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Hailey Kinsel

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PHOTO BY
Greg Westfall

By Jolee Jordan


NFRKinsel Captures Hometown Rodeo Victory
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San Antonio, Texas—There’s a shootout going on in professional rodeo barrel racing this winter and its raging across Texas. Oregon cowgirl Amberleigh Moore and Texan Hailey Kinsel have duked it out across three major winter stock shows already, the most recent showdown happening February 24 during the Finals at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

The San Antonio Rodeo has been a force in professional rodeo for half a century. The rodeo first hosted a WPRA (Girls Rodeo Association (GRA) at the time) barrel race in 1962, adding a whopping $1,500 to make it one of the premier stops for professional barrel racers.

Fifty-six years later, the ladies of the WPRA are battling for a share of the $1.7 million total purse offered. Fifty cowgirls began the journey to a San Antonio title two weeks ago, navigating their way through five rounds of preliminary action of the tournament style rodeo. The pressure mounts with each run as ladies scrap for every dollar, the key to advancing to the next round.

Semi-Final 2

Before the big finale could begin, the field had to be set with the final five cowgirls to advance from the second semi-finals. The semi-finals are two runs and each round pays nearly $4,500; as with bracket competition, advancement is based upon total money won.

Ivy Conrado led the way into the semi-finals as the high money winner. The Colorado cowgirl clearly didn’t need the leg up that position gave her as she and the super smooth J-Lo won the opening round of semi-finals 2 on Thursday night. Her time of 14.00 was a tenth better than reigning San Antonio champion Moore.

Moore’s earnings bumped her to a solid position, third behind Conrado and Tillar Murray with one run to go. The final two spots were in the hands of Shelby Janssen and Sammi Bessert but the field was stacked tightly with just $3,269 separating Janssen in fourth from Taylor Langdon in tenth.

Two cowgirls whose time in San Antonio has resembled a roller coaster ride are Lisa Lockhart and Taylor Langdon. Lockhart qualified to the semi-finals after placing in two rounds of bracket competition but taking a no time in the third round. Langdon failed to place for two rounds of bracket competition before turning in a clutch performance in round three to advance to the semi-finals.

In the first night of semi-finals action, Langdon took costly barrel penalties while Lockhart, riding the super quick Rosa, held up to miss a penalty on the third can and ended up running too long for a check.

Both cowgirls needed a big performance in round two to make their way to the Finals and they got it.

Rosa and Lockhart ironed out the kinks in a big way, winning the go round with a 13.78 second run that was the third fastest of the rodeo; Langdon and her Louie broke fourteen seconds for the first time of the rodeo to win second.

Conrado finished as the high money winner with more than $10,000 so far while Moore became the second former San Antonio champion to make her way to the Finals, joining Kelly Bruner. Lockhart slid into third with Murray fourth and Langdon fifth, just $74 ahead of Janssen for the final slot into the Finals.

Finals

With the positions all assigned—and every preliminary bracket represented—the Finals got underway on Saturday night with the rodeo’s largest check, more than $15,000, on the line for the round winner. As it was throughout the rodeo, the most money won was key to being named the Champion.

Positions in the finals are drawn based on the competitor’s qualifying spot and the reigning champ, Moore drew first gunner. Moore and her mare Paige owned this pen a year ago, winning every go round en route to the title. In 2018, the pair advanced to the Finals without winning a single round, a fact they seemed determined to change as they charged the alley on the final night.

When the clocked stopped, Moore stood first at 13.83 seconds, tossing the gauntlet for the nine to follow to beat.

Carley Richardson came next but a little stumbled on the first turn cost her too much on the clock as she and Money finished at 14.31.

Idaho cowgirl Jessie Telford continued her remarkable San Antonio comeback as the third to run; Telford tipped barrels in her first two bracket rounds but roared back to place on the next three runs to punch her Finals ticket. With a blistering run on Saturday aboard Cool Whip, she ran into second place with a time of 13.88 seconds.

Lockhart was next, staying aboard the super catty Rosa. Unfortunately, the mare cut into the second too hard, knocking the barrel away and turning back without going around it, causing the pair to take a no time on the run.

Then came the Cotulla, Texas cowgirl who has built a well-deserved fan base in the last year as shown by the roar from the crowd at her introduction.

Kinsel’s winter showdown with Moore began back in Fort Worth where she finished second in the average to Moore by just one one-hundredth of a second. It continued last week in San Angelo where Moore again took the top spot while Kinsel was third.

But Kinsel had already set the arena record here in San Antonio a few nights back and her palomino mare Sister had won four of five rounds thus far.

As Sister hustled into the arena, she took the first turn a bit wide—but fans knew the mare could still cut off the clock. As the run ended, the time showed just how tough the WPRA barrel race can be . . . 13.85 seconds put her just behind Moore in the round.

Langdon followed but a barrel penalty dashed her hopes. Kelly Bruner ran next, the 2000 San Antonio Champ. Her big gelding Suzy ran out to 14 seconds flat, fourth at the time.

