmitt is an absolute force with Mowry. The 2015 son of Dash Ta Fame and by the great producing mare, Lady Perks by Dash For Perks will be in attendance with Mowry at the Thomas & Mack.
BONUS: Batman the Gypsy Vanner, grand entry horse
Mowry isn’t just pumped about her superstar team—she let us know she’ll be bringing Batman, a registered Gypsy Vanner as her grand entry horse. Talk about riding into the arena in style.
No. 7: Wenda Johnson
Steal Money, “Mo”
After the loss of the great Macgyver Moonflash in the summer of 2023, Mo will be Johnson’s main squeeze at the 2023 NFR. He’s won money inside the little yellow walls so far. The 2016 bay son of First Moonflash and out of Im Chica Stoli by Stoli.
Smoken French Winner, “Smoke”
Missouri-native stallion, Smoken French Winner, will be headed to Las Vegas with Johnson. Smoke is a 2009 stallion by Smoke N Sparks and out of Runaway Frenchgirl by Frenchmans Guy.
No. 8: Jessica Routier
Fiery Miss West, “Missy”
Missy is a fan favorite all year long, and the NFR is no exception. The 2011 palomino mare by Firewater Frenchman and out of Frenchmans Bo Dashus by Royal Quick Dash.
High On Smoothies, “Nicki”
Routier will be bringing Nicki as one of her backups to her great palomino mare, Missy. Nicki’s dam is another horse that was extremely special to Routier—Especials Smoothie by Especial—Routier’s famed horse from her high school, collegiate and circuit rodeoing days. Nicki’s sire is High on Corona.
Fiery Miss Daisy, “Daisy”
Missy’s little sister, Daisy wil be making the trip to Las Vegas on Routier’s impressive team of mares. The 2018 mare is by Firewater Frenchman and out of Frenchmans Bo Dashus, by Royal Quick Dash.
No. 9: Summer Kosel
Apollo is the 2014 gelding by Aint Seen Nothin Yet and out of Fire Water Flyer by Fire Water Flit that Kosel rode through the 2023 season, and the same horse she clocked the first recorded 16-second time at the Cheyenne Frontier Days aboard in July 2023, breaking her own arena record in the process.
Backing up Apollo will be Dredge, a 2015 gelding by Aint Seen Nothin Yet and out of Cash Kisses with his own rodeo resume.
No. 10: Ilyssa Riley
Mistys Money Blurr, “Money” -OUT
According to Riley’s social media post, “Money,” her 2016 gelding by The Money Depot and out of the NFR-qualifying and notorious producing mare, Mistys Dash of Fame by Dash Ta Fame will not be running in the Thomas & Mack as originally planned. Fans may recall when Riley dominated the 2022 Texas Circuit Finals aboard Money and set herself up for the NFR Open in 2023.
Thriller is equally as salty as his traveling partner, Money, and will be getting the call in Vegas as Riley’s number one. The gelding has plenty of rodeo experience under his belt, and the 2010 gelding by Ninety Nine Goldmine and out of Cutters Brass Tack by Cutters Bonanza.
No. 11: Sissy Winn
AR Dash Ta Flame, “Scoop”
Scoop and Winn had a strong showing at Winn’s first NFR in 2022, placing deep in multiple rounds. The large, red gelding is surprisingly nimble inside the Thomas & Mack’s yellow walls. Scoop is a 2013 gelding by Dash Ta Fame and out of Discreat Retreat by Mr Jess Perry.
This Guy Will Moonya, “King”
Winn is making the gutsy decision to bring the green King to Las Vegas in 2023. The gelding earned well over $100,000 during his 2023 futurity year with James Barnes, but Winn cashed in during her first few jackpot runs on the gelding. She’s working to show him rodeo sights before he heads to the NFR and Barnes will have an opportunity to show him at the upcoming Barrel Futurities of America world championships in Oklahoma just two weeks before he leaves for Las Vegas. King is by Guys Canyon Moon and out of VF Red Lights by Designer Red.
No. 12: Stevi Hillman
Sand In My Socks, “Sandi”
Barrel racing fans will be excited to see Sand In my Socks back at the 2023 NFR. Downed barrels and ground struggles in 2022 kept her out of the main spotlight with Hillman, but after another year of seasoning, the 2017 mare by BHR Frenchies Socks and out of JC Pick Six by Tres Seis will have an opportunity to show off her wicked speed and tight turning radius inside the Thomas & Mack.
