Breakaway Horse of the Year-Williams Gladly Backs Baybe in a Corner
By Josie Fladager
Photo by Molly Morrow
Baybe Bullet, ridden by Joey Williams, is the 2022 Nutrena Horse of the Year presented by the American Quarter Horse Association. “Baybe” was bred, raised, and trained on the Williams’ family ranch.
Baybe has been particularly special to the Williams family, and Joey was thrilled to receive the news that her 11-year-old bay mare had caught the attention of her peers.
Baybe Bullet, Ridden by Joey Williams
Photo by Joe Duty
“I was literally just giddy about it,” Williams said with a laugh. “I called my husband right away and told him.”
Baybe’s resume is quite impressive. Until Joey started hauling harder this year in the breakaway, she and her husband Taylor shared Baybe. Joey said the mare switched effortlessly going back and forth between breakaway and team roping.
“I don’t think she’s ever once made a mistake going back and forth,” Joey said.
Originally Taylor’s main heel horse, the bay mare helped the team roper win three consecutive Montana Circuit Finals average championships in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
For Joey, Baybe won three go-rounds in their first trip to Las Vegas last year for the National Finals Breakaway Roping. The pair also clocked the fast time of the 2021 NFBR with 1.7 seconds in round four. This year, they won six rodeos, including Ellensburg (WA), San Juan Capistrano (CA), and Ogden (UT) to name a few.
“I’m just glad she’s getting the recognition she deserves,” Joey said. “I’ve always said she should be the one in the spotlight.”
The Williams family had high expectations for Baybe from the moment she was born. The mare has several older, full siblings that have done well in the rodeo arena, including header Clay Tryan’s J Lo that helped Tryan qualify for the 2021 NFR.
“We had high expectations for her from the time she was born, and she lived up to her expectations,” Joey said. “She was easy to break and easy to train.”
Baybe is by Frenchman’s Bullet, a stud previously owned by Taylor’s father, Bud Williams, and out of a mare with Cassidy Cassanova and Chicks Beduino on her papers. This makes Baybe unique amongst other NFBR horses, breaking the mold of the more common cow horse bloodlines.
“For a breakaway horse, she has quite a bit of run,” Joey said. “She’s a little unique that she has a little more running bloodlines, but it works for her.”
According to Joey, Baybe naturally stays consistently sharp behind a calf. Since there are not many events to go to during fall in Montana and work around their ranch keeps her busier, this is the only time of year that Joey will practice on Baybe.
“She’s just the type of horse that I can back in the corner knowing that if I do my job, we’re probably going to do well because I know she’s going to do hers. I don’t ever have to doubt that she’s going to do her job as long as I ride her like I need to,” Joey explained. “It’s a pretty special horse when you can have that type of confidence in them.”
Another aspect that makes Baybe unique is that she is relatively low maintenance. She gets grain and alfalfa when hauling in the summer and she mostly stays in shape from roping and light exercise. When they are home, Baybe gets to enjoy the perks of the family ranch.
“If we’re home, I turn her out and let her be a horse” Joey said. “That’s where she’s happiest, so I let her be a horse.”
Baybe finished ahead of Spots Lil Legend “Legend” ridden by No. 1 ranked Martha Angelone and Stylish Drifter “Dutch” ridden by rookie of the year Josie Conner.
Joey and Baybe will make their way to Las Vegas for the 2022 Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping presented by Teton Ridge November 29 & 30. They will ride into the South Point
Arena and Equestrian Center sitting 8th in the world standings with $63,678 won – mostly won on the 2022 Nutrena Horse of the Year, Baybe.
“It’s the ultimate honor for us,” Joey said. “I guess it would be pretty exciting no matter what, but when you raise and train your horses as a family, it’s pretty hard to beat an award like that.”
The top three horses are listed below.
1. BAYBE BULLET, “Baybe,” ridden by Joey Williams – owned by Taylor and Joey Williams
2. SPOTS LIL LEGAND, “Legend,” ridden by Martha Angelone – owned by Tanner Green
3. STYLISH DRIFTER, “Dutch,” ridden by Josie Conner – owned by Josie Conner
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