Barrel racers thought it, Kassie Mowry knew it, but now the official numbers are in—Mowry has surpassed the $1 million mark in officially recorded barrel racing earnings in the year 2022.
Here’s the quick breakdown—Equistat had Mowry at $941,353.63 prior to the December National Finals Rodeo.
At the 2022 NFR, Mowry raked in $47,568.5, bringing her official earnings to $988,922.13.
She returned to Texas post-NFR and headed to the 2022 WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championships, where she turned in a 13.266 on CP He Will Be Epic in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round. The time earned her the $15,000 win, which officially, indisputably brought her recorded earnings to $1,003,922.13 in the 2022 calendar year.
“It’s been an incredible year,” Mowry said. “I never imagined this happening. We’ve been so busy all year, it just hasn’t sunk in. I’ve just been working hard, going to each event and kind of rolling with the punches.”
The Moment the $1 Million Mark Became Official
After Mowry officially crossed the $1 million in Fort Worth, Texas, she was pulled back in the arena to be interviewed for a CBS Sports broadcast interview. She had already taken off CP He Will Be Epic’s Classic Equine sport boots, and put Cloud boots on “Will’s,” hooves before she would return to the arena for the interview. Aftewards, she didn’t bask long in the glory—in expected Kassie Mowry fashion, she practically jogged back to Will and immediately headed toward her trailer with him. Mowry kept her head down, quietly mumbling “thank-you’s,” as fans followed her, gawking at Will’s impressive size while Mowry petted his neck with the hand that wasn’t holding her large, cardboard $15,000 check and carefully navigated through the crowd in the Stockyards.
Mowry was directly seeded into the Saturday Showdown Triple Crown of Rodeo Round due to earning enough points through her VRQ nominations in the Cowtown Christmas Championships segment to be directly seeded in the round. Although she chose to run KL Touch of Heaven in the preliminary rounds as a bonus, she saved the magic for the moment it mattered on Saturday, December 17.
Will’s Epic Finish
The horse that clinched the deal for Mowry at the NFR and WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championships was 7-year-old CP He Will Be Epic, “Will,” her massive 17-hand grey gelding by Epic Leader and out of Percilla by Dash Ta Fame.
“Going into the NFR, I thought it might be too much for (Will) to handle,” Mowry said. “But coming out of it and looking back at it, he grew a lot and I learned a lot about him. I’ve never got to make that many runs on him that close together. I didn’t know if he’d get freer, tighter or bad in the alley. But, he just got better, and now I feel like he’s riding better than he ver has—I guess you really don’t know what they’ll do until you push them. I’m just really proud of him.”
Emmitt Handles NFR Qualification
Will had to step up to bat after Famous Ladies Man, “Emmitt,” a 2015 gelding by Dash Ta Fame out of Lady Perks, by Dash Ta Perks, was hurt prior to the NFR. Even Mowry had her doubts on whether the grey gelding could hold up throughout the entirety of her time in the Thomas & Mack, but Will wiped those out with each run down the tunnel.
“It was his time,” Mowry said. “I mean, Emmitt getting hurt wasn’t ideal, but Will’s had the chance to grow through the process because of it. Yeah, we kind of forced him to, but he’s the one who rose to the occasion.”
Although Will clinched the headlining dollars, Mowry’s year didn’t ride fully on his back. Emmitt was the horse that Mowry won most of her ProRodeo dollars on over just 26 rodeos—barely over the WPRA’s requirement of the 25 rodeos necessary to be permitted to go to the NFR— and he helped her cash in at rodeos like RodeoHouston, plus get the win at the Calgary Stampede after smashing the arena record. He helped her win over $90,000 on the regular season in total.
Royal Crown Royalties
Arguably the most impressive performance of Mowry’s on the year is her complete domination of the Royal Crown races. Between owner, breeder and rider money, Mowry pocketed nearly $500,000 alone. However, this year her $1 million was won purely off her jockeying earnings–which looked like $268,471 at the Royal Crown in Rock Springs, Wyoming, alone. Mowry had four horses cash in for her in Wyoming—Famous Ladies Man and her three remarkable 4-year-olds KL Touch of Heaven and Force The Goodbye and Sir Epic.
