Hailey Kinsel – Cotulla, Texas ($148,867)
3-time WNFR qualifier
2-time World Champion
It wasn’t that long ago that no one had heard of Hailey Kinsel, but she and her great mare DM Sissy Hayday “Sister” have not only become superstars in the barrel racing world, their rise to success in the rodeo arena has given the Kinsel name notoriety.
It started in 2017 when they won RFD-TV’s The American. Then came a college championship for Texas A&M University and their first trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo where they set an arena record and an earnings record.
Hailey’s 2018 season was every bit as stellar. She and Sister won the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo and entered the NFR in first place. That is also where she was when they left the Thomas and Mack Arena and headed home to Cotulla, Texas. Hailey had her first gold buckle and while Sister earned most of it, she has another horse, Thunder Stones “T.J.” that helped along the way also. In fact, she gave T.J. a turn in the 10th round of the NFR and like the workhorse that he is, he helped her stay in the average.
The 2019 season started out with another big win in Texas. This time it was at the final rodeo in the Will Rogers Coliseum at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. They had been second there in 2018. This year they finished at the top and won nearly $17,000. Then they won San Antonio again.
She added to her earnings in March at RodeoHouston, but her biggest news happened outside of the rodeo arena. She said “yes” to Jess Lockwood’s marriage proposal. Lockwood’s home is in Volborg, Montana and that could have influenced her rodeo schedule a bit this past year. She had a lot of success in Canada over the summer and was much closer to Volberg than she was to Cotulla.
One of her biggest wins this season came at the Calgary Stampede where she won her pool and the semifinals. In the four-person showdown, she was on pace to win her first championship then got edged out by three one-thousandths of a second by Lisa Lockhart, who just happens to be Jess Lockwood’s aunt. She enters the 2019 NFR in second place with $148,867 in regular-season earnings.
It’s hard to imagine that since joining the WPRA, Hailey has amassed nearly $1 million in career earnings. That has come with a lot of help and support along with the talented horses. The Kinsel family bought Sister as a two-year-old. Hailey and her mom, Leslie, did all of the training on the independent mare who will be making her third appearance in Las Vegas as a nine-year-old.
Leslie will be the constant source of support in the alleyway once again this year and will hopefully have opportunities to do the heel clicks that she became known for after Hailey’s round-six win in 2018.
The mother and daughter have spent plenty of time traveling and training together and have seen the results of their labors. An especially gratifying moment for them came last September in the final two weeks of the regular season. At Sioux Falls, S.D., Hailey won the rodeo on Sister and Leslie finished third on T.J., not just special for the Kinsels, but for the horses that mean so much to them.