Tiany Schuster took her shot next and the field knew the lead was not safe for Moore. Schuster has already posted three times in the thirteens and Show Mance delivered again on Saturday night, this time going in at 13.90 seconds, moving her to fourth.

Next came Conrado, making her third consecutive appearance in the Final round here in the Alamo City. Riding the palomino mare J-Lo this time around, Conrado continued her consistency with a run of 13.98 seconds.

The round wrapped up with Tillar Murray and Commander. But the pair had a bit of trouble finding their footing around the first, putting them too long for the money at 14.29 seconds.

That left Moore with her first round win of the 2018 edition of the San Antonio rodeo but with Kinsel right behind her, the title went to the Texan by just over $1,466. The final round lived up to its billing—where only seven one-hundredths of a second separated the top four money winners.

As the Champions, Kinsel and Sister were the models of efficiency, the only cowgirls to run in the thirteens on all six runs. Her fastest time was the new arena record of 13.60 seconds and her slowest, a 13.90 for a round win in bracket competition.

“It’s been awesome,” Kinsel told the Wrangler Network immediately after the win. “I didn’t expect to do this well here, my first time here, but my horse liked it.”

“She kinda likes it anywhere so I’m proud of her.”

Kinsel took home one of the best prize lines in pro rodeo including the champion’s buckle and a $5,000 gas card. Sister was named the Animal Athlete for the barrel racing as well, worth an additional $1,500. With more than $58,000 won already this season, Kinsel will land second when the new WPRA World standings are released on Monday.

Moore earned better than $23,000 in San Antonio to continue her torrid trek through Texas. She has now won more than $60,000 in just six rodeos, holding her spot at the top of the heap in the standings.

Telford finished third with $15,498 after winning $7,500 in the final round, while Conrado banked more than $10,000 in fourth.

For more information on the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, visit them on-line at www.sarodeo.com.

Results

Semi-Finals #2

Round One

1. Ivy Conrado, KN Fabs Gift of Fame, 14.00, $4,459

2. Amber Moore, CP Dark Moon, 14.10, $3,344

3. Tillar Murray, Royal Star Commander, 14.15, $2,230

4. Jana Bean, Its Complicated, 14.16, $1,115

Round Two

1. Lisa Lockhart, Rosas Cantina CC, 13.78, $4,459

2. Taylor Langdon, Dashin Louie, 13.94, $3,344

3. Moore/Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Steele Magnolias, 14.02, $1,673

Total Money Won (Inc. Semi-Finals)

Conrado, $10,404*

Moore, $8,583*

Lockhart, $8,026*

Murray, $7,580*

Langdon, $5,128*

Shelby Janssen, $5,054

Sammi Bessert, $4,162

Pozzi Tonozzi, $3,753

Bean, $2,601

Kelly Tovar, $2,378

*Advance to Finals

Finals

1. Moore, 13.83, $15,092

2. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.85, $11,319

3. Jessie Telford. Famous Cool Whip, 13.88, $7,546

4. Tiany Schuster, Show Mance, 13.90, $3,773

5. Conrado, 13.98

6. Kelly Bruner, Suzytreisses, 14.00

7. Murray, 14.29

8. Carley Richardson, Flit Money, 14.31

9. Langdon, 21.10

10. Lockhart, NT

Total Money Won

Kinsel, $25,142

Moore, $23,676

Telford, $15,498

Conrado, $10,404

Bruner, $9,067

Richardson, $8,769

Schuster, $8,455

Lockhart, $8,026

Murray, $7,580

Langdon, $5,128

 

 

NFRKinsel Sets Arena Record in San Antonio
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San Antonio, Texas—To make things just a little easier on pro rodeo announcers, from this point on Hailey Kinsel’s name is changing to Hailey New Arena Record.

The Cotulla, Texas cowgirl has been making headlines for a year now with huge performances in the most pressure packed moments, whether it’s with $1 million or a National Championship or Gold Medal on the line, or under the bright lights of Las Vegas at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) on rodeo’s biggest stage. She ran the two fastest times ever seen inside the Thomas & Mack Arena last December, and the momentum gathered there carried her into the new season with a bang.

Already ranked fourth when she competed in San Antonio during the first of five preliminary brackets, Kinsel quickly added to that total, winning each of the three rounds of Bracket 1 to easily advance to the semi-finals.

The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is a tournament style event; 50 contestants began the journey, competing in one of five brackets. Only four from each bracket are still in contention as the first of two semi-final sets began on Tuesday night, February 20.

The pressure mounts with each round—only those with the most money will keep playing while the rest will go home. After each semi-final set, the top five money winners, which includes bracket money and semi-final money, advance to the Finals, setting up a 10 player final night for the Championship. All rounds are sudden death, no averages are paid and the only thing that matters is going as fast as possible each and every time down the alley.

In the nine days between her bracket and the first semi-finals, Kinsel went to the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, earning almost $10,000 in West Texas after finishing third.

