What’s it Going to Take to Make the 2023 NFBR?

In mid-August, Samantha Fulton is sitting at No. 15 with $51,608 with a third of the season to go while, last year, Josie Conner filled the final hole at the NFBR with $48,138. Here’s who to watch and what they’re watching as the season hits the home stretch.

Samatha Fulton currently holds the No. 15 position in the WPRA world standings.

Breakaway ropers are pushing the sport to new heights, with the No. 15 spot passing the 2022 cutoff of $48,138 to make the 2023 NFBR (National Finals Breakaway Roping) and entering uncharted territory.

Samantha Fulton currently holds the bubble position with $51,608. As of Aug. 16, 2023, there are 45 full days left in the ProRodeo season—the final third of the summer run.

A look at what’s to come

The last three days of the season feature the final stop of 2023 Playoff Series—the Cinch Playoffs at the Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls, South Dakota—where staggering payouts are anticipated Sept. 28–30, 2023.

Here’s what the WPRA is projecting the top three holes will pay in each of the two go-rounds at the Governor’s Cup:

  1. $12,099
  2. $9,166
  3. $6,599

Not to mention the projected payout for the four-woman short round:

  1. $16,355
  2. $14,266
  3. $8,177
  4. $4,008

These payouts, coupled with the other 98 ProRodeos scheduled between Aug.16 and Sept. 30, mean there are plenty of opportunities for competitors both inside and outside the Top 15 to make a move. (As of Aug. 14, 2023, only $8,753 separate No. 15 and No. 20 in the breakaway world standings).

Another factor in the world standings race is the rodeo count. Currently, the WPRA does not have a rodeo count for breakaway ropers, meaning the sky is the limit on the number of rodeos an athlete can hit on their quest to qualify for the NFBR.

WPRA world standings as of Aug. 14, 2023

RankAthleteEarnings
1Hali Williams$121,803
2Shelby Boisjoli$114,179
3Martha Angelone$92,928
4Sarah Angelone$91,729
5Taylor Munsell$91,349
6Joey Williams$76,311
7Cheyanne Guillory$72,451
8Jackie Crawford$71,173
9Kelsie Domer$68,852
10Dani Lowman$58,923
11Erin Johnson$57,543
12Rickie Engesser$54,042
13Josie Conner$53,449
14Bradi Good$53,163
15Samantha Fulton$48,373
16Beau Peterson$46,618
17Nicole Baggarley$46,618
18Tiffany Schieck$45,975
19Kendal Pierson$45,319
20Madison Outhier$42,855

Keeping the remaining ProRodeos and Playoff Series in mind, the Breakaway Roping Journal turned to the ropers battling it out for a spot in the Top 15 and asked them what they thought it was going to take to punch a ticket to the 2023 NFBR in December.

Top takes on the 2023 bubble

No. 5 Taylor Munsell

Current earnings: $91,349

2X NFBR Qualifier

“I think the top five after Cheyenne are sitting pretty good to have the Finals made. But I’m not the person to ask, I just try to keep winning through the end of the year and stay as high as I can in the Top 15.”

No. 3 Martha Angelone

Current earnings: $92,928

3X NFBR Qualifier

“I feel like it’s always [double] whatever No. 15 is after the Fourth of July.”

No. 2 Shelby Boisjoli

Current earnings: $114,179

3X NFBR Qualifier

“I think it’s so tough to say because our event is growing so much and changing every year. I mean, the cut right now to be Top 15 is the same as it was at the end of the year last year. More rodeos are adding us for equal money, we have the tour finals this year paying a lot. I know the boys they always say number 5 after Cheyenne is the cut off, I just don’t think ours is consistent enough yet to have a set rule of thumb.”

No. 8 Jackie Crawford

Current earnings: $71,173

2X NFBR Qualifier

“Honestly I have no idea, we haven’t been at it long enough in my opinion to really have a rule of thumb.”

No. 27 Hope Thompson:

Current earnings: $30,968

2020 NFBR Qualifier

“For is it’s so unknown because we don’t have a rodeo count, and the rodeos have gotten better each year so of course it’s taken more money. I think after Cheyenne No. 5–7 is probably close to the cut off. I’ll fight until the end though, because honestly with us not having a count it’s so unknown.”

It’s a new frontier for everyone involved, with rodeo committees adding breakaway with equal money and the voices for the event to be moved to the Thomas & Mack growing louder. The bubble is on an upward trajectory, but where it lands remains to be seen. Stay tuned for the Breakaway Roping Journal’s ProRodeo coverage till the very end of the 2023 NFBR and beyond.

Thanks to Top Hand Ropes for their support of the summer run coverage.

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