By JimiBeth Myers
Behind the Scenes
A Haul of Amazing Awards and Gifts for Top 15
The WPRA barrel racers who qualify for the WNFR all have experience in bringing home rodeo prize money, which paved their road to Las Vegas. When they pull in to Las Vegas they get a lot of loot before they even run through the alley the first time. Tiany Schuster comes into the Finals in the number one spot, and that will get her a $7500 check courtesy of the WPRA.
The WNFR veterans advise the first timers to leave a stall open in their trailer to carry home all of the awards and gifts that they will get while in Las Vegas. 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.
Some highlights from the amazing gifts given to the Top 15
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.
A good set of trailer tires will also help them get down the road courtesy of Tredit Tire and Wheel Co.
Back on Track Sheets are a therapeutic horse sheets made with Welltex technology that many barrel racers use to help their horses when they have sore backs or tight muscles.
|Lenora Reimers Heritage Award||Pam Minick|
|Lifetime Family Heritage Award||Martha and R.E. Josey|
|Media Award||(tie) Barrel Horse News (Bonnie Wheatley) and Spin to Win (Chelsea Shaffer)|
|Medium Committee of the Year
(added money of $5,001 - $9,999)
|Rooftop Rodeo (Estes Park, Colo.)|
|Mildred Farris Secretary of the Year||Mikey Duggan|
|NFR Achievement Award||John Jamison|
|Outstanding Individual Award||Troy Weekley|
|Outstanding Rodeo Committee Partner||Calgary Stampede|
|Pro Official of the Year||Lynn Smith|
|Small Committee of the Year
(added money of $5,000 or less)
|Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo (Merrill)|
|Sponsor of the Year||Exiss Trailer|
|Stock Contractor of the Year||Cervi Championship Rodeo - Binion Cervi|
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. Rafter W Minnie Reba (Sister), rider Nellie Miller, owner Sam Williams
2. MCM Imasharpguy (Sharpie), rider Stevi Hillman, owners Matt and Bendi Dunn
3. Show Mance, owner/rider Tiany Schuster
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. Merick 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.
Hailey Kinsel’s DM Sissy Hayday, known as “Sister” took home this treasured award. She is a 6-year old Palomino Mare, Sire: PC Frenchmans Hayday, Dam: Royal Sissy.
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 Nellie Miller’s 9-year old blue roan mare known as Sister was voted as Horse with the Most Heart. She is out of KS Cash N Fame and Espuela Roan (dam). Sister was also the 2017 AQHA Horse of the Year.
Lenora Reimers Heritage Award
The Lenora Reimers Heritage Award is given annually to an individual or group that has been a longtime supporter of the WPRA and works to continue the heritage of the Association. This year's recipient is Pam Minick. Minick has worked tirelessly her entire life in supporting the WPRA as competitor, through her work in the media, during her time on the Board and her involvement with the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Pam says that one of her proudest contributions to the sport of rodeo is when she worked with former WPRA World Champion and President to get equal prize money for barrel racers.