For a second year in a row, Madera, Calif., professional Lyn Anderson guided Tuckers Smart Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Smoke Time Tuck) to the National Reined Cow Horse Association Open Hackamore World Championship Feb. 1 at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas.
Anderson rode the 2007 gelding, owned by David and Barbara Archer, to a 220.5 in the rein work and 224 in the cow work. The 444.5 composite score netted $7,994.
On Wednesday, Anderson and Tuckers Smart Cat topped the Open Hackamore preliminaries with a nearly identical score – a 443.5.
“In the prelims, he was a little more chargey in the rundowns to the stops than he was in the finals, so I was really happy in the finals that he waited on me. On the cow, both times, I thought he was awesome. This cow in the finals, I thought had a little higher degree of difficulty than the prelim cow, and he was never more than an inch away from the cow. He’s just such an athlete,” Anderson said.
Tuckers Smart Cat is out of the top-producing reined cow horse dam, Smoke Time Tuck (Doc Tom Tucker x Ima Smoke), a 1985 mare who died shortly before the Celebration of Champions.
Foaled in 1985, Smoke Time Tuck always had the same owner – Bar Eleven Quarter Horses, the Eagle Point, Ore., horse operation owned by NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman Skip Brown.
As a 3-year-old, Smoke Time Tuck earned $3,555 in the show pen, but her greatest contribution to her sport has been through her babies. Anderson helped Smoke Time Tuck’s foals achieve their greatest potential; she has shown six of those offspring foals, earning approximately $350,000.
“The number of foals she has had that have been money-earners is just amazing, with only breeding one time a year. There’s no embryo transfer, no nothing, and she’s still on top. I owe a lot to that mare,” Anderson said.
Smoke Time Tuck babies have similar ability and disposition, Anderson said. High-motored and physically gifted, they are all natural cow horse performers.
“They’re all hugely quick in the front end and super fence horses,” she said.
Tuckers Smart Cat will continue in training and prepare to compete as a two rein and bridle horse in the season ahead, Anderson said.
The Open Hackamore Reserve World Champion was ARC Sparkin Chics (Chic Please x Sailing Spark), shown by NRCHA Million-Dollar Rider Doug Williamson, Bakersfield, Calif., and owned by Rocking J Ranch. The 2008 stallion scored a 217.5 in the rein work and 221 in the cow work for a 438.5 and a $6,281 payday.
On Thursday, Jan. 31, Robbie Boyce, Purcell, Okla., guided Mr Playinstylish (Playin Stylish x Tari Chick Gay), owned by Kit and Charlie Moncrief, to a berth in the World’s Greatest Horseman finals. Less than 24 hours later, on Friday, Feb. 1, the pair won the NRCHA Open Bridle World Championship at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas.
Boyce piloted “Gremlin” to scores of 220.5 in the rein work and 217.5 in the cow work. Their 438 composite score earned the $7,777 World Championship paycheck.
“I was just trying to have a nice, clean run. I was late in the draw, it was a tough class, but I just tried to be nice and clean. I was a little upset with my cow – I thought I had more cow than that. I made the first turn and it just kind of died off, but I was really happy with my horse. He was real honest,” Boyce said.
Mr Playinstylish was unaffected by the demands of showing in the World’s Greatest Horseman and the Open Bridle World Championships on consecutive days, he said.
“He’s a workhorse. It doesn’t bother him. I think it makes him even a little bit better, but I can tell you more about that tomorrow [after the World’s Greatest Horseman finals],” Boyce said, laughing. “He’s trained, he’s been shown a lot, he knows his job and he doesn’t take tons of preparation. You just lope him and go show him.”
Although Boyce often shows the 2005 stallion for the Moncriefs, Mr Playinstylish is a product of Boyd Rice’s training program.
“Boyd’s always had him. I’m just showing him for Boyd here. Boyd’s trained him all the way,” Boyce said. “I’ve had an opportunity to show him in the past when Boyd couldn’t, so I know the horse pretty well.”
Boyce and Mr Playinstylish will compete in the World’s Greatest Horseman finals Saturday, Feb. 2.
