Clinched by a 228 cow work that he called a personal best, National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Million-Dollar Rider Todd Bergen, of Eagle Point, Ore., claimed the 2014 NRCHA Stakes Open Championship April 5 at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev., riding This One Time (One Time Pepto x Katie Starlight x Grays Starlight), owned by Pamela Bailey.
Bergen piloted the 2009 stallion to a composite score of 664 (218 herd/218 rein/228 cow), winning the Championship by an 11-point margin.
“It was a lot of fun, I can guarantee you that. To win one of these deals, and to make a fence run like that – it was probably the best fence run of my life. He’s an incredible horse. I knew he had it in him. We just needed to get it done one of these times,” Bergen said.
The Championship paid $29,107, and This One Time also earned the NRCHA Stakes Sire Award, a $3,500 cash prize and a C.R. Morrison Trophy, for Matthews Cutting Horses, who owns One Time Pepto and nominated him for the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion program. Bergen also won a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Mattie Neal; a Gist buckle and C.R. Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA; a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes; a gift certificate and cooler tote bag from San Juan Ranch, a division of Santa Cruz Biotechnologies; and equine supplements from Platinum Performance.
This One Time had a successful 3-year-old futurity season with Bergen, finishing as the 2012 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Reserve Champion, but hit a run of tough luck the following year.
“Last year didn’t go so good for us. We came off being reserve champion at the Futurity, and last year we’d make the finals and lose a cow, or something bad would happen, so thank you to Pam Bailey, his owner, for sticking with me and sticking it out. I knew this horse was a good horse, and here we are, his five year old year, and we finally got it all put together,” Bergen said.
A total of eight foals sired by One Time Pepto appeared in the Open, Intermediate and Limited Open Finals, and Bergen credits the stallion’s offspring as versatile and easy to train.
“I think the One Time horses fit this event really good. A lot of them, conformationally, are built right to do all three events, herd work, reining and going down the fence, and obviously they’ve got the cow smarts. Most of them are really good-minded and take everything in stride,” he said.
Bergen had two other One Time Pepto foals in the Open Stakes finals, a pair of full siblings both owned by Roxanne Koepsell. He finished 7th on the 2010 stallion One Shiney Pistol (One Time Pepto x Shiners Lil Pistol x Shining Spark), and 14th on the 2009 mare, Peptos Shiney Pistol.
Another One Time Pepto foal, Rubys Radar, out of the mare Ruby Bagonia by Peppy San Badger, was the Stakes Open Reserve Champion. The 2010 stallion, shown by Zane Davis for owner Billie Filippini, scored a total 653 (212 herd/220.5 rein/220.5 cow), earning $21,447. The Reserve Champion Sire Award, a check for $2,000, also went to Matthews Cutting Horses.
The Stakes Open third place horse, Jackies Sparkle (Nic It In The Bud x Shinersdiamondjackie x Shining Spark), shown by Phillip Ralls for owner Estelle Roitblat, collected $17,617 and a Sire Award check for $1,500. The Sire Award went to Nic It In The Bud’s owner, Silver Spurs Equine, who enrolled him in the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion Program.
In his first time to win a NRCHA Premier Event Championship, Wade Reaney, of Rupert, Idaho, claimed the Stakes Intermediate Open Championship aboard Kick Up The Lights (CD Lights x Kickback Nic x Nic It In The Bud), owned by John Prudden.
Reaney scored a total 649.5 (216 herd/215 rein/218.5 cow), earning $6,383. The Intermediate Open Sire Award, a $1,000 check, went to CD Lights’s owners, Winston Hansma and Danny Motes, who enrolled him in the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion Program.
“In the herd work, he was like I think he should be, 72s, that’s about where he is. I cut clean and was pretty happy. I had great herd help. Jake Telford and Dan Roeser have been in my corner forever, and Ted Robinson and Jon Roeser always turn back for me. I was pretty confident in the herd work. He worked well for me in the reining, and then he did exactly what he was supposed to do down the fence.”
Reaney also trained and showed Kick Up The Lights’s dam, Kickback Nic, and competed with her at the Stakes in the Holy Cow Performance Horses Open Bridle Spectacular.
“I’ve shown his mother quite a bit. She was a finalist at Reno in the Open, and I ended up 11th. I won the Idaho futurity on her. It was fun having the family here. John Prudden used to own Kickback Nic, and now Amelia Spratling owns her,” Reaney said.
And how did he feel about taking home a NRCHA Premier Event Championship?
“I’ve never really won one before, so I’m pretty excited, I guess. It feels good!” Reaney said.
The Intermediate Open Reserve Champion was Jon Roeser, of Lemoore, Calif., who rode Peptos Smart Remedy (Peptoboonsmal x Ima Smart Remedy x Smart Little Lena) to a total 646 on three events (219 herd/212 rein/215.5 cow), earning $4,787 for the 2009 stallion’s owner, Sprig Haven Farms.
At first, it didn’t appear that Coloradoboonsmal (Peptoboonsmal x Miss Playboys Josie x Freckles Playboy) wanted to be a show horse. In fact, his shenanigans during his early training led his owners, Ted and Cheryl Swanson, to nickname him “Ed,” in honor of the viral Youtube video depicting the behavior of a naughty pony by the same name.
In the hands of Colorado professional Keith Vogel, the 2010 gelding has become compliant to the point of winning the NRCHA Stakes Limited Open Championship, scoring a total 642 (208 herd/215.5 rein/218.5 cow), earning $4,256. The NRCHA Stakes Sire Award, a $1,000 check, went to Peptoboonsmal’s owner, Jackson Land and Cattle, who nominated him for the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion program.
