Athlete. Mother. Wife. Rancher. Joey Williams is many things. And now, thanks to her electric performance at the 2021 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, she is one of breakaway’s breakout stars.
Williams continued her success on Monday at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, where she finished second in her bracket in round one with a time of 2.1 seconds to qualify for the FWSSR breakaway semifinals later this week. Her finish earned her $1,320.
At the NFR in December, Williams clocked the fastest time in two rounds - 1.7 and 1.8 - and shared fastest time in a third and won fifth place twice. Her prize money totaled $18,239, thanks to wins in three rounds, a fifth- and seventh-place finishes in two other rounds, she finished with an average of 27.5 seconds on eight head. Her two-day performance earned her fifth overall at the NFR and No. 10 ranking in the world at the end of the season.
The national spotlight is nothing new for the Montana resident. In 2012, Williams (then Joey Painter) won the breakaway national college title in her junior year at Black Hills State University. A decade later she is married with three children and has a family business to help run.
“The fact that I was able to win three rounds was so much fun,” Williams says. “But to make it even more special I was able to do it in front of lots of family and friends. It was so neat that I had such a great support system there.
“I can’t thank everyone enough who came out to watch and support me this year, it was incredible to see them all up in the stands.
Last year, encouraged by family and friends, Williams crisscrossed the country, winning enough prize money to once again earn a trip to the national stage.
“I’m proud of myself for keeping a positive attitude even when things weren’t going the way I hoped,” Williams says. “Juggling kids and the ranch while being gone wasn’t always easy so I’m so thankful to everyone who stepped up to help me make it work. It really does take a big support system for something like this to happen and I’m so thankful for mine.
Williams will continue to compete in a few rodeos this winter, hoping to kick the new year off with some success. Earlier this month, she was named the year-end champion at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit finals. She wants to “to broaden my circle a little earlier in the year to include some other big rodeos instead of staying so close to home.”
While balancing motherhood, the family business and her rodeo career, Williams plans to get back to the NFR.
“My goal for 2022 is to make it back to the NFR without sacrificing too much time with my family,” she says.
If anyone can balance it all, Williams can.