By Ann Bleiker
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Hailey Kinsel took home the biggest haul of any contestant at the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo inside Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Kinsel of Cotulla, Texas, aboard DM Sissy Hayday took home their third consecutive world title, becoming the first WPRA contestant to do that since ProRodeo Hall of Famers Kristie Peterson and Bozo. She captured her first average NFR title in a total time of 170.95 on 10 rounds. She set a record on a WPRA standard pattern with a time of 16.56 seconds and she won more money than any contestant at the NFR with $270,615 to win her first Ram Top Gun Award. Saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright was second with $247,135. Kinsel broke her own NFR earnings record from 2017 when she won $189,385 en route to her first world title.
“It takes a great horse, a little bit of luck and a whole lot of faith,” said Kinsel of what it takes to be so fast but also win the average title over 10 rounds. “It is a blessing every run. It is always a blessing to get on her and to have her be so perfect every time I ask her to be. It was awesome.”
Barrel racers don’t normally take a victory lap aboard their barrel horse but after the week Sister has turned in Kinsel thought it was only fitting she get the credit she deserved and she received a standing ovation.
“I loved it,” said Kinsel of the victory lap and standing ovation. “That horse deserves all the credit and she deserves a victory lap every time, not that I can keep doing that. But it was dang sure good for a day."
Stevi Hillman and Sharpie turned in her fastest time of the week to win the 10th round in a time of 16.79 seconds, while Kinsel was a close second in 16.88 seconds. The only two ladies to break the 17-second mark in the round. Jill Wilson finished second in the average race at her first Wrangler NFR with a total time of 174.10.
Kinsel finished the year with $349,076 falling just $1,624 short of her record for most money won in a year, which she holds from 2018 with $350,700. Not bad given the abbreviated season due to COVID-19.
“This year in so many ways had looked like it was not going to be something worth taking pictures of or remembering at the end of it,” said Kinsel of her 2020 season. “I am so grateful not just to be here right now but for the entire journey. The phrase God turns graves into gardens, the same God that has been with me in the valleys and I feel like she..Sis..is the prettiest flower in my garden right now. She means the world to me, so I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Tiany Schuster won the 2020 Jerry Ann Taylor Award presented by the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Schuster will now have her name added to the plaque that hangs in the Hall and will take home $5,000. The last time Schuster qualified for the NFR in 2017, she finished second in the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award voting.
Recap of Hailey Kinsel records:
- WPRA Standard Pattern Record and Fast time for 2020 NFR – 16.56 seconds
- Wrangler NFR Earnings Record: $270,615
- First Barrel Racer to win world title, average title, Top Gun award and fast time in same year