Back in San Antonio, Kinsel entered the first of two semi-finals as the highest earner in the WPRA barrel racing, a key factor as advancement from one round to another here is determined by the amount of money accumulated.

The only cowgirl to break fourteen seconds on every one of her runs, Kinsel opened the two night semi-finals with a third place finish in what was the fastest overall round of the 2018 edition of the $1.5 million rodeo that has been voted the PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year for 13 consecutive years.

All four money earners on Tuesday broke into the thirteens with Wilderness Circuit cowgirl Jessie Telford leading the way.

“Sure was a fun ride tonight!” Telford posted on Facebook after putting a smoking fast 13.76 on the board. “Won the round and the fastest time of the San Antonio rodeo, so far! Love it when this horse make me feel fast.”

Telford and her horse Cool Whip got off to a slow start in her bracket, taking down barrels on the first two runs but have found their groove since, winning the third round in Bracket 2 along with the first round of semi-finals 1.

Much like Telford, Kelly Bruner struggled early in her bracket, Bracket 5, before picking up a huge round win on the final night to advance to the semi-finals. Also like Telford, she appears to be peaking at the right time, winning second behind the Idaho cowgirl with 13.83 seconds on her gelding Suzy. Kinsel followed with 13.88 and Tiany Schuster rounded out the money winners at 13.91.

Twenty-four hours later, Kinsel moved back to the spot the crowd has become used to seeing her in here in San Antonio . . . taking the victory lap for the fourth time in five runs.

Riding her lightning fast mare Sister, Kinsel stopped the clock at 13.60 seconds, breaking the previous arena record of 13.68 set back in 2013 by Sydni Blanchard.

“I grew up coming to this rodeo,” Kinsel said in a press interview following the performance. “We always bought tickets and it was a dream to just compete here. I felt like we had a pretty snappy run, but to set an arena record here, that’s pretty special.”

Bruner—the only former San Antonio champ competing in this semi-final set—finished second with a run of 13.95 seconds while Carley Richardson made it a three Texas cowgirl sweep of the top spots. Telford picked up another check in fourth on a night where five cowgirls took barrel penalties.

Kinsel has now earned better than $13,000 in San Antonio, easily moving on to the Finals. Bruner finished second in the group with $9,067 won in her last three runs while Richardson continued to be one of the most consistent runners this year; all five of her runs thus far have been within a range of six one-hundredths of a second.

Telford and Schuster also advance to the Finals to be held on Saturday night, February 24. Telford has earned close to $8,000, while Schuster’s total sits at $4,682.

Semi-Finals 2

The second semi-finals set begins on Thursday night, February 22 and is led by Ivy Conrado, who has been in the Finals here each of the last two seasons. Conrado won $5,945 in bracket competition en route to the semi-finals. The money earned in this group is closely stacked together with just over $4,000 separating all 10 contestants, less than the amount paid to the winner of each round during the semi-finals.

The group also includes the reigning San Antonio champion and current WPRA World standings leader Amberleigh Moore and 2017 WNFR competitors Tillar Murray and Lisa Lockhart along with two-time WPRA World Champ Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi. Three-time WNFR qualifier Jana Bean is on the schedule as well.

Go round winners within their brackets Sammi Bessert, Shelby Janssen and Kelly Tovar will be among the field as well as Taylor Langdon, who recently won the Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo in Odessa, Texas.

Finals

The Final round will be just one more run with the winner taking home a huge check worth $15,092. Once the payout from the final round is figured in, the San Antonio Championship will be awarded to the cowgirl with the most money won throughout the six runs. The winner earns bragging rights, a gorgeous buckle and an impressive line of prizes. The top Animal Athletes are also named.

For more information on the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, visit them on-line at www.sarodeo.com and stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates on the 2018 edition.

Results

Semi-Finals #1

Round One

1. Jessie Telford, Famous Cool Whip. 13.76, $4,459

2. Kelly Bruner, Suzytresseis, 13.83, $3,344

3. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.88, $2,230

4. Tiany Schuster, Show Mance, 13.91, $1,115

Round Two

1. Kinsel, 13.60, $4,459

2. Bruner, 13.95, $3,344

3. Carley Richardson, Flit Money, 14.08, $2,230

4. Telford, 14.13, $1,115

Total Money Won (Inc. Semi-Finals)

Kinsel, $13,823*

Bruner, $9,067*

Richardson, $8,769*

Telford, $7,952*

Schuster, $4,682*

Ericka Nelson, $3,567

Cassidy Kruse, $2,73

Tracy Nowlin, $2,378

Callahan Crossley, $1,784

Jane Melby, $1,784

*Advance to Finals

Semi-Final #2 (Thurs-Fri)

Name, Bracket, Money Won

Ivy Conrado, B2, $5,945

Tillar Murray, B2, $5,351

Shelby Janssen, B3, $5,054

Sammi Bessert, B4, $4,162

Lisa Lockhart, B1, $3,567

Amberleigh Moore, B5, $3,567

Kelly Tovar, B5, $2,378

Jana Bean, B3, $2,081

Brittany Pozzi-Tonozzi, B1, $2,081

Taylor Langdon, B4, $1,784

 

 

NFRField Set for Semis in San Antonio
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San Antonio, Texas—Just over a week ago, the 2018 edition of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo kicked off with 50 cowgirls seeking a share of the lucrative purse available. Fifteen performances later, the field has been narrowed to 20 as the rodeo enters its stretch run.

