LittlePistolPeach KeithVogel

NRCHA Hackamore Classic Bridle Spectacular Champions Named

LittlePistolPeach KeithVogelLittle Pistol Peach and Keith VogelWhen Keith Vogel, Avondale, Colo., won the NRCHA Hackamore Classic Open Bridle Spectacular on Friday, March 3 aboard Little Pistol Peach (Playgun x Lone Star Peach x Texas Kicker), he bested a field of 18 impressive bridle horses shown by some of his heroes and mentors.

“It’s amazing to beat some of the guys who made me want to do this in the first place,” said Vogel, who established his own cow horse training operation in late 2007. 

Little Pistol Peach, a 7-year-old mare owned by Vogel’s fiancee, Lauren Porter, scored a 439 composite (145 herd/145.5 rein/148.5 cow). The Championship paid $6,090 and came with a Gist buckle and a custom sheet from Classic Equine. 

“I tried to listen to Don Murphy [NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman] and just put my hand down and trust her in the herd work, show her smart in the reining and the fence work, and let her do her thing. She was first out in the herd, and I got to cut the cattle I had picked out. She was as good in the reining as she always is,” Vogel said. “The cattle were giving it up after one turn on the fence, so I knew not to stay too long on the end. I drove that cow back and forth twice in the boxing. I heard Murph over my shoulder tell me, ‘You better get out of here,’ and so I did. It worked out very well,” he said, smiling.

Little Pistol Peach, known around the barn as “Shooter,” is a low-maintenance, high-output performer. 

“That mare has trained herself. There aren’t very many like that, and not many mares tough enough to go beat all those stud horses in the bridle,” Vogel said. “At home, she gets fed as much as she can eat, and we pet on her a little bit. We might trot her around some, and pet her some more, and feed her again. We might work her seriously a week before one of these big shows. Other than that, it’s just keeping her exercised. I might rope on her to give her something else to do. That’s it. She’s so easy.”

The Open Bridle Spectacular Reserve Champion was Peppys Royal Outlaw (Royal Fletch x Peppys Tachita x Peppy San Badger) shown by Corey Cushing for owner Day Creek Ranch LLC.The 7-year-old stallion earned $4,872 for his 438.5 composite score (142.5 herd/148 rein/148 cow). Peppys Royal Outlaw also won the Open Bridle class, which ran concurrently with the Open Bridle Spectacular, collecting another $2,616. Little Pistol Peach, the Open Bridle Reserve Champion, took home an additional $2,180.

Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular Champion: Lindsay Wadhams & Spursuasion

Spursuasion LindsayWadhamsSpursuasion and Lindsay WadhamsA serious bobble in the herd work almost cost Lindsay Wadhams and her gelding, Spursuasion, the  NRCHA Hackamore Classic Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular Championship Saturday, May 4.

“My first two cows were good, and I got in a hurry with 30 seconds left. I picked one, and then I picked a different one,” she said.

The resulting penalty for switching cattle left Wadhams with a 132 score – 12 daunting points behind the leaders, Sophia Buttars and CD Hen House (Cluck Rooster Cluck x Rafter S Santa Golda x Mr San Cuatro), who marked a 144.

But Wadhams played catch-up with a vengeance in the rein and cow work, guiding Spursuasion (Ray Gay Quixote x Mist N Smoke x Doc Tom Tucker) to scores of 147 and 149, respectively. 

“I knew I had a lot of ground to make up. It was either fight, or give up, so I went in fighting,” she said. 

After three events, Wadhams and Spursuasion had regained enough ground to tie for first place with Buttars and CD Hen House. Both had a 428 composite score. National Reined Cow Horse Association rules dictate first-place ties are broken by the higher fence work score, and the tiebreaker went in Wadhams’ favor.

“There were a lot of tough horses and I knew I had to battle back pretty hard. It was cool to be tied with Sophia. I’ve never showed against her, and she’s a great rider,” Wadhams said. 