The Open Bridle Reserve World Champion was Starlighting (Grays Starlight x Ollie Olena), a 2003 stallion shown by Ron Emmons, Ione, Calif., for owner Coyote Rock Ranch. Emmons rode Starlighting to scores of 219 in the rein work and 218 in the cow work, for a total 437 on two events and a $6,111 payday.
Thursday, Jan. 1
Limited Open Hackamore
Dan Daponde claimed his first major National Reined Cow Horse Association title when he piloted Pinchin Chics to the Celebration of Champions Limited Open Hackamore World Championship in San Angelo, Texas, Jan. 31.
Daponde owns the 2008 gelding (Nic It In The Bud x Smart Hippie Chic) in partnership with Sox & Sandals, LLC. Working last in the set of 10 finalists, Daponde and “Rudy” scored 214.5 in the rein work and 217.5 in the cow work. The 431.5 combined score was good for a $2,603 paycheck.
Daponde had back surgery three months ago and was under doctor’s orders to stay out of the saddle until the week before the show in San Angelo. His mentor and fellow trainer, NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman Ted Robinson, Oakdale, Calif., rode Daponde’s show horses for him while he recovered.
“I am showing four horses here, and Teddy kept them all going for me. I owe him a big round of thanks,” Daponde said. “I was literally still in the recovery room after surgery when Teddy called and said, ‘Do you need anything?’ “
Daponde also credits the good-natured Pinchin Chics, nicknamed “Rudy,” for his winning attitude, for helping him reach the winner’s circle.
“He’s always trying. He’s a little machine. He’s the kind you crave to ride because he’s always trying. He never holds a grudge and he’s never mad,” Daponde said. “He was quiet and good in the reining, and I had a pretty feely cow in the fence work. He got a nice turn to start it off with, and he just inhaled it. He was good.”
Daponde started riding Pinchin Chics last year when he and his customer – the oddly named Sox & Sandals LLC – purchased him from fellow trainer Jake Gorrell.
“My customer showed up one day and had denim shorts on, with low-cut black socks and Birkenstock sandals. I almost broke a rib laughing. She said ‘If you laugh like that, I’m going to make this an LLC.’ She made the Sox & Sandals LLC and bought the horse!” Daponde said, laughing.
He credits Robinson, Gorrell, Don Murphy and Russell Dilday for helping him find his way in the Western performance industry. Daponde previously showed Andalusians and Appaloosas in breed competition before he switched to reined cow horses.
The Limited Open Hackamore Reserve World Champion was Christian Lybbert riding Elans A Chic (Elans Playboy x Starring A Chic), a 2007 gelding owned by Christian Lybbert. The pair scored a 216 in the rein work and 215.5 in the cow work to match Daponde’s 431.5 composite score, but the tie-breaking cow work tipped the World Championship in Daponde’s favor. Lybbert won a $2,169 check.
Open Two Rein
Million-Dollar Rider Jake Telford, Caldwell, Idaho, rode Nabisco Roan (Boonlight Dancer x Crackin), a 2006 stallion owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses, to the NRCHA Celebration of Champions Open Two Rein World Championship.
With a score of 221.5 in the rein work and 223.5 in the cow work, the 445 composite garnered a $4,927 paycheck. It was the latest in a long string of Open Two Rein victories for Telford and the roan stallion, who captured Championships in that division at every NRCHA Premiere Event in 2012.
“It’s amazing to think back on the year. He’s had a great year,” Telford said.
He and Nabisco Roan also came close to winning an AQHA Working Cow Horse World Championship last November, but narrowly lost a tie-breaking cow work-off to another NRCHA Million-Dollar Rider, Corey Cushing, who won the title on Rising Starlight. Telford, reflecting on that run, commented that he didn’t have a tough enough cow to earn a big score – not the case in San Angelo in the Open Two Rein World Championship finals.
“This horse can handle a lot of cow, so I was glad to get the cow that I wanted. At the AQHA World Show, I didn’t get enough cow and ended up Reserve because of it. When you get a tough cow like that in the finals, you have to take advantage of it.”
