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Lauren Middleton Chartier and Cees Little Poo Win Last Round of Mercuria World Finals Non Pro

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Lauren Chartier & Cees Little Poo
The Mercuria/NCHA World Finals came to it’s conclusion for 2011 last night when Lauren Middleton Chartier and 9-year-old gelding Cees Little Poo marked a 224 from a second hole draw to win $6,085. With four rounds and an average, a total of $121,155 was paid out over four nights to the Non Pros. This, however was Chartier’s first check from the world finals and the pair finished the 2011 season with class-earnings of $48,526 that put them fourth in the world standings.

“I’m very proud of him, he’s been trying so hard all week and we just had some tough luck so I’m happy that he finally got a chance to be good and do well,” Chartier said. “We were excited because we had a better draw than the last two nights (15th and 11th respectively). My husband (Cullen) and his dad (Randy Chartier) had some good cows picked out - they were all in his face and he has to have tough cows to do really good. My second cow was the best cow and he was spectacular on that cow, it was a lot of fun.”

Cees Little Poo (SR Instant Choice x Perry Poo x ) is owned by Chartier’s parents Robert and Debbie Middleton of Flora Miss., and they were on hand to see their daughter win.

“My parents and my little sister (Morgan) got to come tonight so that was exciting. It’s cool because I have my husband’s side of the family and my parents and my sister,” Chartier said.

Cees Little Poo will go on vacation until Houston Livestock Show in February when Chartier will start hauling the gelding for 2012 Top 15 status.

In second place for the evening with a score of 222 was Mary Jo Milner, Southlake, Texas on Smooth Asa Zee Smooth As A Cat x Zee Dualy x Dual Pep) who sh purchased for $230,000 from the Slate River Ranch production sale on October 14. With total 2011 earnings of $50,245, Milner finished third in the world standings.

World Champion Dan Hansen, Nampa, Idaho, and Woody Be Lucky (Nitas Wood x Playboys Ladyluck x Freckles Playboy) won the average but did not pick up any money during round four. Their world finals earnings of $23,020 took their 2011 tally to $134,396.

The reserve world champion, Kelsey Conn, Hempstead, Texas rode Red Money Merada and was fifth in both the first and second go’s. She did not make money in rounds three or four.

Janet Westfall, Los Olivos, Calif., and Lil Dusty Lola (CD Royal x Smart Like Dusty x Smart Little Lena) were the reserve champions of the world finals show. They earned a total of $18,294 in the Watt Arena for season earnings of $41,867 and were placed fifth in the world standings.

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Karen & Dan Hansen

Dan Hansen Sets Earning Record

Dan Hansen, already this year’s National Cutting Horse Association Non-Pro World Champion Rider with all-time record earnings, and Woody Be Lucky, an 11-year-old NCHA Hall of Fame gelding Hansen and his wife Karen co-own, won their second round at the NCHA World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 1 with a 225 to earn $6,058, putting Hansen in contention for another all-time record.

Hansen and “Freak” (Nitas Wood x Playboys Ladyluck x Freckles Playboy) didn't win Dec. 3 at W. R. Watt Arena in Fort Worth, but the 60-year-old Weatherford, Texas, and Nampa, Idaho-based cutter still broke a $131,517 NCHA single-season any-age, any division earnings record set by 2008 NCHA Open Champion horse Ms Peppy Cat and her trainer and rider, Pete Branch, Farwell, Texas.

Hansen, the 2011 NCHA Non Pro World Champion rider, set a new world record for highest single-season, single-division any-age earnings of any competitor in the history of the National Cutting Horse Association.

 During the 2011 season, he finished with $134,396 in the Non Pro division. The prior record of $131,517 had been set by 2008 NCHA Open Champion Horse Ms Peppy Cat and her trainer and rider, Pete Branch, Farwell, Texas.

Hansen, a perpetual goal-setter, sets his sights on the record when he entered the World Finals with $111,376 and an invincible lead of $47,547 over his nearest rival heading to the event. At the start of the Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 1 and Dec.3 Mercuria/NCHA World Finals, he set the overall record a long-shot goal.

“Magic happens when you set goals,” Hansen said.

Hansen went on to win two of the four go-rounds and was second in another on his main mount, NCHA Hall of Fame Woody Be Lucky (Nitas Wood x Playboys Ladyluck x Freckles Playboy), a 2000 gelding. They did not earn money during Round 4, but they did claim the average check worth $6,058.

Hansen earned $23,020 at the World Finals with Woody Be Lucky. He also jockeyed horses that he and his wife Karen Hansen own, Tiana Rey and Pepcorn, to year-end NCHA $15,000 Novice Non Pro World Champion and Reserve World Champion honors. Another Hansen horse, Play Corn, finished as the $5,000 Novice Non Pro Reserve Champion.

