Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi
By Jolee Jordan
Waco, Texas—Last Saturday, two-time World Champion Barrel Racer Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi put a flourish on the end of her season with a win at the Wrangler Champions Challenge event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, wrapping up a weekend worth $9,188 and stamping her name in the program for the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR). When the big event begins in December, Pozzi Tonozzi will make her 11th appearance as a contestant.
Just one week later, the Texas cowgirl put the first earnings next to her name in her quest for a 12th trip to Las Vegas as the 2018 season got underway at Texas rodeos in Hempstead and Rosenberg and—the biggest of all—the 2017 All American ProRodeo Series Finals held in conjunction with the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo in Waco.
The All American ProRodeo Series encompasses all professional rodeos in the nation which add less than $30,000 across all PRCA and WPRA events. Contestants must compete in at least 30 rodeos in order to be eligible for qualification for the annual finals which boasts a purse of $421,000.
The top 30 in the All American standings will compete in Waco, divided evenly into three brackets of 10 competitors. Each bracket will compete in two rounds held in consecutive nights; no averages are kept or paid and money is paid in go rounds only. After two rounds, the top three money winners advance to the Semi-Finals to be held on the final night of the rodeo, October 14.
The final performance will see the nine contestants make their Semi-Final runs before the field is cut down to the four—only the fastest in that round will move on to the Finals. The Finals is held later that same night, sudden death style for the title and a nice $7,500 payday.
Because all the winnings from the All American ProRodeo Series Finals count for 2018, the race for next year’s WNFR begins now.
Pozzi Tonozzi stayed aboard her mare Steeley after a big weekend to close 2017, picking up a check at Rosenberg before coming to the Extraco Event Center, also the site of the WPRA World Finals later this month.
After finishing third in the opening round from the final position on the ground, Pozzi Tonozzi and Steeley electrified the crowd on Sunday night with a blazing fast 15.70 second run to set the pace as the first to run. While it was a lightning fast round with four runs under sixteen, Pozzi Tonozzi easily won the round. The time is a new All-American record, breaking the previous mark set by Mary Walker during the Finals in 2012.
All totaled, Pozzi Tonozzi stuffed more than $4,100 in her Wranglers and will head to the Semi-Finals on Saturday night as the top qualifier in Bracket A. She also moved even closer to $2 million in career earnings in the WPRA, now just about $11,000 short. She will be just the third WPRA lady to make that mark behind four-time WPRA World Champ Sherry Cervi and Lisa Lockhart.
Pozzi Tonozzi will be joined by another 2017 WNFR-bound cowgirl, fellow Texan Kellie Collier in the Semi-Finals on Saturday. Collier earned a pair of checks in two runs aboard Lolo, tying first round winner Kelly Bruner with $2,779 in earnings.
Bruner is a veteran of many Texas Circuit Finals Rodeos and a past round winner here at the All American ProRodeo Series Finals. Riding Suzy, a gelding she’s owned since he was three years old, Bruner stopped the clock on opening night in 15.96 seconds. A downed barrel kept the pair from money in round two but they will still advance to the Semi-Finals.
Meanwhile, Bruner also earned a win in Hempstead over the weekend to run her earnings out to $5,259 for the first week of 2018.
Competition was fierce in Bracket A. While only a few cowgirls broke sixteen seconds during the entire 2016 event, five accomplished the feat in the first two rounds of 2017. Just eleven one hundredths of a second separated the four money winners in the first go.
The All American ProRodeo Series Finals continues on Tuesday, October 10 with the first round of Bracket B. Among the competitors will be former WPRA Rookies of the Year Cayla Small (2016) and Jackie Ganter (2015) along with reigning All American Champion Stevi Hillman and 2017 WNFR cowgirls Sydni Blanchard and Tillar Murray.
For more information on the All American ProRodeo Series, visit www.prorodeo.com/prorodeo/tours-circuits/all-american-prorodeo-series or www.hotfair.com. Stay tuned to www.wpra.com for continuing updates.
Bracket A Results
- Kelly Bruner, Suzytresseis, 15.96, $2,779
- Kellier Collier, Streakin Easy April, 16.00, $2,084
- Brittany Pozzi-Tonozzi, Steele Magnolias, 16.06, $1,389
- Ericka Nelson, Goodfrenchmanfriday, 16.07, $695
- Pozzi-Tonozzi, 15.70, $2,779
- Emily Miller, Quijet, 15.88, $2,084
- Nelson, 15.89, $1,389
- Collier, 15.93, $695
Total Money Won
*Advance to Semi-Finals