Dec 12, 2021
10 Perfect Go-Rounds
By Patrick Everson
Jordon Briggs first qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2009. As the daughter of four-time world champion barrel racer Kristie Peterson, Briggs proved the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
But sometimes that apple wants to go a different direction, too. So it was that Briggs made her bones over the past dozen years as a successful horse trainer, in business with her husband Justin Briggs.
Then along came a horse called Rollo, in 2019. And sometimes, when you know, you know.
“It takes a special horse to be a rodeo horse, to get you here to the NFR. I knew he was that horse,” Briggs said. “So I had to decide if he’d be a rodeo horse for me or for somebody else. Luckily, with God’s timing and my amazing husband, he said, ‘You’re gonna keep this horse and make it to the NFR.’”
She did more than just make it to the NFR. Briggs is now your 2021 world champion barrel racer.
Over these past 10 days, she ran 10 perfect go-rounds – not a single tipped barrel. Her total elapsed time of 136.83 seconds set an NFR record, netting her the $69,234 first-place check for winning the average.
More important, her extremely consistent week – which included an eighth-go round win, a ninth go split of first and second, and cashouts in nine of 10 go-rounds – gave her $194,842 in NFR earnings. Tack that on to her regular-season winnings, and the total is $297,460, outpacing second-place Hailey Kinsel’s $281,156.
It was an extremely tight chase heading into Saturday night’s final round, but Kinsel had a tipped barrel that cost 5 extremely precious seconds.
“For my horse and I to get stronger as the week went along is amazing. I found someone inside of me who I didn’t know existed, and my horse brought it out of me,” Briggs said.
Briggs’ excellent week and season also kept Kinsel from her fourth world title – and what would’ve been four in a row, no less. Only three other barrel racers have at least four championships: Billie McBride (4) back in the 1950s; Charmayne James, who won 10 in a row and 11 overall; and Briggs’ mother, Peterson, who won in 1994 and claimed three straight from 1996-98.
So Briggs kept that elite group at three for at least one more year, while adding another gold buckle to the family tree.
“I’m glad I played a little defense for my mom there,” Briggs said with a laugh.