A Race to the Wire: NFR Round 8 Cheat Sheet

11x Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion Barrel Racer Charmayne James shares her impressions from Round 7 and what to look for in Round 8.

Photographs by Jamie Arviso

11x Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion Barrel Racer Charmayne James shares her impressions from Round 7 and what to look for in Round 8.

Charmayne James needs no introduction in the world of barrel racing. She’s ridden many different horses down the alley at the Thomas & Mack Center arena, most famous among them the legendary “Scamper” (Gills Bay Boy). She’s been kind enough to share her thoughts with Barrel Racing Magazine as we continue tracking the most exciting 10 days of the year in rodeo.

Get caught up on the WPRA world standings, average standings and Round 7 results HERE

World Standings Leader Hailey Kinsel

Charmayne’s take: I knew we’d see Hailey and Sister getting a round win, and it’s good odds that we will see it again, especially with her being second out tonight. With last night being Military Night and knowing she was riding in honor of Sergeant Nicole Gee, who was killed in Kabul, you know Hailey probably had angels riding with her. I loved Hailey’s interview after her run when she was asked about not winning a round sooner. Her comment that she’s human and her horse is a horse just show that she’s not letting everyone else’s expectations get to her. She’s got her head on straight, she’s got good energy and she and Sister are truly a phenomenal team that’s perfectly in sync. Hailey’s won $100,000-plus already and is second in the average in what’s been such a great horse race to watch.

No. 2 Jordon Briggs

Charmayne’s take: Jordon and Rollo make that same solid, fast run every night. It’s awesome. Jordon rides so correct, her horse is really running and working. She’s a good one to watch because she stays square in her saddle and her horse hits his points through each turn. They’re going to go out and keep making those same great runs, plus they’re up two spots on the ground tonight. If Hailey were to stub her toe, Jordon’s right there—it’s a race for sure.

Briggs and Rollo were rock-solid with a 13.57 for second in Round 7.

No. 3 Emily Miller-Beisel

Charmayne’s take: Emily was a 13.59 for third in the round and she’s third in the average. Her first and second barrels were great, then she got a little tight at third and it looked like Chongo stepped out leaving it or she’d have very well won another round. Chongo is clocking and she’s riding him awesome, they’ve won more than $87,000 here already.

On the bottom of the ground Beisel and Chongo were third with a 13.59.

No. 4 Shelley Morgan

Charmayne’s take: Shelley and Kiss were super solid in the round. Kiss is a phenomenal horse and Shelly’s in perfect rhythm with her. I look for her to keep placing and she’s right there for things to come together for a round win too; you can’t count her out.

Morgan and Kiss cut the clock off with a time of 13.61 for fourth.

No. 5 Dona Kay Rule

Charmayne’s take: Valor and Dona Kay overshot first again and were still a 13.82. He’s just a freer type of horse and it’s a little more difficult to get that blind first barrel set up perfectly, but by the same token, he’s so fast that they’re always going to be a threat for a round win.

No. 6 Amanda Welsh

Charmayne’s take: Amanda and Firefly were 10th out and made a great run. They were just a tenth out of placing in another real wolfy round. If she can turn the speed up a notch without getting strung out or too wild, she’s got every chance in the world to place again or win another round as she moves up on the ground.   

No. 7 Stevi Hillman

Charmayne’s take: Stevi’s horse had two little slips and still won fifth. That horse is just flat getting with it, she turns hard and runs fast. Young, dynamic horses like Lemon Drop are super fun to watch. You’ll see older horses that learn they don’t like those slips so they start to slow down and take care of themselves a little.

Hillman and Lemon Drop were fifth with a 13.65.

No. 8 Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi

Charmayne’s take: Brittany got back on Katniss and hit second. I hate that for her. Runs like that can get you kind of deflated, but if anybody can regroup and come back for a win, it’s Brittany. She’s a confident person and she knows she can do it.

No. 9 Wenda Johnson

Charmayne’s take: Wenda got by first in Round 6 and came back and nailed that turn last night. Unfortunately, she caught second. Tonight, I look for Wenda to come back strong. She and Moe are always a threat for a round win. Moe is just a phenomenal athlete with so much speed and ability. Plus, she’s got another fast, solid horse to run as a backup if she decides to switch.   

No. 10 Ivy Saebens

Charmayne’s take: Ivy and J-Lo ran a 13.86 on the bottom of the ground. What I saw is that J-Lo might’ve hung slightly in the turns, but it’s hard to pick apart a super solid run like that. She’s won a round, which is no easy feat this year, and no doubt she’s looking forward to the fact that there’s still a lot of money left to win in the remaining rounds.

No. 11 Cheyenne Wimberley

Charmayne’s take: Cheyenne was back on Rocco and tipped the first barrel, but from what I saw he slipped in the frontend. I don’t know exactly why the slip happened, but it contributed to hitting the barrel. Cheyenne was going for it and there’s nothing much you can do other than that. They lost some momentum after hitting first and that caused the timing to be off for the second. Cheyenne is focused and she’s riding really good, she’s going to win some more before it’s done.

No. 12 Lisa Lockhart

Charmayne’s take: Cutter hit second, and Lisa tried to save it, which got her out wide. There’s no way you can get back lined up with one hand and she couldn’t get repositioned to keep from hitting third. That was not what she wanted, but she’s here, she’s got a very talented, athletic horse and she knows there’s still a lot of money to be won.

No. 13 Jessica Routier

Charmayne’s take: Jessica and Missy made a real nice run, and they were a 13.84. What it looked like to me is Jessica held Missy off a little at the third barrel and when you do that it creates a slight pause that slows things down. Hopefully they’ll get by third good tonight and get in the money.

No. 14 Nellie Miller

Charmayne’s take: Nellie makes the same run every night and I love it. She clocked good and I look for her to make that run tonight to get in the money and move up in the average to try and get a good check there too.

No. 15 Molly Otto

Charmayne’s take: It was a good night for Molly and Chewy last night. They were solid and fast. Molly and her horse both got a great run under their belts, which helps because every night you go in there you’ve got to go in with hope and know that you’re doing the right thing.

Otto and Chewy got their first go round check in Round 7.