One of the huge winter stock show rodeos, San Antonio is a tournament style rodeo. The rodeo is divided into brackets of 10 contestants each and each bracket holds three rounds of preliminary competition. At the end of the third round, the top four money winners from the three rounds (no average money is figured or paid) advance to the Semi-Finals.

San Antonio is one of the highest paying rodeos of the season and has been voted the best Indoor Rodeo in the PRCA for 13 straight years; the total payout is more than $170,000 in the WPRA barrel racing.

Bracket competition wound up over the holiday weekend, setting the stage for the semi-finals beginning on Tuesday night, February 20.

Each of the two, 10-contestant semi-finals is comprised of two more rounds, paying more than the preliminary rounds and contestants again vie for round money to add to their bracket earnings. The five highest money winners from each semi-final will move on to the finals, February 24.

Because money won is critical to continuing advancement through the rounds at San Antonio, a big performance in her bracket can set a competitor up well as the rodeo progresses, making her path to the Finals and eventually, the Championship, that much easier.

Bracket 4

Sammi Bessert is well aware of how things run inside AT&T Center. She’s made the trip seven times previously and her great gelding Tommy seems to always shine here. Her 2018 trip will probably rank amongst her favorites, however, as just a few months ago, it look improbable that Tommy would return to the Alamo City.

“He got a hot nail that went really bad and infected his coffin bone,” Bessert says of her now 16-year old son of the legendary stallion Dash ta Fame. “This was his first rodeo back since August.”

Bessert was the only cowgirl in Bracket 4 to win a check in each of the three preliminary rounds. Bessert was fourth on the opening run with a smooth run of 14.11 seconds.

Running twice on Saturday, Bessert was part of a three way split during an extremely competitive second round in the afternoon with a time of 14.17 seconds.

Tommy saved the best for last, blasting a run of 13.84 seconds on Saturday night, the fastest run of the entire bracket. In fact, Bessert is the only cowgirl apart from Hailey Kinsel who ran in the first bracket, to break 14 seconds through the first four sets.

“I’m just so grateful to still have him and am having a hard time believing what he did this week,” Bessert notes. “He feels really good.”

“Dr. Beck at South Valley there in Salt Lake is the bomb.”

Prairie Circuit champion Tracy Nowlin won the first round aboard her good mare Dolly Jo, running a 14.02 to edge out AT&T Center arena record holder Sydni Blanchard.

Ericka Nelson and Friday took first in the round on Saturday, winning the shootout by one one-hundredth of a second over Bessert, Kathy Grimes and Jordan Moore.

Bessert handily advanced to the semi-finals once again, earning $4,162. Bracket 4 was the most competitive bracket thus far with eight of the 10 cowgirls competing earning a check. Nelson finished second after pairing her second round victory with a third place finish in the final round. She won $3,567.

Nowlin earned only the one check but the round win proved enough to move her on to the next round with $2,378 won.

The final spot was a toss-up with three ladies tied up at $1,784: Taylor Langdon, Kathy Grimes, and Jordan Moore. Langdon brought the clutch performance with a second place finish in the final round, running fast enough to earn the semi-finals spot with the single fastest time of the three cowgirls.

“Louie does it! We won second and made it back to the semi-finals,” Langdon wrote on social media after the big win. “Thankful for that little grey rocket.”

Langdon and Bessert were both in the Finals here in 2017, joining Ivy Conrado as the only cowgirls thus far to have a chance to get back to the Finals.

Bracket 5

The final bracket of preliminary competition looked amazing on paper with three of the top four cowgirls from the 2017 WPRA World standings set to compete including the reigning San Antonio champion Amberleigh Moore, who won every round here last year.

The competition lived up to the hype as seven different ladies won checks during the first two rounds on Sunday. In the afternoon, a performance in which several cowgirls ran into trouble, last year’s record setting cowgirl Tiany Schuster rose to the top aboard Show Mance.

Schuster stopped the clock at 13.92 seconds for the win, followed by Moore.

 

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Tiany Schuster
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NFR
Amberleigh Moore
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Running just a few hours later, Kelly Tovar bounced back from a tipped barrel in the first round for a stunning win at 14.01 with her phenomenal young horse Bakken.

“Bakken winning the round tonight in San Antonio, I can’t even express how thankful I am for this horse!” Tovar posted to Facebook afterwards. “I won this round on Edwin two years ago so this was really exciting for me! It’s been a long dry spell and I’m just thankful to God for this blessing!”

