Stallion Showcase 2023: Joey Williams’ Breakaway Baybe   |

Stallion Showcase 2023: Joey Williams’ Breakaway Baybe  

Baybe and Joey Williams shutting down the clock in Round 2 at the NFBR. | Photo by Joe Duty.

Joey Williams is making her mark on the breakaway world with the help of her 11-year-old bay mare, Baybe Bullet. 

Joey (Painter) Williams’s passion for rodeo and ranching runs in her blood. “Rodeo has been a part of my family forever,” Williams said, “From the age we could ride a stick horse and swing a rope we were entering.” Growing up on the Painter ranch in Harding County, South Dakota there were always horses to ride and cattle to work. The Painter family has run cattle on Harding County grasslands since 1895. Williams’s father also raised and trained horses and helped build the college rodeo program at Black Hills State University, where Williams and her siblings all competed collegiately. Both Williams and her sister Jessica were national intercollegiate rodeo champions in breakaway and Williams was named the Great Plains Region All-Around Cowgirl in 2012.  

Williams and Baybe made their first trip to the Wrangler NFR in December of 2021. The duo came into the finals sitting 14th in the world standings and ended it earning 5th in the average and 10th in the world. “I went in with zero expectations, I was kind of an underdog qualifying in at the last couple of rodeos, so I didn’t put pressure on myself and just went in to have fun.” Williams went home with three round wins and the Finals’ fast time of 1.7 seconds in round four. “It really is just an indescribable feeling,” says Williams, “It’s one thing to qualify, but to walk away feeling like you had a good finals is pretty special.”   

With the support and encouragement of her family this year, Williams went cross-country and once again earned herself a ticket to Las Vegas. The duo locked in their spot this year sitting 8th in the world standings. In a fast-paced two days, Williams won round seven, and finished sixth in the average and seventh in the world.  

But one of the biggest honors was awarded onstage before the rodeo even started—Baybe was recognized as the Breakaway Horse of the Year by the AQHA. The horses are nominated by the 25 ranked breakaway ropers.  

“We’re very, very honored,” Williams said. “When you raise horses, like we do, it’s one of the most prestigious things you could be awarded. She’s the real MVP.”  

Baybe makes it easy for Joey to do her job. “One of her most important qualities is that she’s rock solid in the corner until I drop my hand and she breaks really flat which makes it easy for me to get my first swing up.”  Williams says that it’s one thing to believe your horse is special but it’s a gratifying knowing others recognize it as well. “I’m very blessed to be the one to haul her down the road,” Williams said.     

Baybe was born, raised and trained as part of Joey’s husband Taylor Williams’s family’s breeding program. Baybe was one of the last foals sired by his family’s late stud, Frenchmans Bullet, a son of Frenchmans Guy and Pac A Dee. Baybe’s dam is Beanie Baybe Chic, who goes back to Chicks Beduino. Taylor broke and started Baybe as a ranch and heel horse. She soon became Taylor’s main heel horse and the pair won the Montana Circuit Finals average three times in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Until this past year the couple shared Baybe, since neither was hitting the rodeo circuit hard at the time, but now she is primarily just Joey’s mount.  

The Horse of the Year award just affirms what Williams’ already knew—that Baybe is something special. She already has three foals on the ground, and one on the way. Her 3-year-old is by Smoke N Sunrise, her 2-year-old is by Smoke N Sparks and the yearling is by Shawne Bug Leo. They were so impressed with the foal by Smoke N Sunrise that they bred her again to him, for the 2023 foal. Joey says they intend to keep flushing embryos, so she can stay on the road and keep producing foals.  

Baybe’s running bloodlines are somewhat nontraditional for a breakaway horse, but Williams believes the extra speed gives her an edge, especially in pens with longer scores, “She closes the gap fast and shuts it down at the right time,” said Williams. To stay sharp between competitions Williams tries to run a couple of calves each week and occasionally takes her out to work cattle to get her out of the arena. 

On top of rodeo, Williams balances ranching and raising her three kids Shay (1), Carson (4) and Landon (6) with her husband, Taylor. Williams and her husband run a cow-calf herd of Angus cattle and continue to raise and train horses together on their ranch in Broadus, Montana. “I’m constantly working to maintain that fine line of balance between doing what I need to stay competitive as a roper while trying to be the best mother and wife I can be and still help out on the ranch,” she explained,  “I just take it day by day.”  Williams loves how the ranching and rodeo lifestyle brings her family together and feels blessed to share her knowledge and passion with the next generation. “I really love it when the whole family’s out in the arena practicing together,” Williams says,  “The kids are riding their horses and my husband and I roping.” Above all, Williams says that without the support of her family, none of it would be possible. “I want to say thank you to everybody—friends, family, sponsors, everyone in my corner that’s helped me this year.”  

*In the print edition, this article was attributed to the wrong writer. It was written by Abigayle Warm. We apologize for the error.