The road to Arlington
2024 American Rodeo Contender Tournament Results: Jordan Jo Hollabaugh Tops Contender Finals

10 of the 15 American Rodeo breakaway contenders are finalized and headed towards Abilene, Texas, for the Contender Finals.

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Jordan Jo Hollabaugh ropes in the 2020 NFBR. RC Photography

The American Rodeo breakaway competitors have filtered through the Contender Tournament system, and the five-woman contender field—the ones eligible for the $1 million purse at The American Rodeo on March 9, 2024—has been determined.

The American Rodeo Contender Finals, Abilene, Texas

  1. Jordan Jo Hollabaugh – 2.21 seconds
  2. Bailey Bates – 3.0 seconds
  3. JJ Hampton – 3.12 seconds
  4. Morgan Sparks – 4.58 seconds
  5. Josie Conner – 4.74 seconds

Below are the results from each of the Region Finals.

The American Rodeo East Region Finals

Kenli Smith led the rest by nearly two tenths-of-a-second at The American Rodeo East Regional Finals with a 2.24-second run.
Kenli Smith led the rest by nearly two tenths-of-a-second at The American Rodeo East Regional Finals with a 2.24-second run. Photo by Click Thompson

17-year-old Kenli Smith bested the competition with a 2.24-second run to win The American Rodeo East Regional Finals, winning $10,000.

Her equine teammate was 21-year-old gelding “Moody,” who Smith said is aptly named for his demeanor outside the arena. When the two back in the box, though, it’s game on.

“He scores super sharp and gives me a shot right out of the box,” Smith said. “He’s such a good horse, is easy to get along with and always preforms like a super star.”

Smith expressed her excitement about competing in Abilene, Texas, on Feb. 10 against ropers with more years in the saddle.

“Going into this I knew the competition was going to get more and more difficult,” Smith said. “As a high-schooler, it means a lot to be able to have made it this far on such a big stage. I’m looking forward to being able to rope against the top 14 other girls in Abilene and am trusting the Lord’s plan. We’ll see what he has in store for us as we continue to rope.”

The American Rodeo East Region Finals Breakaway Results

  1. Kenli Smith — 2.24 seconds
  2. Morgan Sparks — 2.42 seconds
  3. Rylie Romero — 2.59 seconds
  4. Taylor Raupe — 2.83 seconds
  5. Paige Wiseman — 3.27 seconds

The American Rodeo Central Region Finals

Josie Conner clinched the American Central Region Championship in OKC with a 2.34 seconds run.
Josie Conner clinched the American Central Region Championship in OKC with a 2.34 seconds run. Photo by Click Thompson courtesy of The American

Josie Conner was No. 1 at the Central Region Finals with a 2.34-second run, winning $10,000. She reunited with rock solid gelding “Dutch” for the run after taking a one-year hiatus and primarily riding “Tonka.”

“I feel like I’ve been competing at the American for a while now, so honestly when I packed up to head to OKC I didn’t feel like I was leaving the house to go rope at a chance for a million dollars, I just felt like I was going to another rodeo,” Conner, 20, said. “After the perf on Saturday night, it finally set in, and I thought, ‘Dang I’m actually one step closer to a chance at a million dollars.’ I can’t wait to go to Abilene for a chance to advance again.”

The American Rodeo West Region Finals Breakaway Results

  1. Josie Conner — 2.34 seconds
  2. Kelsie Domer — 2.47 seconds
  3. Jordan Jo Hollabaugh — 2.56 seconds
  4. Colee Cox — 2.78 seconds
  5. Cheyanne McCartney — 2.89 seconds

The American Rodeo West Region Finals

JJ Hampton waves to the crowd after going 2.32 seconds to win the The American Rodeo West Region Finals.
JJ Hampton waves to the crowd after going 2.32 seconds to win the The American Rodeo West Region Finals. Photo courtesy Teton Ridge

JJ Hampton led the charge at The American Rodeo West Region Finals with a time of 2.32 seconds riding horse “Sparkplug” she purchased in October 2023. For the effort, the 17-time WPRA World Champion won $10,000 and is moving on to compete in Contender Finals taking place Feb. 10, 2024.

“It was a good win and I’m excited to move on to rope in Abilene,” Hampton said.

The American Rodeo West Region Finals Breakaway Results

  1. JJ Hampton — 2.32 seconds
  2. Bailey Bates — 2.63 seconds
  3. Anna Jorgenson — 2.84 seconds
  4. Sutton Mang — 3.45 seconds
  5. Jackie Crawford — 3.56 seconds

What is the American Rodeo Contender Tournament?

The American Contender Tournament West, Central and East Regional Semi-Finals attract qualifiers from both coasts as well as the Central United States to compete in the re-imagined tournament style format in hopes of making it all the way to The Crown Jewel of Rodeo™ —The American Rodeo 2024.

In 2023, more than 2,500 rodeo athletes competed across the country to vie for a chance at the $1-million bonus on the line if they made it to The American Rodeo, earning impressive money along the way. Guaranteed prize money is upwards of $540,000 for the Regional Semi-Finals and Finals.

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