Likewise, reigning Canadian champion Carman Pozzobon jumped back into the fray on Sunday night; she also tipped a barrel in the afternoon, posting a sub-fourteen second time before the penalty, but came back that evening to win second behind Tovar.

With a tie at the top between Schuster and Tovar, and a three way split of third with Pozzobon, Moore and reigning WPRA World Champ Nellie Miller, the only cowgirl to place in both opening rounds, the field was wide open for advancement to the semi-finals as the final round began on Monday night.

The night did not begin well . . . running first on the ground, Tovar tipped the first barrel and then Bakken set up at the second. Trying to keep the gelding going forward, Tovar got tipped over the front end as the lightning quick gelding made the turn, eventually falling off to the right side. In a moment that caught everyone’s breathe in their throats, Tovar’s foot hung in the stirrup and she was drug all the way out of the arena and part way down the alley before her boot finally came off, freeing her from further damage.

“WellI I just want everyone to know that I am ok!” she posted online later with a good bit of self-deprecating humor.  “All I wanted was one more step on that second barrel and Bakken decided to turn and well, I didn’t! My foot hung in the stirrup my boot finally came off! Thanks for all the calls and text I’m ok, just bruised. I’ll be taking a deep seat next time! On a positive note we made the semi-finals!”

After such an ominous start, it took a few more barrel racers before things seemed to settle down—then it got tough.

After taking a no time in the first round and a barrel penalty on the next run, former San Antonio champion Kelly Bruner and her gelding Suzy shook off the pressure, posting the rodeo’s fastest time thus far at 13.80 seconds to win the go round.

Moore bounced back from hit barrels to land second with Schuster back in the money at third; both cowgirls ran under fourteen seconds. Pozzobon placed again, winning fourth.

Like Bracket 4, eight cowgirls in Bracket 5 picked up checks but Moore and Schuster landed on top of the heap at $3,568 each. Three cowgirls wound up tied for the final two positions in the semi-finals, the other two round winners Tovar and Bruner as well as Pozzobon who picked up a second and a fourth. All three had $2,378 in their pockets and the tie breaker goes first to round winners, leaving Pozzobon on the outside.

Semi-Finals

The first Semi-Final begins Tuesday night with the rodeo’s top winner in the barrel racing so far, Hailey Kinsel leading the way. With $7,134 already in the bank, Kinsel has a great chance to move on to the Finals. Also competing in the first semi-finals are Carley Richardson, Ericka Nelson, Schuster, Cassidy Kruse, Jessie Telford, Bruner, Tracy Nowlin, Jane Melby and Callahan Crossley.

Each cowgirl gets two more rounds, this time paying $4,459 a round. Following Wednesday night’s rodeo, the field will be narrowed in half to just five ladies moving into Saturday night’s Finals.

For more information on the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, visit them on-line at www.sarodeo.com and stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates on the 2018 edition.

Bracket 4

Round One

1. Tracy Nowlin, DJG Madison, 14.02, $2,378

2. Sydni Blanchard, Mr Famous Jess, 14.08, $1,784

3. Sabra O’Quinn, Bring It On Guys, 14.10, $1,189

4. Sammi Bessert, Terrible Tommy Twist, 14.11, $595

Round Two

1. Ericka Nelson, Goodfrenchmanfriday, 14.16, $2,378

2-3-4. Bessert/Kathy Grimes, KG Justiceweexpected/Jordan Moore, CCR Ring of Fire, 14.17, $1,189

Round Three

1. Bessert, 13.84, $2,378

2. Taylor Langdon, Dashin Louie, 14.04, $1,784

3. Nelson, 14.06, $1,189

4. Grimes, 14.16, $595

Total Money Won

Bessert, $4,162*

Nelson, $3,567*

Nowlin, $2,378*

Langdon, $1,784*

Blanchard, $1,784

Grimes, $1,784

O’Quinn, $1,189

Moore, $1,189

*Advance to Semi-Finals

Bracket 5

Round One

1. Tiany Schuster, Show Mance, 13.92, $2,378

2. Amberleigh Moore, CP Dark Moon, 14.14, $1,784

3. Nellie Miller, Rafter W Minnie Reba, 14.16, $1,189

4. Stevi Hillman, Cuatro Fame, 14.20, $595

Round Two

1. Kelly Tovar, A Dash ta Glamour, 14.01, $2,378

2. Carman Pozzobon, Ripn Lady, 14.12, $1,784

3. Michele McLeod, Slick by Design, 14.24, $1,189

4. Miller, 14.26, $595

Round Three

1. Kelly Bruner, Suzytresseis, 13.80, $2,378

2. Moore, 13.95, $1,784

3. Schuster, 13.97, $$1,189

4. Pozzobon, 14.11, $595

Total Money Won

Moore, 3,567*

Schuster, $3,567*

Tovar, $2,378*

Bruner, $2,378*

Pozzobon, $2,378

Miller, $1,784

McLeod, $1,189

Hillman, $595

*Advance to Semi-Finals

Semi-Final #1 (Tues-Wed)

