The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) World Championship Show, held Nov. 4-17, 2013, always attracts beautifully colored and loudly marked horses to Cowtown. Reiners and working cow horses took over the John Justin Arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Complex in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 6-8, and Nov. 14-15, the cutters gathered in the Watt Arena for their chance at glory.
For Lisa Trujillo, a newcomer to the sport of reining, it was 4-year-old Diamonds N Guns who helped her through the fight for her life, battling breast cancer. Just four days after her most recent of four surgeries, Trujillo and her husband, David, flew from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Fort Worth to watch the mare compete in Junior Reining. They were rewarded with a World Championship.
“Through this whole thing, she has certainly been my ray of sunshine. I have gotten on her after every surgery, whether I was supposed to or not,” said Trujillo, an intensive care nurse who has devoted much of her career to the most fragile of patients, premature infants. “My doctors told me I, personally, was not supposed to get out of a walk, but they didn’t say a darned thing about what my horse could be doing!”
Watching his wife interact with the mare they call “Pepper” has made David realize the benefits of the special bond that Trujillo has with her horse. “That’s a cure for cancer right there,” said David, a Colorado Springs firefighter who has had all too much experience with wildfires this year.
“I’m really loving this reining. I don’t know what I’m doing yet, and I’m so far behind my horse,” said Trujillo, a former hunter-jumper who once sparked some hilarity when she took her English saddle to David’s family cattle ranch in New Mexico to chase cows. She hopes to compete as a novice amateur reiner starting in the spring.
Pepper and her Franktown, Colo., trainer, Devin Warren, earned a 214 to take the APHA World Championship. It was a special experience for Warren, as well. Not only is he Pepper’s trainer, he also bred and raised the mare, before selling her to Trujillo as a 2-year-old.
“She told me coming down here, ‘Don’t you dare try to sell my horse,’” Warren said, grinning. “She [Pepper] has been really consistent – circles really cute, stops really big. It’s so awesome. She makes the owner smile every time she sees her.”
Depending on Trujillo’s health issues, “She’ll probably crack her out at some of the NRHA [National Reining Horse Association] shows in March,” Warren said of Pepper, a daughter of Boonlight And Diamonds (PT) and out of The Generals Daughter (PT) by Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner).
“I feel very fortunate to have such a passion,” Trujillo said. “Besides my family and the Lord, my horse has always kept my spirits up.”
3-Year-Old Reining Challenge
There are two things about Spooks In Drag that are hard to miss. The 3-year-old mare has more than a passing resemblance to last year’s NRHA Futurity Open winner, Americasnextgunmodel. And, both mares have found success with Weatherford, Texas, trainer Casey Deary.
“They’ve both been really natural stoppers, and they both look a lot alike,” Deary agreed. “That’s why we kind of dress them up just the same, trying to steal a few extra points,” he joked.
Spooks In Drag won the 3-Year-Old Reining Challenge at the APHA World Show, scoring a 218.5 to earn $4,318. She was one of three horses Deary was expected to ride in this year’s NRHA Futurity.
There are a few differences between the two mares, though, Deary said.
“This mare is real quiet and real laid back, and she doesn’t want to get in a hurry going anywhere. The other mare [Americasnextgunmodel] had a lot of feel and a lot of electricity. So if you just kind of sat still, she would be where she was supposed to be,” he said. “This mare, I have to kind of help her go where she is supposed to go and challenge her to go a little harder – which is great. I’m always better off telling them to go rather than telling them to slow down.”
Deary said he prefers to train and show mares. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever have another like Americasnextgunmode, but he’ll sure give it a whirl.
“That’s kind of my forte. I get along with the girls. I just have to think a little more and take a little more time,” he said, admitting that he does expect some inventive ribbing from fellow competitors over Spooks In Drag’s name.
It’s a name she comes by honestly. Spooks In Drag is by Spooks Gotta Gun and out of Its Drag Time, by Great Pine. She is double-registered with the APHA and the American Quarter Horse Association.
“She’s really good circling and really, really good running and stopping. And if you have to have a strong part, you dang sure want that to be the stopping,” Deary said.
