Breakaway’s Martha Angelone is Rodeo’s Top Earner at First-Ever NFR Open

Representing the Texas Circuit at the first-ever NFR Open, Martha Angelone won almost $26,000, making her the highest paid competitor at the 2022 Colorado Springs rodeo.

Martha Angelone Breakaway roping at NFR Open
Martha Angelone was the top breakaway money-earner at the 2022 rendition. Lincoln Rogers Photography

2020 NFBR Aggregate Champion Martha Angelone was not only the highest earning breakaway roper at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo NFR Open—she was the highest earner in any of the eight events at the Colorado Springs rodeo, held July 13–16, 2022. Representing the Texas circuit, the Stephenville resident roped four calves in under 3.0 seconds to earn $25,765, a new Polaris Ranger, and a $25,000 voucher towards a new Ram truck. 

“I didn’t even know I won a truck,” Angelone said. “I was so happy to win a Polaris to finally drag my arena with—I can finally stop using my truck to do it— then they told me I won that too and was like ‘Holy cow, that’s awesome.’”  

In the first round, Angelone cracked out with a 2.4-second run for a win and $5,557. Her second round brought a 2.6-second run and a $1,179 check for fifth. In the semifinals and finals rounds, Angelone adjusted her game plan as the performances played out.

“My game plan going into the NFR Open was to win as much money as I possibly could,” Angelone said. “But I didn’t really have a true game plan in the last two rounds. Since I was at the end, I planned to watch the others and be as fast as I needed to be, but they ended up being a little softer, so I just tried to make the most consistent runs I could make on those two.”

Patience and on-the-go thinking worked out perfectly for Angelone. Her earnings more than doubled in the semifinal and final rounds, thanks to her 2.5 and 3.0-second winning runs that were worth $6,736 each.

Martha Angelone at the 2022 NFR Open

Her NFR earnings are helping Angelone, who used to work as a bartender before pursuing rodeo full-time, purchase her mount “Legend,” from Tanner Green. Legend is the 12-year-old gelding that, before helping Angelone win big in Colorado Springs, carried her to victory at the Reno Rodeo in June. 

“Legend is probably one of the coolest horses I’ve ever been able to ride in my entire life,” Angelone said. “He makes my job so easy. All I have to worry about is scoring and going to rope my calf. It takes a lot of pressure off me because I know I won’t have any problems during the run. I just have to do my job.” 

Angelone’s storybook 2022 followed a 2021 filled with lessons learned. She has offered advice to her fellow competitors lately on how she overcame her mental obstacles in 2022. 

“A lot of girls have asked me about this,” Angelone said of what changed in the past year. “I feel like the biggest difference and why I’m happier this year isn’t necessarily that I’ve won more this year, but I feel like my mental game has been stronger since I’ve been out here. Last year, I would miss a calf and I’d dwell on it for a couple days. 

Keeping ‘Em Honest: Angelone Talks Horsemanship and Throwing Fast

“I keep telling those girls, ‘You just have to rope. It doesn’t matter if you just won it or missed a calf. If you get stuck on that or let it get in your head, it doesn’t help you to be that way.’ This year, I’m definitely a lot stronger in that aspect and I feel like that’s what’s helping me.” 

Martha Angelone

As of July 19, 2022, Angelone is seated No. 1 in the world standings with $79,226.10 in earnings. The No. 2 position belongs to RodeoHouston champion Erin Johnson, with $55,396.91 in earnings, while Lari Dee Guy holds the No. 3 spot with $49,267.77 won. 

Thanks to her now sizeable lead on the pack, Angelone plans to shift her focus for the rest of the summer.

“Last week went so well that I won’t try to kill myself the rest of the year,” Angelone said. “Last year, we would haul 14 hours for a rodeo that had $1,000 added,” Angelone said. “This year, I don’t want to spend the money that I win in my fuel tank getting to the rodeo. I want to enter smarter, give my horses enough time to relax.” 

The winnings that are allowing Angelone to back off came at an ideal time, as weeks on the ProRodeo trail can take a toll.

“Physically, I’m exhausted,” Angelone said. “But, we do this to make a living, and this is what we’ve been wanting to do forever, so it’s a give or take. But mentally, I am so pumped about the rest of the year. I was pumped going into the summer, thanks to my horsepower, but it’s got me even excited for the rest of the summer now that it’s going well.” 

Look back on Angelone’s year so far:

2022 WPRA World Standings

As of July 19, 2022

1Martha AngeloneStephenville, TX$79,226.1058
2Erin JohnsonFowler, CO$55,396.9136
3Lari Dee GuyAbilene, TX$49,267.7750
4Kelsie DomerDublin, TX$42,192.8819
5J J HamptonStephenville, TX$40,703.6251
6Taylor MunsellAlva, OK$40,297.7851
7Rickie EngesserSpearfish, SD$35,794.3824
8Cadee WilliamsWeatherford, TX$34,273.3039
9Shelby BoisjoliStephenville, TX$33,756.5741
10Taylor HancheyCarmine, TX$33,042.0845
11Samantha FultonMiller, SD$32,856.3147
12Sawyer GilbertBuffalo, SD$31,779.3750
13Jordi EdensGatesville, TX$29,755.3540
14Josie ConnerIowa, LA$28,195.5940
15Danielle LowmanGilbert, AZ$27,055.8748
Amber CrawfordBoyd, TX$26,965.20

NFR Open Results

Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 13-16

First Round

1.Martha Angelone, 2.40 seconds, $5,557; 2. Kirbie Gibbens, 2.70, $4,210; 3. (tie) Bradi Whiteside, Whitlee Burgess and Bailey Kieckbusch, 2.80, $2,077 each; 6. Candida Eldridge, 3.00, $842

Second round: 1. Lari Dee Guy, 2.20 seconds, $5,557; 2. (tie) Rickie Engesser, Allie Hoskins and TiAda Gray, 2.40, $3,087 each; 5. Martha Angelone, 2.60, $1,179; 6. Kirbie Gibbens, 2.70, $842

Average: 1. Martha Angelone, 5.00 seconds on two head, $5,557; 2. Kirbie Gibbens, 5.40, $4,210; 3. TiAda Gray, 5.50, $3,031; 4. Rickie Engesser, 5.70, $2.021; 5. Bailey Kieckbusch, 5.80, $1,178; 6. Whitlee Burgess, 6.50 $842

Semifinals: 1. Martha Angelone, 2.5 seconds, $6,736; 2. Rickie Engesser, 3.4, $5,052; 3. Bailey Kieckbusch, 12.2, $3,368; 4. Bradi Whiteside, 12.5, $1,684

Finals: 1. Martha Angelone, 3.0 seconds, $6,736; 2. Rickie Engesser, 5.0, $5,052; 3. Bailey Kieckbusch, 12.1, $3,368; 4. Bradi Whiteside, NT, $1,684. 

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