Name, Bracket, Money Won

Hailey Kinsel, B1, $7,134

Carley Richarson, B3, $6,540

Ericka Nelson, B4, $3,567

Tiany Schuster, B5, $3,567

Cassidy Kruse, B3, $2,973

Kelly Bruner, B5, $2,378

Tracy Nowlin, B4, $2,378

Jessie Telford, B2, $2,378

Callahan Crossley, B2, $1,784

Jane Melby, B1, $1,784

Semi-Final #2 (Thurs-Fri)

Name, Bracket, Money Won

Ivy Conrado, B2, $5,945

Tillar Murray, B2, $5,351

Shelby Janssen, B3, $5,054

Sammi Bessert, B4, $4,162

Lisa Lockhart, B1, $3,567

Amberleigh Moore, B5, $3,567

Kelly Tovar, B5, $2,378

Jana Bean, B3, $2,081

Brittany Pozzi-Tonozzi, B1, $2,081

Taylor Langdon, B4, $1,784

 

 

NFRRichardson Rockets to top of Bracket 3 in San Antonio
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San Antonio, Texas—San Antonio, Texas—Competition continued this week at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and in the WPRA barrel racing, it was Money and love during Bracket 3.

San Antonio is one of the most lucrative events on the WPRA schedule with a purse of $171,500 and is limited to just 50 cowgirls. Positions are determined by both previous and current WPRA World standings as well as the 2017 WPRA Tour standings.

The 50 competitors are divided into five brackets for the tournament style rodeo. Each bracket has three rounds and there are no averages paid. The top four money earners from each bracket advance to the semi-finals, where they get two more rounds to earn as much money as possible.

Following the final round of the semi-finals, the top five from each group advance to the Finals, to be held February 24. With a whopping payout of more than $15,000 to the fastest runner in the final round, that’s where the Championship is decided, based on the top money winner from all six runs.

Bracket 3 ran during the week, February 13-15, encompassing Valentine’s Day during the middle round.

Texas cowgirl Carley Richardson is a veteran of two Wrangler National Finals Rodeos but missed rodeo’s Super Bowl in 2017. She has been back on the rodeo trail with a vengeance in the early going of the big winter run in 2018.

Richardson entered San Antonio already sixth in the WPRA World standings after winning the Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo last fall and third in Denver at the National Western Stock Show last month with her tough gelding Flit Money, aka Money.

Money proved to be money once again in San Antonio, taking the win in both the first and second rounds of Bracket 3. Richardson easily clinched the victories with times of 14.08 and 14.06, respectively.

Running right behind Richardson on the first two nights was new mom Shelby Janssen. Janssen welcomed her son, Rankan, to the world in November; now Rankan is watching his mom and dad—PRCA saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell—win at pro rodeos.

“Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone,” Janssen posted to Facebook after the second round. “I am so blessed we got to spend it as a family at San Antonio. Rankan also turned 3 months old today. Time is going way too fast.”

Janssen split second in round one with Wrangler NFR cowgirl Jana Bean while she was third behind Richardson and comeback cowgirl Cassidy Kruse in round two.

Kruse’s money-winning run on Valentine’s Day was extra special as it came aboard her great gelding JJ, who carried her to the Wrangler NFR back in 2015, winning the first go round.

“For everyone that knows JJ, this run means the world to all of us!” Kruse posted on social media, revealing that JJ had been sidelined with injury for most of 2017. “This is his first run back at a rodeo in 7 months! It’s been a roller coaster to get him healed up and ready to roll again, but he’s back! There are so many people that have helped me to get him here and I can’t thank you all enough.”

Richardson and Janssen looked to be shoe-ins to the next rounds as the final night of Bracket 3 kicked off on Thursday night, but who would capture the other two positions in the semi-finals?

Great Lakes Circuit Champ Lacinda Rose had picked up two checks but a downed barrel—which cost her the round win—ended her 2018 San Antonio run as the first to compete on Thursday. Four-time WPRA World Champion Sherry Cervi, who also has a pair of San Antonio titles on her impressive resume, put up a fight on the final night, earning a check for fourth in the round.

As it turned out, Richardson and Janssen dominated again, as Janssen won the night. It was extra special as Sundell also claimed the round win in his signature event, his third win of the Bracket, allowing the entire family to advance to the next round.

Janssen’s 14.05 edged past Richardson’s 14.11 in the go round.

Kruse was the clutch performer, sliding into third on the final night to punch her ticket to the next go round.

Richardson topped the bracket at $6,540 while Janssen earned $5,054. Kruse took third with $2,973 and Jana Bean’s check of $1,486 for splitting second in the first round proved enough to move the Texas cowgirl on to the semi-finals.

