Boisjoli, Munsell and Williams Soar on Day 1 of 2023 NFBR

From four ladies dominating the go-round leaderboards to Taylor Munsell's near-untimely-dismount, Day 1 of the 2023 NFBR was one to remember.

Shelby Boisjoli's won her second go-round of the day in Round 5, pushing her further up the world standings.
Shelby Boisjoli's won her second go-round of the day in Round 5, pushing her further up the world standings. Photo by Jamie Arviso

Day one of 2023 NFBR competition wrapped up in the South Point arena Tuesday, Dec. 5, with No. 1 Shelby Boisjoli holding strong while No. 2 Hali Williams and No. 7 Taylor Munsell scooped up go-round wins alongside her.

The top four remained unchanged while Munsell moved into the No. 5 position from No. 7 following Rounds 1–5, with some impressive (and acrobatic) horsemanship that saw her earn more than $12,000 of the $87,000 that was paid out Tuesday.

Shelby Boisjoli extends her lead

Boisjoli got off to a solid start in Round 1 with a 2.3-second time, placing No. 3 and winning $3,766. She split the win in Round 2 alongside Williams and Cheyanne McCartney with a 2.1-second run, earning an additional $4,204.

The heartbreak came in Round 3 with a no time—but she rebounded to earn another 3,328 in Round 4 and win Round 5 with a 2.0-second run. In all, Boisjoli won $16,379 on day one of the 2023 NFBR, pushing her earnings to $182,427.

Hali Williams makes the most of first NFBR

Williams walked away from the first day of competition with two go-round wins. After a no-time in Round 1, the 19-year-old split the win in Round 2, ended up out of the money in Round 3 and won Round 4 with a 1.9-second time—the fastest of the NFBR so far.  

“That run I knew I had a stronger calf so I didn’t have to score as much as I had originally planned on the first two,” Williams said. “Redlight was feeling great and I didn’t plan to throw that fast but it was right there. My dad and I had talked about ‘If you see it, take it, but don’t be stupid.’”

Williams no-timed again in Round 5, but the two buckles were proof enough that she was on the right path.

“This is a fairytale,” Williams said. “I dreamed of this last year and helped some friends behind the boxes with calf numbers—and now I have a group helping me. It’s super exciting to be winning against a dominant group of girls.”

Williams earned $9,284 on day one, and currently boasts $157,526 in total winnings. She trails Boisjoli by $24,901—a figure that will require a near-flawless performance on day two.

Williams reflected on the magnitude of competing at the 2023 NFBR, especially after suffering an ankle injury that kept her from practicing for six weeks.

“The whole time during introductions I couldn’t keep the tears away,” Williams said. “To be here, especially after I hurt my foot and we thought that might keep me from coming, to get a round win on Redlight was awesome.”

She also commented on the special camaraderie seen between the Top 15 ladies, shouting out McCartney for her help in the box.

“That meant more than she’ll ever know,” Williams said. “She’s so calming.”

Gunslinger Taylor Munsell

Something about the Las Vegas air turns Munsell into a machine—and on day one she put on a daring performance reminiscent of her 2022 run where she climbed several spots up the Top 15 standings to finish Reserve World Champion.

She started off the performance by winning Round 1 with a time of 2.0 seconds.  

“Round 1 was definitely the most memorable,” Munsell said. “I wasn’t going for the round win like I was last year—but this year I was ready to score smart and let Colonel make up the ground. It happened to work out great. I maxed the barrier out on that run and winning the first one really sets your finals up.”

Hotrod Song, known as Colonel, was the only horse to go tie-down free on day one. Munsell explained her choice to lose the tie down was made Monday evening at the calf run-through when Colonel was freer without it on.

“My bridle and tie-down setup on Colonel is a day-to-day affair,” Munsell said. “He is so smart and gets to feeling me. Today I rode him in my new Bull Parker bit. It’s a low solid square port on a shank that sweeps back towards me so it’s really forgiving. He really seems to like it and it keeps him solid in the corner and keeps his shoulders from leaking out.”

Munsell came back for her second round win during Round 3 with another 2.0-second run. Things got a little interesting in Round 4 when Colonel went to his stop and stuck in the ground—throwing Munsell over the saddle horn and leaving her bracing on his neck as she tried to pull her slack. She ended up stopping the clock in 2.9 seconds, good for $292. In all, she gathered up $12,027 on day one.  

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