- Created on Saturday, 16 June 2012
Stephas, Chattanooga, Tenn., was the 2011 National Cutting Horse Association Senior Youth Champion based on her repeated success at any-age horse events last year.
She earned the first two limited-age titles of her career with a 221 Saturday during the 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro finals. Stephas and her 2006 gelding Ima Little Ichi (Cat Ichi x Ms Bag Of Hope x Freckles Loverboy) also won the 5/6-Year-Old Limited Non-Pro pencil finals and checks totaling $7,360.
Stephas talked her parents, Gus and Connie Stephas, into buying her winning horse in December. She had watched the horse compete with John Tolbert during The Champions Cup, a special event featuring only past NCHA Futurity Open Champion riders.
“I thought he was a cool horse, but I didn’t know I’d own him a week later,” Stephas said. “I tried him out and had to beg dad for him. Finally, he told me I could get him, and we brought him home from Fort Worth.”
The first-time limited-age winner calls her talented but somewhat mischievous partner “Meeko.” He’s nicknamed after the raccoon in the Disney movie “Pocohantas.” “He gets into everything, like a raccoon,” said Stephas, who shared her great news with a call to her parents immediately after the win.
“I told my mom, and she instantly started crying,” the young rider said. “They bought a great horse for me, and I’m so excited to see what we can do.”
Barnhart, New Horse On A Roll
Barnhart, Hesston, Kan., earned his first limited-age victory a year and a half ago at the Abilene Spectacular in Abilene, Texas.
He picked up his second win Saturday in Oklahoma City by guiding Silhouette Smooth, a mare he bought in late March, to a solid 219 in the Derby Amateur finals.
The mare (Smooth As A Cat x TM Silhouette x Smart Lil Ricochet), trained until recently by Barnhart’s longtime mentor Dirk Blakesley, Augusta, Kan., also made the Derby Amateur finals with her new rider at May’s Breeder’s Invitational in Tulsa.
“I’ve only had her about 2 ½ months,” Barnhart said. He now does most of his own horse training, with some input from Blakesley, based upon things he’s learned from the trainer the past five years.
“She hadn’t been shown before I bought her,” Barnhart said. “She’s come a long way the past couple of months, and she just keeps getting better.”
The son of Scott and Karen Barnhart credits his parents, Blakesley, and good horses for past and recent success that has included making several limited-age finals.
“It’s been a little longer than I hoped it would have been [between his first and second limited-age victories], but it does feel good.”
Cade Hansma’s Rewarding Ride
In past years, Cade Hansma, Weatherford, Texas, competed almost exclusively as a youth cutter.
This year, the soon to be high school sophomore said her parents told her if she earned good enough grades, they’d let her compete in some extra events this summer.
Earning mostly A’s and B’s earned the daughter of husband and wife cutters Paul and Julie Hansma an extra ride on her favorite horse, 2002 gelding Bob Dualin (Dual Pep x Capoo x CD Olena), in the $50,000 Non-Pro Any-Age Horse event.
Cade, who has a twin sister, McCall, and an older sister, Alannah, teamed up with “Bob” to mark a winning 221 for the win.
With her mother taking a picture of Cade on a cell phone as the last rider finished up, Paul Hansma shouted “A 222!” loud enough for his daughter to hear. That startled Cade for a moment, then she quickly realized that her dad was just having a little fun.
“He’s a big prankster,” said Cade, who also earned a Youth title at The Non Pro in 2010.
The Non-Pro Plus The Open continues Sunday with the finals of its showcase event, the 4-Year-Old Non-Pro, plus Select Non-Pro Amateur and Senior and Junior Youth finals, and a Shoot Out pitting champions from several prior events in a jackpot challenge.
The 4-Year-Old Open, 5/6-Year-Old Open and $2,000 Limit Rider finals take place Tuesday, the last day of the show.