The final two Brackets of preliminary competition begin with Bracket 4, held on Friday, February 16 and ending with a pair of performances on Saturday, February 17 while Bracket 5 wraps things up with two rounds on Sunday, February 18 and ending on President’s Day, February 19. Among the competitors yet to take their shot are three past San Antonio champs [Amberleigh Moore (2017), Michele McLeod (2016) and Kelly Bruner (2000)] and six of last year’s finalists (Taylor Langdon, Sabra O’Quinn and Sammi Bessert (B4); Moore, Kathy Grimes, Nellie Miller (B5).

Competitors in Bracket 4 also include circuit champion cowgirls Tracy Nowlin, Jordan Moore and Lori Todd along with reigning Canadian champ Carman Pozzobon, and three time Wrangler NFR cowgirl Sydni Blanchard, who happens to be the arena record holder here in San Antonio. They’ll be joined by newcomer Jodi Colton and perennial top competitor Ericka Nelson.

The final bracket includes two WPRA World Champions, Mary Walker and Nellie Miller, the reigning champ from 2017. The reigning San Antonio champ is also on the schedule, Moore, who set a record in 2017, winning every round of competition inside AT&T Center.

McLeod and Bruner are set to appear in Bracket 5 along with last year’s record setting regular season earners, Tiany Schuster and Stevi Hillman. The competition is rounded out by top Canadian competitor Kirsty White and the always tough Kelly Tovar.

For more information on the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, visit them on-line at www.sarodeo.com and stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates on the 2018 edition.

Bracket 3

Round One

1. Carley Richardson, Flit Money, 14.08, $2,378

2/3. Jana Bean, Sign of Frost/Shelby Jannsen, Famous Amous, 14.25, $1,486

4/5. Jaime Hinton, OJS Tex Wood/Lacinda Rose, RR Meradas Real Deal, 14.26, $297

Round Two

1. Richardson, 14.06, $2,378

2. Cassidy Kruse, JKR Assured Win, 14.09, $1,784

3. Janssen, 14.18, $1,188

4. Rose, 14.23, $594

Round Three

1. Janssen, 14.05, $2,378

2. Richardson, 14.12, $1,784

3. Kruse, 14.20, $1,189

4. Sherry Cervi, MP Del Rey, 14.31, $595

Total Money Won

Richardson, $6,540*

Janssen, $5,054*

Kruse, $2,973*

Bean, $1,486*

Rose, $891

Cervi, $595

Hinton, $297

*Advance to Semi-Finals

 

 

NFRKinsel Sweeps Bracket 1 in San Antonio
NFR

 

Logo

San Antonio, Texas—Stock Show season is well underway for rodeo competitors, meaning a chance to earn big dollars early in the year, money that can propel them to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) and even to world championships.

With the National Western in Denver as well as the Fort Worth Stock Show in the books, eyes turned to south Texas for the next stop, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, celebrating its 68th year in 2018.

Unlike the others, San Antonio is limited to just 50 contestants in each event and runs in tournament style, beginning with five brackets of preliminary competition, each made up of ten athletes. Following three rounds of sudden death competition, the top four money earners from those three go rounds advance to a two-round semi-finals.

Though no times carry forward, money earned does and advancement to the final round is based on total money won from the brackets and two rounds of semi-finals. The final round is comprised of the top five money winners from each semi-finals for a total of ten competitors.

The final round will be held on February 24 and is the most lucrative go round of the rodeo, paying more than $15,000 to the winner. Following the payoff from the final round, the championship is awarded to the cowgirl who has won the most money throughout the rodeo.

Bracket 1

Hailey Kinsel lived out the most amazing Cinderella story in 2017. The Cotulla, Texas cowgirl appeared from relative obscurity to win RFD-TV’s The American almost exactly one year ago, earning $433,000 in a single afternoon.

She and the great palomino mare she calls Sister went on later that summer to claim a college national title and a gold medal at the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games en route to her first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR). Once there, she ran the two fastest times ever run inside the Thomas & Mack, earning $190,000 in ten runs.

Kinsel’s fairy tale season ended with a WPRA Reserve World title and barrel racing earnings for the year of nearly three quarters of a million dollars between all events.

Now a household name amongst barrel racing and rodeo fans, Kinsel hit the 2018 season at full speed, winning a go round at the National Western Stock Show in Denver and finishing second in Fort Worth by just one one-hundredth of a second.

Already fourth in the WPRA World standings, Kinsel took her shots in San Antonio for the first time in her career as she was not qualified into the major winter rodeos in 2017.

It didn’t take her or Sister long to make themselves at home inside AT&T Center. The pair won the opening night of the rodeo while participating in Bracket 1 on February 8. Their time of 13.86 was more than two tenths ahead of Lisa Lockhart and her mare Rosa.

“I have always wanted to run at San Antonio! It was one of my biggest dreams growing up, and the closest thing to a 'hometown rodeo' for me,” Kinsel wrote on Facebook following the first round. “Sister not only made our first run here a great experience, she won the round. Thank you to my family and friends for coming out. Such a tough group of girls in this set. Looking forward to our next two runs. Thank you Sis.”

