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 way easier than she thought.
Gilbert secured the aggregate victory with an impressive total time of 7.7 seconds over three rounds, earning her a well-deserved payout of $3,341.
This victory paves the way for the 2021 World Champion to progress to the 2024 NFR Open scheduled in Colorado Springs in July 2024. It's provided a great opportunity for her to position herself for a triumphant return to the NFBR next year.
Gilbert's remarkable talent was on full display as she clocked times of 2.6, 2.3, and 2.8 seconds in the respective rounds, solidifying her championship status.
Reflecting on her performance, Gilbert told Breakaway Roping Journal, "I knew the way the calves were, I had to draw good ones, but I wanted to do my job regardless of how I drew. After the first round, I got my nerves out of the way, and I had to make up some time. In Round 2, I drew a really good calf, clinched the round victory, and earned $2,228. Heading into Round 3, I was in control of my own destiny."
Gilbert's impressive achievement was made possible with the assistance of her trusty mount, "Roger," who prefers smaller setups.
This win comes after Gilbert took a considerable break from rodeoing in 2023, a decision influenced by her No. 18 world ranking in 2022, which left her feeling burnt out.