Teenage phenom Josie Conner topped the field of 105 cutthroat breakaway ropers at the 2022 Charlie 1 Horse All-Girl breakaway roping to round out BFI Week in Guthrie, Oklahoma, on Tuesday, April 5th. Conner’s time of 12.59 seconds earned her the $10,000 aggregate championship, and the 18-year-old also won the youth incentive, adding another $1,000 to her total earnings.
In a nail-biting finish, Conner pushed the barrier and turned in a time of 3.74 seconds in the final round to clinch the victory.
“I told my dad, ‘I never heard you yell that I was out!’ He said it was because he didn’t know if I was,” Conner said. “But it didn’t break—thank you to the cotton string for that.”
Fans may be used to seeing Conner aboard Tonka, her signature blaze-faced sorrel, but she recently purchased a new gelding and gave Tonka some well-deserved relaxation time.
“Tonka will forever be my favorite horse,” Conner said. “But Dutch is really similar to Tonka. He runs really low and cowy. He takes my kind of score and floats to the line.”
Conner demonstrated the 13-year-old gelding’s explosive speed in Round 1. She was a touch off the barrier and ran down a quick calf. In the second round, she nearly cheated the start, but Dutch proved he could ease across the line and stayed clean. The BFI’s deep box and long barrier had cowgirls struggling to chase down the hard-running calves, but Dutch and Conner seemed dialed in and comfortable running and stopping hard at breakneck speed.
Coming back to the short round, Conner was nearly a second ahead of the No. 2 cowgirl, but she rode aggressively to her calf and took the first available shot nonetheless, turning in her only sub-4-second time of the day.
“It’s just a reaction,” Conner said. “Most of my confidence comes from the work I put in at the practice pen. When I get here, I’m just focused on that job. I’ve done it a million times and I try not to put pressure on myself because it’s just staying behind the barrier and roping the calf.”
The Iowa, Louisiana, native has been one to watch since she came up through the junior ranks. She dominates youth events and has been a key player at open jackpots and WCRA events in the past several years. Conner believes that a key to her impressive roping in the past two years, however, comes from outside the practice pen.
“Physical fitness is huge in the breakaway roping,” Conner explained. “Even now, when I’m in the gym or I’m doing exercises, I can see the difference in my roping, and I can tell when I’m not.”
Upon reaching 18, Conner has another goal in her sights—the National Finals Rodeo. She purchased her WPRA card for the 2022 season and is headed straight to the California run after the BFI conclusion. She plans to try her hand at the ProRodeo trail while attending some of her favorite jackpots and capitalizing on the remaining 19-and-under youth events.
Conner expressed her gratitude to the sponsors and producers for making the BFI possible for breakaway ropers. She also used the opportunity to nominate for both the WCRA Major in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Women’s Rodeo World Championship in Fort Worth, Texas. Conner leads the WCRA Open breakaway leaderboards for both events with 4,172.75 points and 8,722.41 points, respectively.
While excited for her future, Conner also took a moment to reflect on her journey through the sport of breakaway roping to this point.
“I’ve got to grow with the sport. I think that’s been the coolest thing for me. I’ve got to bloom with it and watch all the breakaway ropers up their game,” Conner said.
BFI All-Girl Breakaway
- Josie Conner, 12.59 seconds on three head, worth $10,000
- Cassidy Kelly, 14.30 seconds on three head, worth $6,000
- Sarah Angelone, 14.42 seconds on three head, worth $4,500
- Shelby Whiting, 15.27 seconds on three head, worth $3,500
- Rylea Fabrizio, 15.92 seconds on three head, worth $2,500
- Amber Coleman, 16.13 seconds on three head, worth $2,000
- Darcy Good, 17.35 seconds on three head, worth $1,750
- Jenna Lee Adams, 18.29 seconds on three head, worth $1,500
- Bailey Gubert, 23.19 seconds on three head, worth $1,000
- Beau Peterson, 3.21 seconds, worth $1,000
- Tia Wallace, 3.42 seconds, worth $750
- Halle Tatham, 4.25 seconds, worth $500
- Bailey Gubert, 3.23 seconds, worth $1,000
- Sammy Taylor, 3.57 seconds, worth $750
- Hali Williams, 4.25 seconds, worth $500
- Sarah Angelone, 3.67 seconds, worth $750
18 and Under Incentive
- Josie Conner, 8.85 seconds on two head, worth $1,000
- Kaydence Crawford, 10.10 seconds on two head, worth $600
- Harley Meged, 18.27 seconds on two head, worth $400