There were some tense moments, Telford admitted, when the challenging bovine could have taken his score down instead of up.
“It was a really fast cow that wouldn’t head, and those are the worst kind,” he said, smiling. “I hit it a couple of times on the back fence and could tell it wouldn’t get any better. I just went on with it, and because I didn’t stay on the back fence very long, it ran hard, and I was right – it didn’t want to head. The first turn was really tight, and then coming back the other way, that cow really scared me because I was up where it should have headed, and it wasn’t heading, so I had to jump ahead of it and block it,” he said. “I was glad that he handled it. He’s become a really good bridle horse.”
Telford has been riding Nabisco Roan, nicknamed “Triscuit,” since he was 3. The stallion’s reining maneuvers have been strong throughout his career, but his cow work took more time to develop.
“He’s been a little bit of a late bloomer, but he’s definitely capable, and after this year, he’s got it figured out pretty well,” he said. “I’m definitely going to show him in the bridle some more and take him back to the AQHA World Show again.”
Telford thanked Nancy Crawford-Hall of California and Texas-based Holy Cow Performance Horses for her support of his program and the NRCHA.
“Without the good owners like her, I wouldn’t have these great horses to ride, and it’s all about the horses,” Telford said.
Telford has a busy schedule for the remaining two days in San Angelo – he has two Open Hackamore finalists and an Open Bridle finalist to show on Friday, Feb. 1, and also hopes to qualify another Holy Cow-owned stallion, Once A Von A Time (Von Reminic x Sheza Shinette) for the World’s Greatest Horseman finals on Saturday.
The Open Two Rein Reserve World Champion was Little Pistol Peach (Playgun x Lone Star Peach), a 2006 mare shown by Keith Vogel, Pueblo, Colo., and owned by his fiancée, Lauren Porter. They scored a 218.5 in the rein work and a 221 in the cow work for a 439.5. Vogel earned $3,942 and the Reserve Championship comes just a day after he and the mare won the Limited Open Bridle World Championship.
Limited Open Bridle
The first National Reined Cow Horse Association World Champions were crowned Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas, with Pueblo, Colo., professional Keith Vogel claiming the Limited Open Bridle World Championship and $2,985 aboard Little Pistol Peach (Playgun x Lone Star Peach), a 6-year-old mare he owns with his fiancée, Lauren Porter.
Vogel, 28, and the sorrel mare he calls “Shooter” were the very first in the working order. They set an untouchable high score – a 222 in the rein work and 220.5 in the cow work, for a 442.5 composite. Last Saturday, Jan. 26, Vogel and Little Pistol Peach won the Limited Open Bridle preliminary round as well.
“There never was a time that mare didn’t feel like she was with me,” Vogel said, smiling. “She’s really a gamer. She’ll go out there every day and show hard. I’ve never had a horse that stays as good in the show pen as she does. She’s never had a bad day.”
Vogel and Porter bought the mare as a 4-year-old when her breeder decided to sell her, thinking she wouldn’t make it as a show horse. Vogel saw plenty of ability in the hard-stopping, hard-working mare.
“I always knew she would make a good bridle horse,” he said. “She feels like a spaceship. You just put your hand down and go on.”
Vogel began his training career as an assistant to J.D. Yates, the champion rope horse trainer and cow horse competitor. He also thanked Don Murphy, Chris Dawson and Darren Miller for mentoring him and coaching him. It was the fourth year Vogel had shown at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, but the first time he had reached the winner’s circle.
“I’ve had really good horses, but just never had the luck that we’ve had here this year. It’s nice that everything has gone our way so far,” he said.
The show is not over for Vogel and “Shooter.” They also qualified for the Open Two Rein World Championship finals on Thursday, Jan. 31.
The Limited Open Bridle Reserve World Champion was A Quick Prize (Smokums Prize x Just Quick Filli) shown by Trapper Rodgers for owner Christina Lytle. They scored a 215 in the rein work and 211.5 in the cow work for a total 427 and a $2,488 payday.