By JimiBeth Myers
Behind the Scenes
Barrel Racers are Showered with Awards to Kick off 10 Days in Las Vegas
Each of the WNFR Qualifiers is used to bringing home rodeo prize money, since that is how they made it to the Finals, of course. Las Vegas has a lot of opportunities to win even more money with the WNFR pay off total up for grabs at $10 million. Hailey Kinsel comes into the Finals in the number one spot, and that will get her a $7500 check courtesy of the WPRA.
It's a good thing barrel racers come to Vegas in a truck and trailer because they definitely need space to get back home with the haul of awards and gifts they receive at the WNFR. Many of these are presented at the WPRA’s Star Celebration hosted on the morning of the first performance making for a very busy day for the contestants.
A custom 65’ YETI Tundra cooler has a retail value of $400 and holds cans and 52 pounds of ice, which is enough to keep the girls cool even on a long stretch like Cowboy’s Christmas over 4th of July. These are custom made with “WPRA” on the lid.
HorseWare: Custom horse coolers are a huge hit with the barrel racers. The cooler wicks moisture to helo keeo horses warm in cold weather. These custom-designed coolers have a picture of each Qualifier and their horse in competition, which make them functional and commemorative of their road down the rodeo trail to get to Las Vegas.
Wild Horse Wallz: Custom wall decals
The barrel racers can decorate a wall or make a claim on their gear with these decals made of a competition photo on a static cling wall decal. These are easy to apply and they are removable without causing damage to what they adhere too.
The WRPA provides the contestants with a saddle rack, Pop Up Barrels, Pencil Drawing by Krista Williams, Montana Silversmith Custom WNFR Knives, Cowhide Ottoman and foldable wagons to help haul their Star Celebration loot.
From WPRA Sponsors the girls get HorseWare custom horse coolers, Draw it Out Liniment,
Nutrena Certificates, Ultra Cruz, Flair strips, Resistol: Charlie 1 Horse Hat Certificates
YETI: Tundra Coolers, Wild Horse Wallz: Custom wall decals, Shefit Certificates, Justin Boots
Pro Champion Horse Gear purses, Tredit Tire – GoodYear Tire Certificates, Discount with WERM Flooring Systems. Additional items donated come from Race Today and Equilytes from Vetline out of Ft Collins, Colorado and Bex Sunglasses. The Rookie of the year was given Pop Up Barrels donated by Seventeen Flat.
Each contestant gets a Qualifier Saddle donated by a saddle maker or sponsor. All 15 saddlemakers’ names are put into a hat and each girl draws the saddle they will take home. A custom saddle rack is given to each qualifier, as well.
|Lenora Reimers Heritage Award||Chelle Wahlert|
|Lifetime Family Heritage Award||4L - Lowry Family|
|Media Award||Jolee Lautaret-Jordan|
|Medium Committee of the Year (added money of $5,001 - $9,999)||Mandan Rodeo Days|
|Mildred Farris Secretary of the Year||Sunni Deb Backstrom|
|NFR Lifetime Achievement Award||Florence Youree|
|Outstanding Individual Award||George Taylor|
|Outstanding Rodeo Committee Partner||RodeoHouston|
|Judge of the Year||Wade Berry|
|Small Committee of the Year (added money of $5,000 or less)||Linn County Fair & Rodeo|
|Corporate Partner of the Year||AIP|
|Stock Contractor of the Year||Barnes PRCA Rodeo - Marty Barnes|
AQHA Horses of the Year
Since 1989, the American Quarter Horse Association has partnered with the PRCA to recognize the top American Quarter Horses in the six rodeo timed events: Barrel Racing, Tie-down Roping, Team Roping – Heading, Team Roping – Healing, Steer Wrestling, Steer Roping.
Throughout the year anyone can nominate a horse for the AQHA Barrel Horse of the Year as only as it is registered with the AQHA in the current owner's name. Near the end of the regular WRPA rodeo season, the nominees are voted on by the Top 25 WPRA Barrel Racers. The second and third place winners are honored by the award, and the first-place winner receives a cash award and an AQHA bronze which is presented in Las Vegas during the NFR.
1. DM Sissy Hayday (“Sister”), rider: Hailey Kinsel; owner: Dan & Leslie Kinsel
2. KN Fabs Gift Of Fame (“JLo”), rider: Ivy Conrado; owners: Kenny Nichols & James Barron
3. Rafter W Minnie Reba (“Sister”), rider: Nellie Miller; owner: Sam Williams
Scoti Flit Bar Rising Star Award
The Scoti Flit Bar Rising Star Award was created by past NFR Qualifier Lana Merrick as a way of recognizing the year-long achievements of a horse that is making its first appearance at the National Finals Rodeo. Merrick qualified for the 1987 and 1989 NFR on her horse Scoti Flit Bar before losing him to a rare blood disease. The Top 15 barrel racers vote to bestow this award for one horse this year as a way to honor all the great ones that should never be forgotten.
Kylie Weast’s Hell on the Red who they call “Reddy” takes home the 2018 Scoti Flit Bar Rising Star Award. She is a 6-year-old by JL Dash Ta Heaven and out of Designer Ruby. Reddy is the granddaughter of Dynas Plain special, a mare that took Weast’s sister, Janae Ward Massey to a world title in 2003.
Keeping things in the family Kylie was on stage when her grandmother, Florence Youree, was awarded the NFR Lifetime Achievement Award. Florence was instrumental in getting barrel racing added to the National Finals Rodeo in 1967. In 2011, the WPRA presented the Youree family with a Lifetime Family Heritage in Rodeo award.
Having all of these family ties to the National Finals Rodeo and to the lineage of the horse that brought her here makes this a very special honor for Kylie.
Horse with the Most Heart
Each year the Top 15 Barrel Racers in the world vote on the Horse with the Most Heart award. Rodeo horses are all filled with heart and grit and it takes a lot of both to get to this level. Having your peers recognize your horse as having the most heart is such a touching honor.
This year DM Sissy Hayday (“Sister”) that brought Hailey Kinsel to Las Vegas in the number one spot was voted as Horse with the Most Heart. The 7-year old palomino mare is by PC Frenchmans Hayday and out of Royal Sissy Irish. Sister won the Scoti Flit Bar award last year at her first WNFR. Sister is also the 2018 AQHA Horse of the Year.