Hailey Kinsel

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Greg Westfall

Record Night for Kinsel

By Amy Wilson

Saturday night at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo saw the arena record broken…twice! Kassie Mowry and FirewaterMakeMeHappy “Junior” set the pace for the night with a beautiful and record-fast run of 13.36 seconds, besting the former fast time of 13.37 which was set by Taylor Jacob in 2013 and Amberleigh Moore in 2016. But, Mowry’s record only held for one run. Hailey Kinsel and DM Sissy Hayday “Sister” were third out and astonished everyone when the clock stopped at 13.11 seconds.

As Kinsel was trying to gather her thoughts, she said, “My horse was awesome tonight. She was all kinds of focused – it was just a different kind of night. I could tell she was ready to do something, I just didn’t know it was going to be that.”

Kinsel had placed third in the first two rounds. What was the difference in shaving over a half second off her previous times? “My third barrel – I turned it, which was good,” she said laughing. “I’ve been kind of going by it a little hitting the ground. She’s got the feel of things now, smoked her first barrel, and I felt like I rode better and let her work more so I think I gave her a better opportunity to do what she does.”

Kinsel explained what took place before she ran into the Thomas and Mack. “I get pretty focused and calm. My mom and I pray in the alleyway. I had actually heard Kassie’s time, and I was very aware of what was going on. I sometimes recite scripture as I’m going in the alleyway.

It calms me and helps me focus, and lets me relax so she’ll relax.” She also talked about how much it means to her to have the support of her mom Leslie. “It is awesome. I wouldn’t be here without her obviously. She’s taken care of the horses during the day, and doing everything to make Sis and everybody else feel great. That gives me peace of mind throughout the day. It’s a team effort for sure. She is definitely the reason I’m here.”

When talking about her 6 year-old palomino mare, Kinsel pointed out that this is only Sister’s second year barrel racing. Trained by Kinsel and her mom, Sister is also sentimental to her. “She’s by Dinero, who is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve loved watching Sherry on him growing up, so it’s a blessing to have Sister from him. And, I had an older half-sister to Sister that passed away earlier this year, the week after The American, and she was the reason I bought the mare. So it was a super emotional time for me, but it’s so much fit together more than I would have ever expected it to. It’s God’s timing, not mine.”

Coming into the Wrangler NFR, Kinsel didn’t have any expectations except to focus on one run at a time and enjoy each rodeo. “It’s like we’re going to 10 rodeos, 10 days in a row. I was excited about it, and I wanted to just let my horse work.” She continued, “I knew she was capable of being here and you never know exactly what they’re capable of until they show you. It’s kind of exceeded all my expectations – this whole year has.”

Kinsel is first in the average, has already won $67,538 at the Wrangler NFR, and now holds the arena record. As she continues to live a real-life fairy tale, Kinsel said, “This is one night I won’t ever forget.”

She also complimented Mowry and the other phenomenal runs in Round 3, and showed her appreciation for the ground conditions by saying, “Obviously hats off to the grounds crew.”

Amberleigh Moore, who was 15th on the ground finished in third place with a run of 13.57 seconds. Ivy Conrado ran a 13.59 to place fourth in the round and currently sits third in the average. Nellie Miller earned fifth place with a time of 13.66 seconds. She is second in the average. Lisa Lockhart rounded out sixth place in an incredibly tough round with 13.67 seconds.

Tiany Schuster
Photo by Dan Hubbell

Tiany Schuster continues to hold the lead in the world standings heading into the fourth round.