2022 Resistol Rookie of the Year Buckle

By Josie Conner

WPRA photo by Weasel Loader – Dan Levosky

To tell you the truth I never thought I would have the opportunity to win a Resistol Rookie of the Year buckle… ever.

Until 2021, the only available women’s rookie of the year buckle was for a barrel racer.

Josie Conner

WPRA photo by Jackie Jensen

I love to rope; but rewind 10 years back as a kid I wanted to run barrels.

My dad quit buying me barrel horses when I turned 9 or 10 years old because he didn’t want me to want to become a WPRA barrel racer and live on the road.

My mom and I now think it’s funny how things worked out because he now drives me crisscrossing the United States on those same roads as a WPRA Breakaway Roper.

My journey to get this buckle was not an easy one; but I enjoyed it!

It took grit, determination, sweat, tears, broken bones & sacrifices.

It took my team of horses…both Tonka & Dutch and it took my entire family!

I love the people I have met, the different places I have been & the time I got to spend with my friends & family along the way!

This buckle represents one of the many doors that have opened for the breakaway ropers.

This buckle represents never quit working even in the face of adversity and be ready when the opportunity presents itself.

This buckle represents to never lose faith in your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ because he always has your back.

I am both proud and thankful for everything it took to get this buckle and everything this buckle represents.

WPRA Members

We want to hear about your most memorable buckle and the horse behind it all. Submit your story for a chance to be featured in the WPRA’s monthly publications as well as WPRA.com and social media channels. If your most memorable buckle is made by Montana Silversmiths, you’ll also receive a Custom Talking Feather necklace from Montana Silversmiths, engraved with your horse’s name on it to wear close to your heart.  

Please submit the following for your chance to be featured:

•   Your story – limit of 500 words

•   Photo of your Montana Silversmiths buckle

•   Action photo of you and your horse


WPRA Official Store

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Dream Becomes Reality

By Jimmie Smith

Photo by Kenneth Springer

8/15/2022—A dream is just a dream, and a goal is just a dream until you make it a reality.

In 2018, my goal was to win the WPRA Resistol Rookie of the Year.

Jimmie Smith

Photo by Kent Soule

In 2018, my goal was to win the WPRA Resistol Rookie of the Year.

Without knowledge of the rodeo road, I made it hard on myself and at the end of July I maybe had $10,000 won. Most people would laugh at you if you still told them “I want to win Rookie” with that amount won in July.

Jimmie Smith

Photo by Kenneth Springer

Once in the northwest, Lena On The Rocks found her winning streak and she was absolutely unstoppable. I knew if I did my job, she was going to win a check and even though we didn’t win first every time, we placed everywhere.  I placed 3rd at Ellensburg securing our spot for the Tour Finale in Puyallup, Washington, which at the time I had absolutely no idea what a big deal that rodeo was, I was just there to have fun!

I will never forget the day of the shootout round, after the team roping I looked over at Tess, my hauling partner and best friend, and said “oh my gosh they’re giving buckles.” No longer than an hour later, I won one of those legendary Puyallup buckles and clinched the Rookie of the Year title.

Looking back, I wish we could be as naive as we were back then, we were just there to ride our horse and have fun! I didn’t let that buckle out of my sight for the whole drive back to Texas.

As much as I love my Puyallup buckle, that’s not the one that tells the story.  My 2018 Resistol Rookie of the Year buckle is what tells my story.  Every time I put it on, I am reminded of what hard work and dedication can accomplish.  My not giving up that summer is why I get to wear my rookie buckle.

To this day I wear it, because it is still a reminder, “Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” Galatians 6:9.

I wish my great mare Lena could wear the buckle with me, because truly her heart is what got us through the summer, I had no back-up horse it was just me and Lena having fun!


The Only Buckle I Wear

Jimmie Munroe

Photo by Kenneth Springer

5/11/2022—The buckle I cherish the most is the one that I received for winning the 1975 GRA/WPRA World Championship in barrel racing. I owe it all to the amazing equine partner that I rode to accomplish it, Robin Flit Bar (Billy).

When I graduated from high school I was simply running barrels on one of my roping horses but was looking for something I could start on barrels and run at college rodeos. We went to look at this 5-year-old gelding and while I was riding him, my mother walked around and looked at the other horses.  When she came back, she insisted my Dad and I come and look at this 3 year old in one of the pens. We agreed he was nice looking, but I definitely didn’t need a young horse with only a few rides. On the way home all my mother could talk about was that three year old. She convinced my dad to ask what the seller wanted for both horses and we made a deal. 

I won the National Intercollegiate Barrel Racing Championship on Billy in 1974 and qualified for my first NFR that same year. In 1975, we won the National Intercollegiate Barrel Racing championship again along with the GRA/WPRA World Championship Barrel Racing title. He qualified six times for the NFR, and when I lost him in the summer of 1980, we were sitting number two in the world and had just had the best Fourth of July run I had ever had on him. I will always remember the way he ran that Fourth of July.  

Until I qualified for the NFR in 1974 and won the World in 1975, I had no plans to rodeo professionally. That horse and those two years propelled me into a 15-year career with 11 NFR qualifications. Billy literally changed the course of my life. I probably would have never married my husband of 41 years and I would have never served 20 years on the WPRA Board or had the opportunity to give barrel racing clinics all over the world. When I look at that buckle which is the only one I wear, I think of Billy and what he did for me.

Montana Silversmiths

431 South Cascade
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

(719) 447-4627
(719) 447-4631 (fax)

431 South Cascade
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

(719) 447-4627   |   (719) 447-4631 (fax)


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