Aug 28, 2020
Sister — Chapter One
From your NFR Insider Susan Kanode—
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to share the stories of many of our rodeo stars and am proud to call them my rodeo family. I got involved in rodeos because I’m passionate about livestock. Now, I’m going to use that passion and my imagination to share a Wrangler National Finals memory from the animal’s perspective! Enjoy.
You can call me Sister – Part One
Let me introduce myself – My full name is DM Sissy Hayday. I’m a nine-year-old palomino mare that was born and raised in Texas and I’m still proud to call the Lone Star State home.
Horses don’t pay much attention to pedigrees, but I do know that mine is chock-full of champions from cutting horses, rope horses and barrel horses, my blood is full of winners. My dad, PC Frenchman’s Hayday, “Dinero” has an awesome reputation as a performance horse in his own right and as a sire. In fact, before I was born, Sherry Cervi competed on him at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). My people have talked about him a lot and from what I hear he was a pretty good rope horse too.
My mom, Royal Sissy Irish was born to run. Her dad, Royal Shake Em was also sired KR Montana Shake Em that Ty Erickson rode at the NFR in the steer wrestling. “Shake Em” was the PRCA/AQHA steer wrestling horse of the year.
I won that title for the barrel racers in 2018, one year after our first 10 nights in Las Vegas. It’s one of three special awards we have gotten that mean a lot. In 2018 and 2019 I was selected as the Horse with the Most Heart. It was cool in 2019 that I tied with Freckles Ta Fame “Can Man” ridden by Shali Lord and High Valor “Valor” and Dona Kay Rule. Can Man is very handsome and Valor is so cool! In 2017 I got the Rising Star Award. All of these things mean a lot to me, because they are important to my person, Hailey Kinsel.
I think it was fate that brought me into Hailey’s life. She and her mom, Leslie Kinsel, were looking for a prospect when they came across an ad on Craigslist. It was for my half-sister, Baja. We share the same mother. Hailey and Leslie loved Baja so much that they started looking for another horse from her mother.
They called Dillon Mundorf who raised Baja. Dillon told them he had one filly left and that he was selling her at the Texas Best Sale in Waco. He had been riding me on the ranch near George West and from the beginning he felt that I had potential. The Kinsels looked me up in the sale catalog and decided they would try to get me. It happened and I am so grateful.
I was just two when I came to the Kinsel ranch near Cotulla. After I got there, they rode me, then took my shoes off, turned me out and just let me be a horse for a year. I did a lot of growing up and was ready when they started my training. Hailey was at Texas A&M in College Station working on her bachelor’s degree, so I got to know Leslie. Hailey would come home on weekends and ride me but none of us knew what my future held.
I had heard talk of me being a pretty nice rope horse. I was fast, but we didn’t know if I was going to be fast enough or love running barrels enough for that to be my passion. That all changed when I was four. Hailey was home from college, and we were looping through the barrel pattern. Coming around first, I slipped. It scared me, I dropped my head between my front legs, kicked and started bucking. Hailey is a real cowgirl and stayed on through five or six jumps. She might have ridden me out of it if she hadn’t been laughing so hard. She came off. Leslie was on another horse in the arena and was laughing too. I couldn’t figure out what was so funny, but I showed them that I have an attitude and fire in my heart. After that I really started enjoying running barrels and learned how much fun it could be.
They soon put that fire to use and I was doing more than looping through the barrel pattern. We’ve had some unbelievable experiences since then. The first was in 2017 at RFD-TV’s The American Rodeo where we went through the qualifier system and finished at the top of the big rodeo winning more than $400,000 as underdogs. The joy of that didn’t last long. Just 10 days after our win in Arlington, Texas, we found out that Baja had cancer and we lost her.
Now it became my responsibility to carry the torch for my sister. She loved running barrels too and this was my opportunity to show the world how much we love our jobs. Throughout my training, Hailey and Leslie took things really slow. That turned me into a very sensible and sensitive horse. They give all of us a chance to figure things out on our own.
That set us up for the success we’ve had and made me one of the most recognizable barrel horses on the road. My palomino color, long mane and white blaze face don’t hurt anything either.
The same year we won The American, we also won the College National Finals Rodeo title and a $50,000 check at the Days of ’47 rodeo in Salt Lake City. That check was the difference in our season in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. It qualified us for the NFR and we started getting ready for December.
To be continued – coming up, I’ll recount my first NFR and record-setting run.