Jul 8, 2022
Briggs Let the Cards Fall in Vegas and They Came Up Aces at the 2021 Wrangler NFR
Here we go with part two of Gold Buckle Buzz, a series of exclusive interviews with each 2021 PRCA World Champions. Please enjoy WPRA Barrel Racing World Champion Jordon Briggs.
By Brian Hurlburt
While championship celebrations popped off left and right of her immediately following the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Barrel Racing World Champion Jordon Briggs, 33, remained calm amongst the controlled chaos in a room located just off the Thomas & Mack Center arena.
Deep down, it was a humbling moment for the daughter of Kristie Peterson, a barrel racing legend and 4-time world champion.
“I watched my mom win four of them, so it is really special to have another gold buckle in the family,” Briggs says.
But despite the emotions of matching her mother’s accomplishment, Briggs’ focus almost immediately flipped to what was ahead in 2022.
“I might have won the gold buckle last year, but the next day, the year started all over again,” Briggs says. “You just constantly have to be chasing just to get back here.”
Through early July 2022, Briggs was back on top of the world standings with $124,989 in earnings, nearly $50,000 ahead of Wenda Johnson ($79,377). Former world champion Hailey Kinsel was in third at $74,967.
Briggs’ mom was a huge inspiration on and off the horse for Jordon. Her overriding philosophies continue to drive Briggs to excellence and helped her overcome Kinsel during the 2021 NFR. Briggs entered the 2021 Wrangler NFR second in earnings but won the aggregate in record fashion enroute to the world title.
“The most important thing my mom told me is to just to make a living doing what you love to do and then let the cards fall how they fall,” Briggs says. “She also helped me understand how important it is to win a check every time you run, and just kind of stay in the average and be very consistent throughout the 10 nights.”
Another key cog in the Briggs world title machine is her faithful horse, Famous Lil Jet. The duo worked together for 10 clean runs during the 2021 NFR. For her season-long and NFR efforts, Famous Lil Jet was voted 2021 WPRA/AQHA Horse of the Year.
Briggs says that both she and Famous Lil Jet definitely feel the Thomas & Mack Center vibe as they prepare to shoot from the dark tunnel into the arena’s bright lights.
“You kind of go from a little bit nervous and then the second your horse gets excited in that alleyway and you hit the light, your confidence shines through and you just do what you need to do,” Briggs says. “It’s very difficult to make 10 runs for 10 nights and stay mentally strong, whether you’re doing well or doing badly. You have to stay strong and treat every run like a different, new run each night. It’s a challenge if you’ve been doing well because you don’t want to mess up. It’s a whole ‘nother level of mental at the NFR, for sure. I focus on staying consistent and steady, and not letting the highs get too high or the lows get too low.”
Somewhat surprisingly, the 2021 Wrangler NFR was only the second Vegas appearance for Briggs, who finished sixth in the world in 2009. In the ensuing years, she focused on her horse business with husband, Justin, and running in Barrel Futurities of America (BFA) events. In 2019, she was the BFA Derby champion.
Now her focus is on gold buckles and Vegas, and adding to the family trophy case.
“The NFR is the best of the best,” Briggs says. “It means that you worked hard all year to get there and you get to come to Vegas. I was just grateful to be there last year and I will be grateful any time I make it to the NFR.”