Deary was happy to win a first buckle for the mare’s owner, Reinbow Ridge Equestrian, of Schomberg, Ontario, Canada. “She’s huggable, and her owner is in love with her,” Deary said. “I wanted a good experience and I knew she would be competitive here.”
Senior Working Cow Horse
Drum roll, please. It was an exhibition of dominance in the working cow horse classes when perennial favorite Gay Bar Drummer won the Senior class and his 4-year-old son, Tru Oakley, snared the Junior World Championship. It also was an accomplishment for trainer Jack Wright, who piloted both tobiano stallions, and Joni Voloshin, who bred and owns them.
For Gay Bar Drummer, it was his fourth Senior Working Cow Horse World Championship in the last five years. For 4-year-old Tru Oakley, it was the first of what Wright hopes are many. What’s more, after a hard-fought battle for points, Gay Bar Drummer emerged the All-Around Reserve Champion, as well as reserve for the Oscar Crigler Cattle Award and High-Point Western Performance Horse honors. Wright was the show’s High-Point Rider.
“I’ve shown this horse [“Drummer”] since he was between 4 and 5, and he’s just now 13. He just loves his job. I just can’t say enough good about the horse,” said Wright, of Penrose, Colo. “He’s a little sensitive in places, but that’s what makes him good. He’s been an awesome horse, and he and I click together.”
Voloshin is known for her homozygous Paint stallions, which include A Tru Rolex (Tru Bruiser [PT] x Fridays Ebony N Lace [PT] x Dandy PAC Friday), a 1996 black tobiano who is the APHA’s lifetime highest point-earning horse.
Rolex Bar Twister, a son of A Tru Rolex, pulled ahead of Drummer for the 2013 All-Around award. Wright showed the 2005 bay tobiano in working cow horse and reining this year, placing third and 10th, respectively, for owners/breeders Ronald and Marie Kettle, of Craig, Colo. Jay Wadhams showed the stallion, out of Odes President Gal (PT) by Bar Ode Time (PT), in roping events.
Drummer is now third on the lifetime points list behind his sire. He’s closing in on a ranking of second, expected within a few months, said Wright, who competes in the NRHA and National Reined Cow Horse Association as well.
“I can’t stress enough how good a client she’s been to me,” Wright said, noting that Voloshin, of Craig, Colo., has stuck with him most of the 20 years he has been training horses. “She’s had a lot of good horses,” he said, admitting that the big-hearted Drummer, whose second dam was a daughter of Gay Bar King, is his favorite.
Drummer (Drum N Up Spots [PT] x Gay Bar Gold Dust [PT] x Shots Flying Spark [PT]) has collected seven world championships between his cow horse efforts and roping endeavors. This year, Drummer was first in Senior Working Cow Horse, scoring a 422.5, as well as fourth in Senior Reining, third in Senior Heeling, sixth in Senior Tie-Down and 12th in Senior Heading.
Junior Working Cow Horse
Like father, like son: Gay Bar Drummer established himself as a World Champion sire this year when his son, Tru Oakley, won the Junior Working Cow Horse class, also with Wright aboard.
“He’s just really green yet, and I was debating whether to even bring him, but it all worked out really well. He’s 4 years old and he’s been rode about as much as most 2-year-olds. I think in another year, he’s going to be a lot of fun,” Wright said of the grulla tobiano stallion.
Tru Oakley, who is out of Lady Rolex (PT), a mare by Voloshin’s senior stallion, A Tru Rolex (PT), already has colts on the ground, Wright said. “His first crop was born this spring. He’s got some really nice babies. I’ve got a lot of high hopes for this horse.”
“It was awesome to watch him follow in his sire’s footsteps,” said Voloshin, who breeds about 30 foals a year. “It’s a dream, and one that is ongoing.”
Tru Oakley also placed ninth in Junior Reining. Another of Drummer’s 4-year-old sons, Drummin To The Beat, owned by CDJ Performance Horses, won Reserve Championships in Junior Heading and Junior Heeling.
Grant Setnicka couldn’t have hoped for a better World Show. He arrived in Fort Worth from his Grandview, Texas, ranch with two 3-year-olds who were ready to lay it on the line. He showed both horses in two classes, and each left with a winning title.