Kinsel kept the fire burning bright on the following two runs, breaking fourteen seconds on every run to sweep the bracket clean. She earned $7,134 to easily march into the next round.

Lockhart moved on as well, thanks to a pair of second place finishes despite an oops on the second night that left her with a no time. The two-time WPRA Reserve World Champ won $3,567 on her newest speedy buckskin horse.

WPRA World Champ Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi and Jane Melby rounded out the qualifiers to the semi-finals from Bracket 1. Pozzi Tonozzi rode her mare Steeley to a pair of checks worth $2,081, while Melby and Perks Pazazz punched their ticket with a second place finish in round two.

Bracket 2

Another first time Wrangler NFR qualifier from 2017 led the way as Bracket 2 got underway on Saturday night, February 10. Tillar Murray rode her own freakishly fast pony, Commander, to the round win with a time of 14.22 seconds.

Ivy Conrado finished second on the opening night of Bracket 2 and she and the palomino mare J-Lo switched positions with Murray in round two on Sunday afternoon. Conrado took the win with a time of 14.04 to leave the cowgirls tied up with one round to run.

As much as Kinsel dominated Bracket 1, Bracket 2 was a shootout with three different ladies taking victory laps. After hitting barrels two straight runs, Wilderness Circuit cowgirl Jessie Telford righted the ship just in time for her final shot as Bracket 2 concluded on Monday night, February 12.

Telford and Cool Whip stopped the clock at 14.11 for the win. Conrado and Murray stayed solid, right on her heels at 14.16 and 14.20, respectively.

With all three rounds completed, Conrado was determined the high money winner from the bracket, easily moving on to the semi-finals as she seeks her third straight appearance in the Finals here in the Alamo City.

“I'm just proud of her!” said Conrado of the nine year old mare whom she pilots for owners Kenny Nichols and Dale Barron. “She has a tendency to get faster with more runs but I've been taking it easy on her after Vegas. We were one out of the short round at Denver & Fort Worth so I was just pumped she got back to firing!”

Conrado banked $5,945 with Murray earning $5,351. Telford’s round win was enough to punch her ticket to the semi-finals while Columbia River Circuit Finals Champ Callahan Crossley won out on a tie-breaker for the final position for advancement over Nicole Laurence. Both cowgirls earned $1,784 but Crossley earned the semi-finals spot as she turned in the single fastest run, her 14.27 in round two edging Laurence’s 14.29 from round three.

Next Up

Bracket 3 will contest in evening performances Tuesday through Thursday with former WPRA Rookie of the Year Jackie Ganter, 2017 Canadian Finals Rodeo Champ Jaime Hinton, four-time WPRA World Champ and former San Antonio winner Sherry Cervi, WNFR qualifiers Nikki Hansen, Carley Richardson, Jana Bean, Cassidy Kruse as well as circuit champions Lacinda Rose and Kim Schulze and standout Shelby Janssen scheduled to compete.

For more information on the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, visit them on-line at www.sarodeo.com and stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates on the 2018 edition.

Bracket 1

Round One

1. Hailey Kinsel, DM Sissy Hayday, 13.86, $2,378

2. Lisa Lockhart, Rosas Cantina CC, 14.10, $1,784

3. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Steele Magnolias, 14.19, $1,189

4. Carmel Wright, Fortunes Last Xtrem, 14.35, $595

Round Two

1. Kinsel, 13.90, $2,378

2. Jane Melby, Perks Pazazz, 14.15, $1,784

3. Pozzi Tonozzi/Kassie Mowry, Girls Dig Fame, 14.17, $892

Round Three

1. Kinsel, 13.84, $2,378

2. Lockhart, 14.04, $1,784

3. Wright/Tammy Fischer, LK Sheza Hayday, 14.32, $892

Total Money Won

Kinsel, $7,134*

Lockhart, $3,567*

Pozzi Tonozzi, $2,081*

Melby, $1,784*

Wright, $1,486

Fischer/Mowry, $892

*Advance to Semi-Finals

Bracket 2

Round One

1. Tillar Murray, Royal Star Commander, 14.22, $2,378

2. Ivy Conrado, KN Fabs Gift of Fame, 14.39, $1,784

3. Nicole Laurence, Bully's Little Dash, 14.40, $1,189

4. Callahan Crossley, Brownie Bi Bogie, 14.48, $595

Round Two

1. Conrado, 14.04, $2,378

2. Murray, 14.19, $1,784

3. Crossley, 14.27, $1,189

4. Emily Miller, Namgis D56, 14.37, $595

Round Three

1. Jessie Telford, Famous Cool Whip, 14.11, $2,378

2. Conrado, 14.16, $1,784

3. Murray, 14.20, $1,189

4. Laurence, 14.29, $595

Total Money Won

Conrado, $5,945*

Murray, $5,351*

Telford, $2,378*

Crossley, $1,784*

Laurence, $1,784

Miller, $595

*Advance to Semi-Finals

 

 

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