By: Jimmie Smith
Hallie Hanssen qualified two horses to the 2018 RFD-TV's The American Semi-Finals after winning last weekend's qualifier in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Hanssen and her husband, Lee, live in Hermosa, SD, where they raise and train barrel futurity horses. Hanssen's equistat earnings are more than $750,000, with multiple futurity, derby, and slot-race wins.
Hanssen won the qualifier on a mare called "Tres Movidas" with a 16.192, the fastest run of the weekend.
"She is a 5-year-old daughter of Tres Seis and out of Sheza Blazin Move," Hanssen said. "I ran her as a futurity horse last year, and she did really well."
Hanssen placed third in the qualifier on What's a Guy To Do, with a 16.372.
"He is a 10-year-old gelding that is sired by Frenchmans Guy and out of a daughter of Dr. Kirk," Hanssen said. "I ran him as a futurity horse in 2012 and won quite a bit on him, he recently came back into my barn and is for sale, so I probably won't have him to run at the semi-finals."
The American Semi-Finals are held in February at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, a much bigger setting than any other futurity throughout the year.
"The atmosphere at the semi-finals is going to be a lot different than at a futurity, but I intend to prepare my horses for the arena in Fort Worth," Hanssen said.
Hanssen is confident in her horses and knows that with time they will adjust to their surroundings.
"I also hope to season Tres Movidas at a few rodeos this summer, so hopefully the semi-finals atmosphere won't feel new to her," Hanssen said. "I'm not going to worry about it being different. I feel that if my horses are confident with me, they will do their job. I guess we will see!"
Hanssen's goals include making it all the way to AT&T Stadium for The American while continuing to train futurity horses to compete with the best-of-the-best trainers.
Hanssen and her husband work together to keep their horses at peak performance.
"Keeping the horses I compete on takes a lot of planning," Hanssen said. "Being from South Dakota, we don't have barrel races every night -- or even every week. Sometimes I will go four to six weeks before events and my horses haven't made a run. My husband and I make sure they are legged up properly by making them lope small collected circles, breezing them, putting them on our freestyle exerciser, and working them fast at home when necessary."
The top 10 advancing to the semi-finals in Fort Worth from Rapid City are:
- Hallie Hanssen
- KL Spratt
- Hallie Hanssen
- Jimmie Smith
- Nikki Steffes Hansen
- Sissy Winn
- Kaylee Gallino
- Jessica Routier
- Jodi Nelson
- Jessica Wykert