Wanna Reyz Hal, a Halreycious gelding out of owner/breeder Susan Hearst’s Grays Starlight mare Juana Twinkle (PT), marked a 212 in a difficult class to win the Junior Cutting and earn the APHA World Championship. Setnicka also finished as Reserve Champion with Juan Starstruck Cat.
“It felt good. I’ve had some success [at Paint World] and it makes you feel good going into the NCHA [National Cutting Horse Association] Futurity,” the trainer said after his second day of victory at the show. “Both horses felt good today, but the cattle were a bit tough.”
Wanna Reyz Hal, nicknamed “Juan,” finished second in the 3-Year-Old Cutting Challenge the day before he was crowned a World Champion. For that performance, which scored a 216, the gelding earned $1,160, bringing his Equi-Stat record to $5,654. Earlier in the year, he was a Futurity finalist in Idaho, where he tied for second in the Gelding class and 10th overall.
Juan Starstruck Cat took second in the Junior Cutting, but the Champagne Ranch-owned and -bred mare marked a 218 to win the 3-Year-Old Cutting Challenge. “Cuba” took home bragging rights for an APHA World Show Championship, as well as a check for $1,740.
“I made the Idaho and West Texas [Futurity] finals on Cuba,” Setnicka said. “I’m pretty sure Champagne Ranch wants to keep her, because they raised her and I think they’re pretty partial to her.”
Juan Starstruck Cat is by the Los Angeles, Calif.-based ranch’s stallion Juan Bad Cat (PT), out of Starstruck DB by Grays Starlight. With an early Equi-Stat record of $6,498, she ranks as his second-highest offspring after just two crops of show-age foals.
Altogether, Setnicka left the World Show, the third he’s attended, with his fourth Challenge win, third APHA World Championship, first Reserve World title and $2,900. The 30-year-old, who earned his first cutting check in 2006, is now approaching the $1 million mark.
“I think the APHA really tries to put on a good show. It’s a good little association,” Setnicka said. “My customers like the Paints, and they’re good horses and they want to cut. That’s why I’m here, and it was a really good show.”
4-Year-Old Cutting Challenge
It’s been six years since Brett Davis, of Texarkana, Texas, showed at the APHA World Show. The timing was a little difficult this year because of NCHA meetings, but luckily, Davis’ assistant and son, Bradey, was able to lend a hand getting Ima Pinta Playgirl ready.
“He got her ready and brought her over, and I just showed her,” Davis said. “I haven’t been in a few years and I haven’t shown the mare a whole lot, but she’s a nice mare.”
Ima Pinta Playgirl, by Taris Peppy Playboy and out of the Smart Lil Paradign mare Prissy But Smart (PT), marked a 216 from the second draw in the six-horse 4-Year-Old Cutting Challenge to win the Show Championship. The performance also earned owner Mark Lanning of Twisted L Ranch a check for $4,309.
“We were tickled,” Davis said. “She was really good and she’s been coming right along. She went in there and did her job. That’s all we can expect.
“She doesn’t get herself in a bind, and that’s a big thing,” he continued about the class. “The first cow I cut was one the help had to come down and move. A lot of times, a horse will cue on the help and try to guess which way the cow’s going to go. I was like, ‘Oh mare, just think right here!’ and she did her job.”
Lanning couldn’t be more excited for his mare to succeed at the World Show, which will start proving Twisted L Ranch’s Taris Peppy Playboy (Freckles Playboy x Taris Painted Girl x Peppy San Badger) as a quality sire. The 13-year-old is double-registered and one of only two overo stallions by Freckles Playboy, Lanning said. Unfortunately, he was injured as a 3-year-old, so he was never shown.
“This is great, because I raised [Ima Pinta Playgirl] and I raised her mother and her granddam. I also raised her sire,” Lanning said. “[Promoting a sire with no performance record] is one of the biggest challenges as a stallion owner. People want to see the stallion perform. This is a big step in the direction of making him a legitimate sire of cutting horses.”
Lanning debuted Ima Pinta Playgirl at the NCHA Futurity in the Amateur. From here, the mare will likely get seasoned at weekend events in the Open, and Lanning may show her more in limited-age classes. Lanning boasts earnings of $12,160 and Davis’ Equi-Stat record reflects $1.6 million.