Hali Williams has surpassed the $100,000 earnings milestone in ProRodeo breakaway, and it’s not even July.
With $104,450 in WPRA ProRodeo breakaway earnings as of June 20, 2023, Williams is the first-ever breakaway roper to amass this kind of earnings this early in the season—which runs until the end of September. The “summer run” is still getting underway, and the breakaway ropers have a lot of cash to earn at rodeos dotting the United States and Canada.
“It’s really exciting to be where I am,” Williams said. “If you’d have told me I’d be here two years ago, or even at Vegas last year, I would have told you, ‘That’s the dream.’ But to be able to maintain this lead… and I would have never guessed $100,000 in earnings.”
Williams has been atop the breakaway leaderboard most of the 2023 season, save when No. 3 Cheyanne Guillory briefly took the lead after winning the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. It’s a plan that’s been in place since her rookie year in 2022, where Williams sought to find her footing in the ProRodeo world, qualify for the 2023 winter rodeos and get a head start on the 2023 world race.
“If you ask anyone rodeoing, winning the world is going to be their end goal. We’re all striving for one place, and it’s a difficult spot to maintain. We’ve got a lot of great girls and the horses are amazing.”– Hali Williams
According to Williams, she competed in 20 ProRodeos and earned about $13,000 that counted towards 2023 before the 2022 NFBR took place.
“This season I knew I wanted to hit it hard and give myself the best chance of getting the gold buckle at the end,” Williams said.
While the 19-year-old’s earnings may be buoyed by her $50,000 champion payday at RODEO HOUSTON Williams has been grinding it out, too. Following her Houston championship and No. 3 finish at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, Williams didn’t pull a check for weeks.
“You go from the biggest win of your career to fumbling over and over… top-notting the calf, everything,” Williams recalled. “The rodeo road is very humbling.”
Williams’ Biggest 2023 Paychecks
- No. 1 at RODEO HOUSTON, $53,750
- No. 3 at Fort Stock Show & Rodeo, $11,200
- No. 3 at San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, $7,000
Despite the high and low points of the year, Williams is still in unprecedented territory. The 2022 WPRA World Champion, Martha Angelone, boasted approximately $47,000 in earnings this time last year. Angelone secured the 2022 World Championship with $130,303 in earnings, which was a season earnings record.
Angelone earned $19,707 of that during the two-day NFBR in Las Vegas, Nevada, too, meaning Williams is currently approximately $6,000 away from where Angelone was when she pulled into Las Vegas in 2022, and she hasn’t even competed in the Cowboy Christmas run over the Fourth of July yet.
“It’s ironic, too, because last year Martha and I got really close,” Williams said. “When she won the world [by a $40,000 margin], I told her to watch out because I was going to try to beat her next year. And she just texted me a screenshot of the standings and said, ‘Well, I better get to going.’ So, it’s been a little bit of a joking between me and her. It’s great when you have good competitors that make you strive to be better every day.”
Williams’ earnings are a notable milestone for the breakaway industry, and the phrase John F. Kennedy said in 1936—“A rising tide raises all ships”—rings true for the rest of the breakaway field.
Angelone, who is currently sitting No. 2 in the WPRA Breakaway standings, boasts $53,449 in earnings. This represents a 13% increase in Angelone’s earnings when compared to this time last year.
“It’s just amazing that good ropers can get paid and legitimately make a living with a rope,” said WPRA Western Roping Director Lynn Smith. “I think that will only help breakaway continue to grow, especially in the youngsters like Hali, who are turning 18 and are hungry to go hit the rodeo trail.”
When compared to other PRCA events, Williams’ $104,450 figure is respectably nestled among the top earners of tie down, saddle bronc, barrel racing and team roping. While Williams’ earnings are an outlier within the breakaway field, her accomplishment may signal a new era for breakaway ropers.
Next on the schedule for Williams is the Greeley Stampede in Greeley, Colorado, the Reno Rodeo in Reno, Nevada and Old Santa Ynez Days in Santa Ynez, California.