Shelby Boisjoli in Position for First Breakaway World Championship After Strong First Day at Wrangler NFBR

By: Tracy Renck

LAS VEGAS – History repeated itself for Shelby Boisjoli on Tuesday during the first day of the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping – which was in a good way . . . one that could lead to a gold buckle.

A year ago, Boisjoli was quite comfortable during the opening day of the 2022 Wrangler NFBR, placing in four of five rounds at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center.

The native Canadian cowgirl, who now lives in Stephenville, Texas, was lights out once again during the opening day of the 2023 NFBR, her fourth straight appearance at the season-ending championship for the WPRA’s breakaway ropers.

For the second straight year, Boisjoli placed in four of the first five rounds, highlighted by a share of the Round 2 victory for her run of 2.1 seconds and an outright win in Round 5 in 2.0 seconds. She also split second in Round 1 (2.3 seconds) and in Round 4 (2.1 seconds).

Boisjoli came in as the season leader in the WPRA World Standings and earned $16,379 in the first five rounds. Boisjoli extended her own season earnings record to $180,928 with five rounds left to contest in Las Vegas. She has a nearly $25,000 lead in the world standings over Hali Williams, who is second in the world standings with $155,977.

“This arena has been really good to me,” Boisjoli said. “I like it and my horse (Onna) likes it and we just jive here. I think the key for (Tuesday) was that I have been in this position before in 2021 (coming in as the season leader at the NFBR) and made some mistakes and I feel like I’m a little bit more of a veteran and know how to handle my emotions better and I have a better grasp of how this goes. It is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Boisjoli was riding her star horse, Onna, 8. Onna won the 2021 and 2023 Nutrena Horse of the Year presented by AQHA Breakaway Roping Horse of the Year honors.

“She is a great horse that works well in any set up,” Boisjoli said. “I feel like she was a little bit wide (Tuesday) and I think that she is just going to settle in and I think she will be better (Wednesday).”

The NFBR concludes at 2 p.m. (PT) Wednesday with the final five rounds.

Taylor Munsell leads the average with 22.0 seconds on five head, thanks to winning Round 1 and Round 3 with identical 2.0-second runs. Boisjoli is fourth in the average with 8.5 seconds on four head as she received a no time in Round 3.

“It is just one run at a time; I’m not a numbers person and I didn’t keep track of what anybody was doing,” said Munsell, who earned $12,029 on Tuesday. “I came in with a goal to win the average, but I don’t want to just go catch 10. I want to come in and set a standard for the average. Unfortunately breaking the barrier in the fifth round is going to change that, but I’m still gunning for that average title.”

Boisjoli, four-time NFBR qualifier (2020-23), is seeking her first world championship. Her husband, Haven Meged won the 2019 PRCA Tie-Down Roping World Championship.

“My mindset coming in was to hit the barrier and catch all 10,” Boisjoli said. “I obviously didn’t do that (Tuesday). I have missed calves before and I have let it swallow me and drag me down to the dumps, and I feel like because of my experience I didn’t let it get me down this year and I was able to come back out and place second in a round and win another round. (Wednesday) is the same game plan, just the hit barrier and try and rope the neck.

“I have not been sleeping so good because I have been so excited and nervous and anxious. I’m sure my heart will be pounding at 5 a.m. and I will not be able to sleep but I’m excited for (Wednesday).”

Courtesy of PRCA.

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