After four fun days of top-quality reined cow horse competition, the Horse Show By Appointment (HSBA) Championship Double C Saddlery Finals came to a conclusion on Sunday, Jan. 11.
Youth, Level One and Level Two Boxing and Two-Rein competitors all came out for their second run at Triple J Ranch in Sarasota, Florida, before the HSBA presented the final championship awards, including generous cash prizes, custom saddles from Double C Saddlery and knives and belt buckles from Skyline Silversmiths.
Throughout the course of the weekend, the HSBA awarded $100,000 in cash and prizes, contributing to the great success of the HSBA Championship Finals in only its second year.
“This year was even bigger and better than last year,” HSBA founder Rick Steed said. “We had a great fill. Triple J Ranch and Steed Training were able to pay the youth entry fees and make it very comfortable for them to be here and have the opportunity to compete, which was great.”
Steed continued, “There was lot of friendly rivalry going on. The feeling of the whole show was very friendly, relaxed and great all around.”
On the final day of competition, the Open and Non-Pro Two-Rein competitors took to the ring first for their second and final shot at the top spots. In the Open Two-Rein division, the championship went to Robert J. Smith III and Jodi Henderson’s Chics Burnin Daylite, and in the Non-Pro Two-Rein, the championship was awarded to Morgan Holmes and her Mutt.
Holmes, daughter of Triple J Ranch owners Jay and Rhonda Holmes, is a freshman at Vernon College in Texas, and Mutt is one of the three horses that she has had at school with her while competing on the school’s rodeo team.
“We bred her momma, and I trained her,” Holmes said of the 6-year-old mare. “She’s a pretty cool little horse. This is actually our last cow horse show with her. She’s going to be a rope horse now.”
Holmes continued, “She’ll most likely go back to school with me so that we can practice, and she can get seasoned.”
Holmes is now two-for-two in the HSBA Non-Pro Two-Rein division, having won the championship last year as well.
In the closely contested Level 1 Boxing division, the championship went to Jackie Esker and her Gunna Miss You, a mount her trainer, Steed, helped connect her with.
“I’ve had her for nine months. She’s pretty new,” Esker explained. “She came from somebody else, and Rick Steed had her. She was blown up. Some trainer had totally fried her brain. Now she’s lovely on a cow. She doesn’t let a cow by her. She and I really connect. Rick put us together, and he matched me up with her because my energy is so low and hers is high. We just kind of came together, and she’s really quiet for me and good for me. We’re a great match.”
Esker continued, “I was really happy with her this weekend. Our first run was fabulous. I just went out there to try to do the best I could and just make a clean run on the second run. We did it, and I’m happy.”
Esker hopes to move up a level with Gunna Miss You before next year’s HSBA Championship Finals, and she plans to continue competing with the HSBA as much as possible.
“The SBA shows are a lot of fun,” Esker said. There’s a lot of great people here, and we all get along really well and cheer each other on. We want the best for the next person that goes in the ring.”
Thanks largely to the generous support of Steed Training and Triple J Ranch who covered entry costs, a large number of Youth and Little Britches division riders also had their go in the competition arena.
The young riders’ runs made up the bulk of the afternoon competition before Hannah Hedgcock earned the Youth Boxing championship aboard her own Heza German Jewel and Karissa Hammerich claimed the Little Britches Championship riding Paige Farr’s Colonel Rey Lynx Ct.
Rounding out the list of champions were Tracey Sanchez and Smart Master Plan in the Amateur Boxing division and Ariana Rivera and Arawans Gold Rose in the Level 2 Boxing.