Reigning WPRA World Champion Jordon Briggs departed from her rodeo schedule and returned to her aged event roots to compete at the Lucky Dog Race with its Breeders Challenge qualifier in Memphis, Tennessee, May 5-8.
Briggs had two goals—get her World Champion Famous Lil Jet (“Rollo”) and her 5-year-old futurity horse KN So Bam Epic qualified for the Breeders Challenge Finale to be held later this summer just an hour from her Tolar, Texas, home.
Although she missed defending her Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo title, Briggs accomplished both her goals in Memphis and won $21,173 in the process!
“I was kind of bummed about not going to Guymon because it is such a cool rodeo,” she said, “but Man! I made a good decision! It was a great weekend and I was glad my plan played off that well.”
Briggs had only recently learned that Rollo, her 8-year-old Busby Quarter Horses-bred Dash Ta Fame, Blazin Jetolena gelding, was still derby eligible for the Royal Crown and Breeders Challenge incentive programs.
“Last year, I didn’t go to any (derbies) on him,” she noted. “First, I broke my ankle, so I couldn’t go to the two that were close to home that I could have qualified at. Then, my plans changed to just running him at the rodeos to make the NFR. I didn’t want to make any more extra runs on him.
“I’m a one track person. I set my goal and that’s my focus. I try not to overdo things.”
As the current World No. 1 with $93,896 banked before the summer run, Briggs decided to make her first trip ever to Memphis in hopes of qualifying for the Breeders Challenge.
“Having a pretty good start to the (rodeo) year, I felt like I could capitalize on the Breeders Challenge Finals if I could get qualified,” she said. “Memphis is the only one I could go to that wouldn’t be over some big rodeos this summer.”
Rollo delivered handsomely. He won the 98-entry, $1,000-added Lucky Dog Derby for $3,973, plus picked up $1,358 in open carryover earnings. His victory in the Breeders Challenge Derby sidepot was worth $3,906 with $1,172 of that total going to Bob and Darian Burt on behalf of their all-time leading sire Dash Ta Fame. Rollo also qualified in the Breeders Challenge Open, earning an additional $2,931 with $879 going to the Burts.
All totaled, Rollo won $12,168 for his two runs with $10,117 going straight into Brigg’s pockets as the gelding’s owner and nominator to the Breeders Challenge Program.
For reference, she won $5,300 this same weekend last year for splitting the win at Guymon with Hailey Kinsel.
Fast & Furious Futurity
Briggs also had a great showing with her futurity horse Bam in an extremely salty race. Less than 1/10th of a second separated the top three finishers in the aggregate. Briggs and Bam were third, just .093 back.
“In the futurity, I won third and second in the rounds and you would think that would get you first or second in the average most of the time! I won third!” she lamented. “It was a tough barrel race.”
The third-place finish in the $10,000-added Lucky Dog Futurity was worth $4,988 and the third-place qualification in the Breeders Challenge Futurity sidepot paid an additional $4,017 with $1,205 of that total going to Schiller Ranch, who own Bam’s sire Epic Leader.
All totaled, Bam won $9,005 with $7,800 going to Briggs.
Maybe It Was Memphis
Briggs wanted to thank the Lucky Dog crew for a great event.
“I’ve always heard great things about the Lucky Dog Races,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to go to one. The timing of everything worked out really well for that one.
“That’s a neat arena. It’s a perfect size. The barrels are set off of the fence so you don’t have to override or underride. The ground was really good.”
She also wanted to thank Lainie Whitmire with Breeders Challenge for personally being on hand to help with all her questions about the program.
“Stallion incentives can be confusing,” she chuckled. “I love that Lainie was there to answer questions. I like that Breeders Challenge gives you more options, more bang for your buck. If your horse gets hurt, you don’t lose out on all your nomination and entry fees for a one-time event.”
Now Briggs just has to figure out her summer plans, starting with the Reno Rodeo in Nevada.
“It’s kind of stressing me out to make the commitment to Reno because it is so far and diesel is so high right now, but we’ll see how it goes,” she said. “I’ll see how I feel the day the books open.”