By Jolee Jordan
Kissimmee, Florida — Twos figure in well when talking about Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi. The Texas cowgirl owns two World titles in barrel racing and has won more than $2 million in her career.
She also owns two National titles earned at the 2012 and 2013 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeos (RNCFR).
In 2018, Pozzi Tonozzi is looking to change her number to three. She’s competing for the second straight year at the RNCFR’s new home in Kissimmee, Florida but comes in a bit more prepared than she did a year ago. That’s because last year the cowgirl ran at Silver Spurs Arena just a few days after the birth of her first child, daughter Tinlee with husband, PRCA team roper Garrett Tonozzi.
After clinching the Mountain States Circuit year-end championship last October, Pozzi Tonozzi told the WPRN she was looking forward to a second chance in central Florida.
“I felt like I had a pretty good showing considering I was 14-days post baby,” she said of her 2017 showing. “I think this time around it will be much better on my body and my psyche.”
Turns out Pozzi Tonozzi knew of what she spoke. After running a bit long as the last to run on Thursday morning, she and her mare Steeley capitalized on the top of the ground in round two on Saturday night’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink performance. Taking more than half a second off their first round time, the pair posted a time of 15.46 seconds to jump to the lead of the second go round.
The previous round leader was First Frontier Circuit cowgirl Christina Mulford. Mulford swept the field at her circuit finals in January to punch her ticket south for the RNCFR. During the first round, she had an oops, taking a costly barrel down penalty.
Mulford bounced back, going to the top of the heap on Saturday afternoon after posting a a very deceiving 15.54 second run aboard Harley, a good grey gelding owned by Joe and Judy Merola, longtime First Frontier Circuit competitors and supporters.
Meanwhile, in the matinee, Teri Bangart continued to look tough, pairing her first round 15.53 with a 15.69 on Saturday. Bangart’s two run total of 31.22 put her to the lead through the first half of the field of competitors here with Texas cowgirl Taci Bettis right on her heels at 31.33.
Pozzi Tonozzi moved into contention with the fast time in the night performance, clinching a berth in to the next round where all previous times will be erased and the field begins again at zero. That means Pozzi Tonozzi has a chance for a third RNCFR title on Sunday.
The only other former RNCFR winner in the field is Shelly Anzick and she too will have a chance to add to her title count. As the second to last to run in the preliminary rounds, the first go winner had an inside track to the Semi-Finals and sealed the deal with a run of 15.63 seconds to clinch the average win, bumping Bangart to second and Bettis to third.
“Scooter working like a dream! So happy for all the support thanks again Tommy Martin, Shirley Martin, Karen Conroy and Dr Carl Conroy,” Anzick posted to Facebook along with a video of her big stout bay gelding.
Preliminary competition is done and the final eight are set for Sunday’s Semi-Finals. From this point forward, all competition is sudden death and there are two rounds on Sunday to determine the champions. The field of eight will make one run and the top four will move into the Finals to compete for the title of National Champion.
Anzick leads the field having won nearly $15,000 so far in Florida, more than doubling her 2018 season earnings so far. Three cowgirls have picked up three checks in three chances thus far, Anzick, Bangart and Jessica Routier, who finished fourth in the average after placing fifth in the second go round.
Seven circuits are represented in the Semi-Finals with the Badlands sending both their reps to the next round, Routier as well as Nikki Hansen. The other circuits are Montana, Columbia River, Texas, Great Lakes, Mountain States and California.
2017 rookie Alexis Baratka has the biggest opportunity via the WPRA World standings on Sunday; the Wisconsin cowgirl enters the final day ranked 176th in the standings and picked up her first check in round two.
Because all the money won here counts for WPRA world standings, the winners on Sunday have a chance to make a big move toward possible berths at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) in December.
Bettis is the highest ranked competitor still in the mix, coming into the RNCFR at fifth in the standings with Pozzi Tonozzi next at 16th. The rest of the cowgirls land between 28th and 58th.
For more information on the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RNCFR), visit them on-line at www.rncfr.com and www.prorodeo.com. For continuing updates on the ladies barrel racing, stay tuned to www.wpra.com.
Name, Horse, Circuit, Time, Earnings
1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Steele Magnolias, Mountain States, 15.46, $6,254
2. Christina Mulford, Panamascharlieharly, First Frontier, 15.54, $4,738
3. Alexis Baratka, Queen Red Cash, Great Lakes, 15.60, $3,412
4. Shelly Anzick, Scooten ta Fame, Montana, 15.63, $2,274
5. Jessica Routier, Fiery Miss West, Badlands, 15.65, $1,327
6. Teri Bangart, RCA Three Bugs Honor, Columbia River, 15.69, $948
Average (advance to Semi-Finals)
1. Anzick, 31.08, $6,254
2. Bangart, 31.22, $4,738
3. Bettis, 31.33, $3,412
4. Routier, 31.37, $2,274
5. Baratka, 31.48, $1,327
6. Pozzi Tonozzi, 31.52, $948
7. Hansen, 31.56
8. Petska, 31.65
Pozzi Tonozzi, $7,202
4th Perf, Saturday Night
Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 15.46 seconds
Alexis Baratka, 15.60
Shelly Anzick, 15.63
Jessica Routier, 15.65
Callahan Crossley, Brownie Bi Bogie, Columbia River, 15.71
Tiany Schuster, Show Mance, Texas, 15.88
Suzanna Hill, Cee Booger Man CL, Southeastern, 15.98
Jennifer Barrett, Beduinos Prospector, Wilderness, 16.01
Wendy Chesnut, Sun Frost Merridoc, First Frontier, 16.19
Tracy Nowlin, DJG Madison, Prairie, 20.63
Nas Yeverino, Mexico, 21.39
Trula Churchill, The Cool Zippy Zevi, California, 21.42
Nicole Riggle, Cashin N On Fame, Turquoise, 21.49
3rd Perf, Saturday Matinee
Christina Mulford, 15.54
Teri Bangart, 15.69
Nikki Hansen, Sky High Guy, Badlands, 15.70
Taci Bettis, Bogie is a Smash, Texas, 15.71
Lacinda Rose, RR Meradas Real Deal, Great Lakes, 15.71
Kathy Petska, Dinero Made Me Famous, California, 15.81
Shali Lord, Pocket Full of Pozzis, Mountain States, 15.84
Kaley Bass, Wonders Cowboy Dan, Southeastern, 15.86
Ashley Day, Queen of Bullets, Montana, 15.93
Carley Richardson, Doda Flit, Prairie, 15.98
Lori Todd, Wranglers Bedrock, Turquoise, 16.03
Kellie Collier, Sierra Hall of Fame, Wilderness, 20.81
Paulina Rivera, Mexico, 21.60
Courtesy of WPRA