Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Back in Business

Back in Business

Back in Business

2021 NFBR Champion Sawyer Gilbert returned to the center stage in a big way on Saturday when she made history as the first-ever breakaway champion of the Austin Rodeo. After a tough season in 2022 and not qualifying for a return trip to Las Vegas, the win last weekend took some pressure off of Gilbert.

2“Finally,” she says, sighing. “Finally.”

2Gilbert won first in Austin with a 2.2-second run in the final round, earning her $10,569, which puts her at No. 10 in the WPRA world standings. 

2The road back to center stage started after the 2021 NFR Finals, where she had just earned a hard-fought win and a world championship. Shelby Boisjoli, who had battled Gilbert all season for the top spot, was leading the average until she missed her mark in the eighth round, allowing Gilbert to win it all.

2At 19, Gilbert was sitting on top of the world. And then came 2022, a season in which disruptions and mistakes took their toll. For starters, she changed horses several times and spent too much time on the road. She had also gotten lax with her roping mechanics.

2“I got a little lazy on some of the basics, some of the foundational things,” Gilbert says. “This whole winter, I really focused on minute details that you don't think are important, but when you put them all together, make everything so much better.”

2Now at 21, the confidence she had two years ago is still there. But with it comes a new maturity that is now allowing her to take a step back and evaluate when things aren’t going her way

2“Yeah, I've always had confidence, true confidence in that you trust yourself,” Gilbert explains. “But then things don't go your way and you're struggling in ways that you haven't struggled before, it’s like ‘but I'm confident … why is this happening?’ 

2“I’ve learned that you have to take that confidence and put it on the side for just a second and dive into the problems of why you're not winning.”

2Right now, the horse problems have also subsided. Gilbert is on Roger, the paint horse she’s had since fifth grade that took her to the world championship in ‘21. She says she’s got some “greener” horses she’ll be on for jackpots but that are not quite ready for the road. 

2“I think they’re going to end up being really good horses,” she says.

2As far as being on the road too much,  Gilbert’s got a plan for that, too.

2“Last year I was going everywhere,” she says. “I was like, I want to rodeo, and we're gonna go to all of them. I want to spend a little more time at home and then definitely go to the big ones and and the ones that are close to home. My number one goal this year is just to win when I show up.”

2Gilbert, who turned 21 in February, says she looks back on last year and believes that the ups and downs were all part of the plan.

2“Last year was a disappointment, but I think in some ways, it had to happen,” she says. “I never want to do it again, but I'm kind of thankful for it now just because of all the things that it taught me the things that it brought to light. I'm definitely better for it."

pink caddy

Read more

Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business

Gilbert was sitting at 100th in the world a year ago, a 19-year-old who knew that if she stuck to her plan, good things would happen. If she could string together some wins, she knew she was still...

Read more
Gilbert Takes the Badlands Circuit

Gilbert Takes the Badlands Circuit

2021 NFBR Champion Sawyer Gilbert took a year off to fall back in love with pro rodeo. After taking the 2023 Badlands Circuit Finals in Minot, North Dakota last week, falling back in love may be ...

Read more