RV Brijett is another of Hillman’s freakily fast mares that will be back on her trailer in 2023. The 2017 mare by Blazin Jetolena and out of DTF Mellowdoc by Dash Ta Fame sports one of the most notorious rodeo crosses going—with papers reminiscent of the 2023 Nutrena/AQHA WPRA Horse of the Year, Jets Top Gun and the 2021-2022 award recipient, Famous Lil Jet.
Morning Traffic, “Martini”
Yup, you read that right. The butt-dragging yellow mare that Hillman jockeyed in the past before Michelle Darling took the reins and made her own treks to the NFR, known as Martini will be back in the Thomas & Mack in 2023 with Hillman. The 2011 mare by Frenchmans Guy and out of Evening Traffic by Dash Thru Traffic will be the most seasoned horse on Hillman’s trailer and round out her intense string of mare power.
- Michelle Darling and Martini Secure Final Spot in Gold Medal Round at WCRA Days of ‘47 Rodeo
- Michelle Darling Kicks Off ProRodeo Summer with Three Checks, Two Wins, and One Palomino Mare
No. 13: Hailey Kinsel
DM Sissy Hayday, “Sister”
You know her, you love her. Of course the arena record holder will be back in 2023 to capture fans’ attention inside the Thomas & Mack. The 2011 mare by PC Frenchmans Hayday and out of Royal Sissy Irish by Royal Shake Em has already helped Kinsel notch many round wins at the NFR and earn four world championships.
Slick N Black, “Squatch”
‘TIs the year of the RC Back in Black progeny in barrel racer land. Kinsel is jumping on the train, bringing Cayla Melby Small’s rockstar 2014 mare by Slick By Design and out of RC Back In Black by Ninety Nine Goldmine on the trailer to Las Vegas.
Corona Share Of Fame
Kinsel is calling upon her mom, Leslie’s “Nala,” as a grand entry horse and a third-in-line behind her outstanding lineup of mares. Nala is a 2014 mare by Lions Share Of Fame and out of Pay Day Corona by SC Chiseled In Stone.
No. 14: Sue Smith
Dashs Centerfold, “Centerfold”
The former top futurity horse, Dashs Centerfold, terrorized the Wilderness Circuit all season long and helped Smith come out of nowhere, shoot up the world standings and stay there through the end of the season. Centerfold, the 2011 daughter of Dash Ta Fame and out of Diamonds Tiny Effort by Proudest Effort is the same sorrel mare that Smith shattered the Cheyenne Frontier Days arena record aboard in July.
Diamond Center, “Hef”
Baby Hef looked all grown up at the close of the 2023 season, when the derby horse took over for his mother, Centerfold and helped clinch Smith’s first NFR qualification since 2009. The 2016 gelding is out of Dashs Centerfold by Dash Ta Fame and by A Smooth Guy.
*Potential* Rockin The Guns
Smith’s horse of choice for the NFR is still up in the air, but Jennifer Kalafatic’s Wilderness Circuit standout, Rockin The Guns is confirmed to make the trip to Las Vegas with Smith. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available on Smith’s lineup. “Roc,” is a 2015 gelding by PG Dry Fire and out of Baby Likes To Rocket by Whatta Band.
BONUS: Claimer as grand entry horse
Smith will be bringing her great horse Claimer, whom she rode at her last NFR in 2009 back as her grand entry horse in 2023.
No. 15: Paige Jones
Famous Hayday, “Bazinga”
After a No. 16 finish in the 2022 world standings, Jones was on the right side of the bubble in 2023 and will be making her first trip to the National Finals Rodeo. Bazinga is the gelding who helped Jones amass most of her earnings in 2023 and will be on the trailer in Las Vegas. The 2012 gelding is by PC Frenchmans Hayday and out of Jaxsons Olympic Fame by Poco Lijerito.
High Cotton Lane
Futurity fans will be excited to watch High Cotton Lane in Jones’ lineup. The 2014 gelding by The Goodbye Lane and out of HMB Soon Tobe Famous by Dash Ta Fame is the same horse that Jones jockeyed to become the youngest-ever Barrel Futurities of America world champion in 2018.