Wenda Johnson
Photo by
Fernando Sam-Sin

By Ann Bleiker

Johnson and Hampton Win First Set of Reno Rodeo Spurs

The Reno Rodeo lived up to its tagline as the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West in both WPRA featured events during the 2021 edition. It was an electric finish for barrel racer Wenda Johnson and breakaway roper JJ Hampton as they collected their first set of Reno Rodeo spurs on Saturday night, June 27.

Johnson of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, entered the final round in the lead after turning in the fastest time in the second round stopping the clock in 16.85 seconds aboard MacGyver Moonflash and the second fastest in the first round in a time of 17.08 seconds. Hot on Johnson’s heels was three-time and reigning world champion Hailey Kinsel and her superhorse Sister, who finished second in the second round in a time of 16.97 seconds.

It was a showdown in the finals with Kinsel stopping the clock in a rodeo-best 16.74 seconds, with Johnson taking second in a time of 16.99 seconds. When the dust settled Johnson edge Kinsel by two one-hundreths of a second with a 50.92 on three runs to Kinsel’s 50.94 seconds. It was Johnson’s first set of prized Reno Rodeo spurs that is given to each event champion.

Johnson added $17,920 to her earnings and shot to No. 2 in the WPRA ProRodeo Standings heading into the busy Fourth of July run. Johnson has amassed earning of $49,688 at just eight (8) rodeos in 2021. Kinsel also made a big jump in the standings landing at No. 5 after adding $14,080 in Reno. Kinsel has collected $33,621 in 2021 at 34 rodeos.

The women’s breakaway roping was just as exciting in its inaugural year in Reno. It was a rodeo of a lifetime for 17-time WPRA World Champion JJ Hampton who dominated the event. Having just turned 50 the first of June, Hampton is seeing the fruits of her labor with women’s breakaway roping being a featured event at ProRodeos. She joined the WPRA in 1991 and won her first WPRA breakaway roping world title in 1995 but only dreamed of paydays like the one she experience on Saturday when the Reno Rodeo came to a close.

Hampton won the first round in a time of 2.7 seconds but really turned up the heat on the competition in the second round and finals stopping the clock in 2.0 seconds to win all three rounds en route to the average title with a total time of 6.7 seconds. Her closest competitor was No. 1 ranked Shelby Boisjoli who finished with a total time of 8.3 seconds on three head. Hampton left town with $7,819 and moved to No. 2 in the world standings.

“I live by it and die by it,” noted Hampton when asked about her go-for-broke style.

Although Boisjoli leads the way in the standings heading into Cowboy Christmas with $22,189 Hampton isn’t far behind with $19,563. No one was more excited to win Reno than Hampton and you can bet she has her eyes set on winning an 18th gold buckle.

Full coverage will be available in the August issue of the Women’s ProRodeo News.