Shelby Boisjoli Seizes Sioux Falls Win and is NFBR-Bound as No. 1

When the summer began, Shelby Boisjoli thought a World Championship was out of her reach. Now, she’s leading the pack by more than $17,000 and is prepared to take Las Vegas by storm.

Shelby Boisjoli smiles in Sioux Falls
Shelby Boisjoli rode Onna in The Perfect Bit during the Governor's Cup in Sioux Falls. Photo by Clay Guardipee

Shelby Boisjoli took the 2023 regular season lead with the help of the Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she won the Cinch Playoff Series Championship and $25,000 on the last day of the regular ProRodeo season.

After trailing young gun Hali Williams for most of the season—briefly overtaking her in early August—Boisjoli put an exclamation point on her summer run with the Sioux Falls win.

“Going into the summer, Hali had $100,000 won already,” Boisjoli said. “She kicked our butts this winter. We were all saying ‘Well, that’s that…’ But I had a phenomenal summer. My horse was great for me all summer, and I can’t believe how it played out.

“Being No. 1 in the World was on my mind, and it’s crazy to me because, when I left for the summer, I didn’t think I had a chance for a world title. Now that the summer’s over, I’m No. 1.”

Boisjoli boasts $164,548 in regular season earnings—leading Williams by $17,806 and topping the all-time season earnings record (previously set in 2022 by Martha Angelone) by $34,245.

Top 2023 wins for Boisjoli:

Cinch Playoff Series Championship (Sioux Falls, South Dakota): $25,000

Reno Rodeo (Nevada): $12,035

San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo (Texas): $10,583

Sioux Falls

This year’s Cinch Playoff Series Championship was hosted by the inaugural Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls, which proved to a Top 15 shuffler, considering the payout of more than $100,000 in breakaway alone. Ropers advanced to the event either through the Washington State Fair & Rodeo in Puyallup, Washington, or through the Playoff Series Tour points, which were accumulated at specific tour rodeos throughout the year.

Boisjoli advanced to Sioux Falls through the tour standings to compete against 11 other ropers in two go rounds, an eight-man round and, finally, a four-man round.

“I loved the format at Sioux Falls,” Boisjoli said. “It helped me a lot because I did terrible in the first few go rounds. It let me get by and advance to the four-man round.”

Boisjoli was among the ropers struggling to find the perfect start in the small indoor setup and slower calves. She broke the barrier in both of her go rounds, unsuccessfully pulling up to float it on the first go round, and breaking it in the second go round when her calf headed left in a hurry, causing Onna to break to the pin hard and take down the barrier. But since Boisjoli had two caught calves, (in 12.0 and 12.6 seconds), her aggregate of 24.6 seconds was enough to move her into the clean slate eight-man.

In the eight-man round, Boisjoli and rock-solid mare “Onna” made a 2.8-second run.

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“My biggest goal coming into the four-man round was to win third or better and become the season leader,” Boisjoli explained. “It all worked out—I had so much faith in God’s plan that I wasn’t nervous when the final round came. I knew how it was going to happen and it felt right.”

Bosjoli’s final run in Sioux Falls was a 2.1-second heater—her fastest all week and 0.2 seconds ahead of Reserve Champion Bradi Good. The $25,000 payday was enough to bridge the $10,000 gap between her and Williams, putting her into the driver’s seat headed into the 2023 NFBR.

Shelby Boisjoli’s Prepping for Vegas

“NFBR practice is starting right now for me,” Boisjoli said. “I’m going to turn Onna out, let her have about a month off before I get her ready for the NFBR and the Canadian Finals.”

Boisjoli will be competing in the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer, Alberta, Nov. 1–5, 2023, and traveling to Las Vegas a month later for the NFBR Dec. 5–6, 2023.

The last time Boisjoli entered the NFBR in the No. 1 position, she ended up reserve World Champion behind Sawyer Gilbert. This time, Boisjoli says she’s learned from “the mistakes” she made in 2021 and is ready to take on Las Vegas in 2023.

Top 15 coverage is brought to you by Top Hand Ropes, who create ropes for every roper.

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