Hailey Kinsel Proves Blonde Horses Have More Fun at $750,000 WRWC
By: Kendra Santos
The Triple Crown of Rodeo Round at the $750,000 Women’s Rodeo World Championship, which came to a climactic end last night at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, was nothing short of spectacular. And the three barrel racers who rose from the 10-woman Showdown Round to battle it out for the big bucks was another perfect illustration of what the World Champions Rodeo Alliance is all about. Three-time World Champion Barrel Racer Hailey Kinsel had to fight off two talented Texas teens who might be high school seniors, but did not back down in giving such a renowned rodeo royal a run for her money.
“What a race!” said an out-of-breath but beaming Kinsel, who ran back into the arena on her own two feet for an in-arena interview that will air June 5 with the rest of the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round presented by the Lazy E Arena on CBS Sports Network.
The twist here is that Hailey—who won three-straight world barrel racing crowns dated 2018-2020 aboard her now-notorious palomino mare Sister—took this $63,400 victory lap on the back of a different blonde bomber. Her name is Jules, and she’s owned by Hodges Farms’ Donna and Damon Hodges of Omaha, Texas.
“Jules deserves this, and I’m proud to be a part of her family,” said Kinsel, who’s a native of Cotulla, Texas and now lives in the Cowboy Capital of the World in Stephenville. “Donna and Damon raised her, and Janna Brown trained her. Jules is the story of a horse people believed in.”
The same can be said for Kinsel’s dream girl, Sister, who’s the legendary result of a mother-daughter collaboration between Hailey and her mom and #1 fan and supporter, Leslie. Kinsel has been a masterful manager of her four-legged pride and joy, and Jules is a welcomed addition to this very special horse herd.
“I’ve only ridden Sister at four rodeos so far this year,” said Kinsel, who noted that Sister and Jules are both granddaughters of Sun Frost. “I’ve ridden Jules and (her brown horse) TJ everywhere else. Donna and Damon thought maybe Sister needed a backup, and Jules has been amazing. She’s rock solid, and just keeps getting better and better.”
Literally. Hailey and Jules stopped the clock in 13.492 seconds to win the Showdown Round, and earn prime, top-of-the-ground position in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round. They turned on the afterburners to turn in the run of the rodeo when it mattered most, and 13.384 seconds later were the 2022 WRWC champs. Hailey’s pretty particular about where she participates, and her entering style definitely favors quality over quantity. Why the WRWC?
“To run at this much money—which is amazing—in a good set-up close to home is why we’re here,” said Hailey, who now has her first W toward the $1 million Triple Crown of Rodeo bonus that awaits any contestant who can win three-straight WCRA majors. “And I love that it’s not just top-loaded. It has to pay to place for all of us to make a living. I’m so glad it’s not $100,000 for first and nothing for second.
“I feel so fortunate to have come along in the bloom of rodeo. I got so lucky with the timing of my career and these great horses. And a win like this one will pay for a lot of diesel this summer.”
No one will benefit more than the two 18-year-old high school seniors from Llano, Texas—Laura Mote and Rainey Skelton—who finished second and third at the 2022 WRWC. Mote’s the daughter of four-time World Champion Bareback Rider Bobby Mote, who’ll be inducted with the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 this summer, and his wife, Kate, who also competed at the WRWC. Laura and her homegrown Reliance Ranches superstar steed Redbull earned $26,400 at the WRWC.
Rainey—who’s the daughter of ProRodeo Hall of Fame team roper Rich Skelton and his wife, Rhonda—and her flashy palomino mare, Jewels, won their second straight WRWC World Barrel Racing Championship in 2022, and also finished third at the WRWC for $19,820.
Hailey has a few more years and miles under her belt than Laura and Rainey, and all the pavement pounding that’s customary for all-in rodeo careers comes with wisdom and perspective to share with all talented up-and-comers.
“I’ve learned to be more and more thankful—in good times and bad,” Kinsel said. “And we all need to be thankful for opportunities like this one, because they really are too good to take for granted.”
Header Kylie McLean of San Tan Valley, Arizona, and header-turned-heeler-for-the-WRWC Megan Gunter of McCammon, Idaho, rocked both the Showdown and Triple Crown of Rodeo rounds with snappy runs of 7.02 and 6.65, respectively, to take the 2022 WRWC Team Roping Titles.
Texan Martha Angelone and Floridian Britta Strain had blazing matching 2.04-second runs in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round, and by virtue of a tie-breaking faster Showdown Round run—Martha’s 2.05 to Britta’s 2.29—Angelone was crowned the 2022 WRWC Breakaway Roping Champ.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had this much money in my life,” smiled Angelone, who won $63,471 at WRWC 2022. “We all have each other’s backs, and are cheering for each other every second. This is an amazing event for all of us.”
The money’s worth mentioning, as reserve champ Strain left with $27,971 and third-place Canadian cowgirl Jenna Dallyn cashed checks totaling $16,721. McLean and Gunter earned $63,300 apiece for first in the team roping, followed by Florida’s Tracey Nelson and Arizona’s Kaylee Billingsley at $31,300 each, and Texans Jackie Crawford and Annette Stahl, who were third and won $19,300 each, thanks to the WCRA’s belief in equal money for the two partners it takes to tango in rodeo’s only tandem event.
Hope Thompson had a lucrative $58,000 three days in Fort Worth, and struck as both the WRWC World Champion All-Around Cowgirl and the WRWC All-Around Titlist at the event. Hope T is now the winningest rodeo athlete in the WCRA’s brief history with a whopping $229,000. Oh, and have I mentioned that there were no entry fees at the WRWC? Remember the hashtag: #AllForRodeo. It’s for real.