The title came with a check for $3,042, a Gist buckle and a custom sheet from Classic Equine. Wadhams and Spursuasion also won the Non-Pro Bridle and Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle classes, which ran concurrently with the Spectacular. Those wins paid an additional $2,883.

Buttars took home $2,433 for the Reserve placing, which also came with a $50 gift certificate for NRCHA merchandise.

Novice Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular Champion: Kelcie Lawrence & Smooth Talkin Cat

SmoothTalkinCat hackamoreclassic13Smooth Talkin Cat and Kelcie LawrenceKelcie Lawrence, Alzada, Montana, piloted her 7-year-old gelding, Smooth Talking Cat (Smooth As A Cat x Remedy For Sweets x Grays Starlight) to the Novice Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular Championship with a 422.5 score (140 herd/141.5 rein/141 cow). The win paid $1,590. It also came with a Gist buckle, a custom sheet from Classic Equine and a $50 gift certificate for NRCHA merchandise. 

“He felt good in the herd work, except I forgot to kick. Once I started kicking, it got really good,” Lawrence said, smiling. “He stopped, turned around and changed leads good in the reining. The fence work – it was really fast. It felt good, it just was fast.”

Lawrence’s husband, professional cow horse trainer Justin Lawrence, trained Smooth Talking Cat and showed him as a 3-year-old. The couple bought him at the end of his 4-year-old year to be Kelcie’s derby horse, but her show plans went on hold when she broke her foot shortly thereafter.

“I haven’t shown him since July 2011. This is my first show since then, and I’ve never shown a bridle horse in my life,” she said. “I’ve never won a NRCHA class before, so this was pretty cool!”

Smooth Talking Cat is also a steady performer outside the show pen, doing double duty as a ranch horse at the Lawrence’s place in Montana.

“I can open about any gate on him, including a wire gate, and usually shut it without having to get off,” Lawrence said. “I love him for the ranch. He and I have spent a lot of time doing that, and not a lot of time working on the show stuff!”

Non-Pro Limited Spectacular Champion: Mindy Barkemeyer & Dulce Smart Boomer

DulceSmartBoomer hackamoreclassic13Dulce Smart Boomer and Mindy BarkemeyerMindy Barkemeyer and her beloved horse, Dulce Smart Boomer (Dulces Smart Lena x Boomerita x Boomernic) claimed the Hackamore Classic Non-Pro Limited Spectacular Championship Saturday, May 4, winning $1,016. They scored a 426.5 (143 herd/138.5 rein/145 cow). 

It was the first time Barkemeyer, Scottsdale, Ariz., had ever shown in the herd work. 

“He’s such an amazing horse on a cow. He just takes care of me. I never doubt him when I put him in front of a cow. I have full trust that he is always going to do his job. We had an amazing herd work. The reining wasn’t as great, probably more due to pilot error,” she said. “Score-wise, the boxing was our best event, but for me, the herd work was a personal fulfillment – I actually marked over a 140 without losing a cow!”

Dulce Smart Boomer, an 8-year-old gelding known as “Clark” around the barn, is particularly special to Barkemeyer and her family. He was previously owned by the Barkemeyer’s close friends, Steve and Trish Greenberg. Mindy’s husband, professional horseman Brad Barkemeyer, trained and showed Clark as a 4- and 5-year-old. When he had some lameness issues and required a year off, the Greenbergs gave the gelding to Mindy.

“We consider them more family than friends. It’s a huge blessing to me to be able to have him,” she said. “The horse and I are attached to each other. It’s a family joke, but every time I go to Costco, I have to get multiple bags of carrots because that’s his thing – he has to have carrots. I love him.”

Barkemeyer thanked her husband “for being such a rock, an amazing man and husband,” and also appreciated her herd help – Brad, Corey Cushing, Jake Gorrell and Boyd Rice.

The Non-Pro Limited Spectacular Reserve Champion was Megan Ciana, riding Lil Indian Bud (Nic It In The Bud x Smart Lil Indian x Ill Be Smart). They scored a 423.5 composite (136 herd/143.5 rein/144 cow), earning $762.

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