The record-setting rider co-owns a building contracting business in Nampa, Idaho. He his wife, Karen, breed and raise most of their horses in Weatherford, Texas. Dan does most of his own horse training, too. His son, Burke, now oversees many of the contracting business’s daily duties. That allows Hanson to travel to cuttings throughout the year.

Overall, Hansen earned more than $250,000 as a cutter this year. Horses Dan and Karen co-own, and that Dan rode, also placed first and second in the year-end NCHA $15,000 Novice Non-Pro division. Dan and Karen shared rides on another horse that missed winning the $5,000 Novice Non-Pro title by less than $1,500 while earning $42,189.

“Nobody knows more than I do how much time he spends [working with horses],” said Karen Hansen, who does not travel nearly as much as her husband. “He works hard at home, from early in the morning until late at night, and he works hard at the shows. It wasn’t easy for him, but he enjoyed every minute of it.”

Asked how he balances family life with being on the road often, the father of two sons, with three grandchildren, answered, “The truth is it’s tough, at best.” “You kind of have to stay focused on the job at hand, but Karen and I talk every day on the phone, usually in the evening after I’m through competing,” Dan Hansen said.

“We’ll talk about how we’ve done with the competition and how her day has been. “My oldest son, Burke, is also involved in the company, so I talk to him regularly on company matters. Our youngest son, Cory, lives kind of on the opposite end of the country, in the Washington, D.C., area,” he added. Both sons and their wives and all three grandchildren were able to visit and watch Dan compete in Fort Worth last week.

“All of the family is very understanding about what I’m doing and sharing my goals,” Hansen said. “They’ve really supported me this year and I couldn’t do it without them. It’s a family affair, really.

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McKenzie Rust & Belles N Bullets
Thursday also featured continued strong outings in the Non-Pro division by Janet Westfall, a Non-Pro Hall of Fame rider based in Los Olivos, Calif., and McKenzie Rust, Gordon, Texas, who turned 21 the next day (Friday, Dec. 2). The division’s other two dominant riders through three rounds tied for second this time with 224 efforts as each earned $4,240. Westfall earned $11,995 through three rounds. Rust earned $8,945.

Belles N Bullets (Smart Lil Ricochet x Santa Belle x Doc’s Hickory) and Rust are competing at the World Finals together for the third year in a row. They had tied their career-best score with a 223 while finishing third in the first go. The 11-year-old gelding she calls “BB,” bred by her stepbrother and co-owned by her parents, has been in the family from the start. He’s a career earner of more then $350,000. McKenzie and her husband, Tanner Rust, plan to celebrate her birthday next week by spending a few days at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Westfall tied for second in the Non-Pro with a 2005 mare, Lil Dusty Lola, originally trained for breeders and original owners Carlos and Kathy Fandino, Palmdale, Calif., by Janet’s husband Russ Westfall. When the Fandinos decided they wanted to sell the mare, the Westfalls didn’t want to let her leave so they bought her for themselves. With Russ and Janet Westfall sharing rides, Lil Dusty Lola has earned more than $150,000 so far.

Another mare co-owned by the couple, 7-year-old Lil Bit Reckless (CD Royal x Trouble Lynn x Smart and Trouble) carried Russ Westfall to a fourth-place finish in the third round of the Open with a 223.5 to earn $2,908. Lil Bit Reckless ranks No. 5 in the year-end Open horse standings, with a shot at finishing as high as third, heading into Saturday’s last World Finals round

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R.L. Chartier
SL Jaybird, a 9-year-old gelding co-owned by husband and wife cutters Mica and R.L. Chartier, Weatherford, Texas, won the Thursday’s third round of Open competition with a 226 to earn $6,058 and his third straight big check with R.L. riding, following 224 and 224.5 scores that reeled in consecutive third places in Round 1 and Round 2. Dont Look Twice (High Brow Cat x Tapt Twice x Dual Pep), owned by Waco Bend Ranch, Graham, Texas, and bred by Phil and Mary Ann Rapp, and trained and ridden by Phil Rapp, finished a close second in the Open Thursday with a 225.5 to earn $4,846. That finish, following Round 1 and Round 2 wins with 230 and 231 scores, gave “Lipstick” a lead for year-end World Champion Mare honors heading to the Round 4 finish.

Lil Dulce Lu (Dulces Smart Lena x Miss Haulin Hickory x SR Instant Choice) and Jason Taylor, Rancho Murieta, Calif., finished third in the Open Thursday with a 225. The 2004 mare, bred and also ridden by lifelong owner Carol Ward in the Non-Pro division, ranks third overall in the Open. She still has an outside chance of overtaking Dont Look Twice for World Champion Mare and overall Reserve World Champion heading into Saturday’s final round.

Bet Hesa Cat (High Brow Cat x Bet Yer Blue Boons x Freckles Playboy), a 2006 stallion that had clinched Open World Champion honors before heading to town, marked a 223 Thursday with Summerdale, Ala., trainer Austin Shepard to place fifth. They’ll attempt to cross the $90,000 mark in final year-end any-age earnings with a strong Saturday finish.