Sir Epic was a standout winner at the Royal Crown Race in Waco, Texas, in May of 2022, as well. He exceeded Mowry’s expectations when she was plagued with a stomach flu that left her nearly too weak to saddle her horses at the event. While she went into survival mode during the runs, the confident gelding took control.
“When I pulled my hat down, I was crying. I was so weak. I could feel my head just throbbing— I thought it was going to explode,” Mowry said after winning the first round of the futurity in Waco. “That horse took it upon himself to go out there and do his job.”
In Waco, Will and Emmitt also showed out to pocket checks of over $20,000 and $25,000, respectively.
In Buckeye, Arizona, at the first Royal Crown Race of the year, Mowry also rode Sand In My Socks, the 2017 mare called “Sandi,” by BHR Frenchies Socks and out of JC Pick Six by Tres Seis to the winner’s circle as well. Later in the year, fans would know Sandi as the wicked fast sorrel that Stevi Hillman ran down the alley on eight out of 10 trips at the NFR.
However, the headliner in Buckeye was Emmitt, who won the Derby and nearly $25,000 in a single check.
All American Payday
Epic Guy, the 2015 dappled grey gelding by Epic Leader and out of Frenchilicious, by Frenchmans Guy has been a fan favorite since he dominated at the futurity level in 2019. He helped Mowry win big at The American Semifinals in early March of 2022—contributing over $21,000 to Mowry’s year in Fort Worth.
Incentive and Futurity Domination
Yes, Mowry was also present at Breeders’ Challenge, Ruby and Pink Buckle events in 2022. Sir Epic alone pulled in over $80,000 in Guthrie between his October performance at the Pink Buckle and April performance at the Ruby Buckle. Sprinkle in Guthrie’s earnings at the Barrel Futurities of America World Championships in November—where she included horses LK She Famous, KS This Goodbye and Picassos My Private Jet in the lineup—and it becomes clear among the dizzying stats and results that if they added big money to in incentive or futurity, Mowry was in the house and looking to cash in at an impressive number of events in 2022.
It’s rare for any barrel horse trainer to have a consistent lineup of juvenile, futurity derby and open horses each year, but Mowry has managed to be a fixture on the futurity scene, then take her futurity horses and turn them into standout rodeo horses, so it begs the question: Did Mowry have any clue that her barn would show out at each race like they did in 2022 at the start of the year?
“You really never know how it’s going to go,” Mowry said. “As far as the futurity horses, I’ve had some that were such promising 3-year-olds, then they break your heart, and some that really rise to the occasion and surprise you. I’ve had several this year that really rose to the occasion and surprised me, and I’ve had several that really showed promise as 3-year-olds. Like Force The Goodbye, he didn’t really surprise us. We knew he was a great horse, but the other two were a little bit more immature. They really blew me away with what they accomplished this year.”
How Does Kassie Mowry do it?
Mowry isn’t just one of the most dominating jockeys of all time–she’s got an unshakeable mental game. It’s apparent in her kind, yet steely demeanor in the warmup arenas and the way that she continues to rise no matter how much money is on the line, or what the previous horses she has ridden on any given day may have acted.
“I don’t get too up or too down about how things go,” Mowry said. “We just try to do the best that they can do, and I think that helps. I don’t put unrealistic expectations on them. I try to keep the pressure off of them and just let them do what they’re ready to do.”
Why Does Kassie Mowry do it?
She’s recorded over $5.2 million in Equistat earnings, shattered nearly every record in barrel racing and officially won in one year what many barrel racers work their entire career to do—yet there’s hardly any sponsor patches on her shirts. It’s notoriously difficult to secure an interview with Mowry, and she doesn’t have a social media following like many competitors who are both older and younger.
That’s because Mowry was never in it for the fame. She’s in it for something that most barrel racers start their career because of—a pure love for the athletes she rides in the arena.
“I do it because I absolutely love my horses,” Mowry said. “They’re my partners and I ask a lot of them. I feel like they love their job and we’ve got a good bond, so they try hard for me. That’s what it really comes down to. They just want to please me, and it just makes it fun when they’re like, your friends.’