“We maybe didn’t get along as well in the herd as we wanted. The horse was trying to be good, but things happen sometimes. He was really good in the reining, and was, finally, probably as good as he can be down the fence. I got this horse at the end of last summer, partially because he was a renegade. I’ve really grown to like him and I hope he’s grown to like me. I’m really happy, and I think he’s going to be a great show horse. I thank his owners very much for sending him to me. This has been a blast. He’s been a great horse, with great owners, and let’s hope we can keep it up!” Vogel said.
The Limited Open Reserve Champion was Coco Before Chanel (Smart Little Pepinic x Montana Fox x Doctor Fox), a 2009 mare shown by Chris Krieg for owner Cassandra Biller. Their 642 composite score (215.5 herd/214.5 rein/212 cow) was identical to Vogel’s and Coloradoboonsmal’s, but the tie-breaker, the higher fence work score, tipped the Championship in Coloradoboonsmal’s favor. Krieg collected $3,405 for the placing.
For the second consecutive year, Tammy Jo Hays, of Nocona, Texas, claimed the NRCHA Stakes Non-Pro Championship aboard her 2009 mare, Two Kitties (Smooth As A Cat x SR Jaguar x Doc O’Lena).
Hays piloted “Whiskers” to a combined 652 score (216 herd/215 rein/221 cow) in the clean-slate Non-Pro finals at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The Championship paid $7,114 and came with numerous prizes: a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Mattie Neal; a Gist buckle and C.R. Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA; boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes; a gift certificate and cooler bag from San Juan Ranch, a division of Santa Cruz Animal Health; and equine supplements from Platinum Performance.
Two Kitties also earned a $1,500 NRCHA Stakes Sire Award check for Manion Ranch, who nominated the mares sire, Smooth As A Cat, to the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion program.
“Two Kitties is a very, very special horse to me,” Hays said. “As a competitor, you pray and hope and dream to win a major championship just once, but to win it twice? I don’t know if there is even a word to describe the feeling.”
Despite two challenging draw positions – last in the herd and first down the fence – Two Kitties’ typical cow sense and athleticism delivered the second-high herd score and the top fence score.
“In the herd, I watched other riders work my first cattle choices, and then my second ones, and all the other ones we were looking at. I finally just told my herd help I was going to get ready and I would go with whatever they told me to work,” Hays said. “Down the fence, she worked really well for me. As soon as that cow came out she was connected to it, and that was true for the whole run. In the rein work, she felt great – she has never been very easy to stop, but she stopped for me and just performed like a good solid citizen.”
Hays appreciated her higher power, her herd help, and her husband for contributing to her success.
“I always thank God, first and foremost, and my husband [NRCHA Professional Shawn Hays]. My herd help is the best. It is not possible to do well if you don’t have good help, and I appreciate them so much,” she said.
Shannon McCarty, of Solvang, Calif., had a triple payday at the NRCHA Stakes, collecting the Championships in the Intermediate Non-Pro and Novice Non-Pro divisions, and finishing as the Non-Pro Reserve Champion.
McCarty and her 2009 gelding, Hick Olena (Hick Chicaroo x Miss Ann Oleana x Miss N Cash), scored a total 645.5 (222 herd/211 rein/212.5 cow) for combined checks totaling $9,617. McCarty also collected a triple helping of prizes: Gist buckles and C.R. Morrison Trophies from the NRCHA; giff certificates and cooler bags from San Juan Ranch, a division of Santa Cruz Animal Health; and equine supplements from Platinum Performance.
NRCHA Stakes Sire Award checks totaling $2,500 went to Latigo Canyon, who nominated Hick Olena’s sire, Hick Chicaroo, to the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion program.
Before Hick Olena came to the reined cow horse side, he had been a successful cutting horse, with approximately $25,000 in earnings when she bought him, McCarty said. She likes his pedigree, and previously showed his full sister at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.
“I haven’t had him that long, and this is actually his first NRCHA show, so I was really pleased with how he performed. I’ve had him since January, and I’ve been working with him on the reining and the fence work,” she said. “The biggest thing was to get him going more like a reiner than a cutter in the stops. A cutter, when they stop, they stop, and for the reining, we want them to slide. We’re still working on that, and also getting him comfortable chasing a cow down the fence instead of drawing back from it and cutting it. He’s adapting well,” she said.
A former race horse rider, McCarty “never swung a leg over a Western saddle until I was in my twenties. I got my first snaffle bitter from Ward Ranch, and I’ve sort of had one ever since. I’ve had a lot of good people helping me along the way,” she said. McCarty receives cow horse help from trainer Phillip Ralls, and also rides reining horses under professional Randy Paul’s guidance.
The Intermediate Non-Pro Reserve Champion was Bubba Petty, Roseburg, Ore., riding Pepinics Lil Outlaw (Smart Little Pepinic x Pand Delight x Grays Starlight). He piloted the 2010 gelding to a total 622.5 score (198 herd/209.5 rein/215 cow), earning $3,048 and taking home a $300 Farnam Prize Pack.
In the Novice Non-Pro, Kathy Wilson and Chex Out My Tomcat (Tomcat Chex x Freckles Award x SMF Lenas Award) were the Reserve Champions, scoring a 625 total score to earn $1,059 and a $300 Farnam Prize Pack.