Shepard Tops The Four Sixes/NCHA Eastern Nationals Open

AShepardEditedAustin ShepardDuring the first week of competition at The Four Sixes/NCHA Eastern Nationals, held March 9-21 at the Mississippi Fairgrounds in Jackson, Mississippi, competitor’s endured wet weather and tough competition, but eight champions were crowned.

 On March 11, the first champion was crowned in Jackson. Leading the pack and taking home the $15,000 Novice Championship was Austin Shepard and Cat Sheree (High Brow CD x Nurse Sheree x Peptoboonsmal). However, the 2010 mare, bred by Bill Paxton of Tallulah, Louisiana, owned by Plantation Farms LLC, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, wasn’t finished yet.

During the Open finals on March 12, 23 horse-and-rider teams were trying to earn the paycheck and the Championship, but after Shepard and Cat Sheree entered the pen as the first draw, no one could touch them. The duo marked a whopping 223, taking home the Open Championship.

“That mare has been so good this week. I was just happy to have a shot at a decent cow at the beginning of the bunch. I was good with it to go first and I would rather go first,” said Shepard regarding his draw. “In the end it depends on where you are and the set of cows. Sometimes in the finals it’s better to be the last horse, but as tough as these cows have been, I like to have my pick at them if I could.”

 Shepard, of Summerdale, Alabama, also piloted Sweet Little Cats (High Brow Cat x Sweet Little CD x CD Olena) to the $15,000 Novice Reserve Championship with a score of 217. The 6-year-old gelding was bred by Bob Wendel and James Eakin, of Hondo, Texas, and is owned by 10/27 Ranch LLC, of Denham Springs, Louisiana.

Earning the Open Reserve Championship was SDP Locked N Loaded (Laredo Blue x Cat Tuesday x High Brow Cat), owned by Ken Sitton, of Freeport, Texas, with trainer Steve Oehlhof, of Corsicana, Texas. The 8-year-old, red roan gelding, bred by the Buffalo Ranch, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Oehlhof marked a 219 for their performance.

$5,000 Novice

Chartier WoodsEditedCullen Chartier (left) & Guy Woods (right)Also taking home championships on March 12, were two horse-and-rider teams. In the $5,000 Novice finals, Guy Woods piloted EE Ranches of Texas’s Ichi Sangria (Cat Ichi x Scratchin x Laker Doc) as the third draw to mark a 219. The duo held the high score until draw 16 entered the arena. Cullen Chartier and Poundcake Deluxe (Cats Quixote Jack x Etta Rey x Dual Rey), bred by Gary and Jessica Gonsalves, of Millsap, Texas, gave Woods a run for his money and ultimately marked a 219, as well.

“We had two really good cows to start with and my third cow was just a little weak,” said Woods, of Pilot Point, Texas. “She’s only 5 years old and she’s had six runs here in three days. She’s just a good horse to be around. She’s a big strong mare and when you’re sitting on top of her and she does that big move like that she’ll turn you around a little bit.”

“[Poundcake Deluxe] is pretty laid back. She’s real easy to get along with. Just does her job every time everyday. Really one of the easier horses I’ve had to work with,” said Chartier, of Weatherford, Texas, about the 6-year-old mare owned by Charlie and Denise Seiz, of Cedartown, Georgia. “I was early [draw] so I had certain cows in my head that I wanted to cut, but I knew I just wanted to be clean because the cows have been a little fast here.”

Gini One Time (One Time Pepto x Paving The Rey x Dual Rey), bred and owned by Gary Dellinger, of Catawba, North Carolina, and trainer Austin Shepard marked a 218, earning the $5,000 Novice Reserve Championship.

$15,000 Amateur

MRosenberg3Millie Jo RosenbergTaking home the $15,000 Amateur Championship on March 13, was 12-year-old Millie Jo Rosenberg and Mr Peppy Pepto (Peptoboonsmal x Tequiero Peppy x Peppy San Badger), bred by Taryn and Stanley Morris Jr., of Abilene, Texas.

The duo entered the 28-horse finals as draw 24 and marked a 216 that stuck through the end. But, before coming to Jackson to compete in the first go-round, Rosenberg had a few things to take care of at home in Bush, Louisiana.

“I had to take a social studies exam yesterday morning before the go-round and then quickly come here, get changed, and get on him,” Rosenberg said. “[Mr Peppy Pepto] is 14 years old. He is really smooth and he is just a really fun horse.”

Receiving the $15,000 Amateur Reserve Championship was Texarkana, Texas-native Brad Barker and PC Double Crown (High Brow Cat x Oh Cay Shorty x Shorty Lena). The 2010 gelding, bred by Patrick and Laura Collins, of Lincoln, Illinois, and Barker marked a 215.5 for their performance.

Junior Youth

CShepard2Cade ShepardThe Junior Youth competitors opened the day on March 15 and they did not go unnoticed. In the finals, Cade Shepard and Some Kinda Highbrow (High Brow CD x Some Kinda Memories x Smart Little Lena) entered the arena as the second draw and laid down a run that could not be touched. Shepard and the 5-year-old gelding, bred by the Shrontz Family Ltd Partners, of Beaumont, Texas, marked a sweet 222 earning the Junior Youth Championship.

“We’ve had [Some Kinda Highbrow] since he was a yearling and Mr. Todd Quirk owned part of him and we owned part of him, and right before the [2013 NCHA] Futurity we bought the rest of him. Then, I showed him there and made the Limited Non-Pro semifinals,” Shepard said. “He is very laid back and he’s not going to go too fast. He’s lazy. He’s not going to freak out at anything if you’re walking anywhere outside or anything.”

Taking home the Junior Youth Reserve Championship was Blake Graham and Legal Dream (Dual Rey x Short Candy x Shorty Lena), bred by Kelly Schaar, of Goliad, Texas. The 10-year-old gelding and Graham, of Rockledge, Georgia, marked a 219 for their performance.

Senior Youth

SClark2Sheridan ClarkDuring the 14-horse Senior Youth finals, having an early draw proved to be the key. As the second team to compete, Sheridan Clark piloted Short N Smooth (Smooth As A Cat x Playin Shorty x Playin Stylish), bred by to mark a 218, earning them the Championship.

“I won it last year in the Junior Youth and it’s a really fun show. Last year I did good so I wanted to come back. I get to see all my friends that I don’t get to see that much, so it’s fun,” Clark, of Weatherford, Texas, said about competing in Jackson.

“I had to get my horse ready today, so I didn’t really get to watch cows. Austin [Shepard] told me a few cows and I was second so there were a lot of fresh cows,” Clark continued. “He told me about my first cow, I got it on out and I drove it up and when I put my hand down she ran to the corner and Austin got her stopped before she ran me over, then we got back in place. My second and third cow was really good. [We] cut them in a good spot and [Short N Smooth] was really good the whole time.”

Receiving the Senior Youth Reserve Championship was Kolby Moore, of Morriston, Florida, and SDP My Man Sam (Smart Little Lena x Justaswinging Peanut x Justa Swinging Peppy), bred by Dean Sanders, of Anderson, Texas. As the last draw in their class, Moore and the 11-year-old gelding, owned by Jarrett and Shannon Callahan, of McConnells, South Carolina, marked a 216 for their performance.

$2,000 Limit Rider

SForby2Shae ForbyClosing out the first week of competition was 15-year-old Shae Forby, of Goreville, Illinois, and Cats Miller Time (High Brow Cat x Little Smashed x Peppy San Badger). After having a draw near the end of the $2,000 Limit Rider finals, Forby and the 6-year-old gelding, bred by Rodney Sharp, of Yellville, Arkansas marked a 214.5 and took the Championship.

“[This win] feels very good. I felt him really stop hard a couple times and the third cow made me kind of nervous when I cut it out because it was running a lot more than I’d like it to,” Forby said about her run on Cats Miller Time. “We got him in December. He can be a little lazy sometimes, but he’s good for the most part.”

There was a tie for the $2,000 Limit Rider Reserve Championship between Kristyn Kleeman, of Madill, Oklahoma, riding Imaginerey (Dual Rey x Peek A Boon x Smart Little Lena), and Sandra Patton, of Washington Court House, Ohio, aboard Magic Abbie (Abrakadabracre x Little Peppy Polka x Peppy San Badger). 

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