2013 Celebration of Champions Derby News

2/12/2013

Celebration of Champions


WORLD’S GREATEST REPEAT!


Ron Emmons
World's Greatest Horseman Champions Ron Emmons and Olena Oak, owned by LaDona Emmons (left) and Nichole Scott.

Olena Oak, Ron Emmons Win Second Consecutive World's Greatest Horseman Title

In a thrilling, down-to-the-wire fence work finish Saturday, Feb. 2 at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas, leading NRCHA professional Ron Emmons claimed his second consecutive World's Greatest Horseman Championship aboard Olena Oak (Smart Chic Olena x Fritzs Oak E Doakie), a 2002 stallion owned in partnership between Nichole Scott and Emmons' wife, LaDona Emmons.

Emmons and Olena Oak scored a 219.5 in the herd work, a 214.5 in the rein work, a 221.5 in the steer-stopping and 219 in the cow work. While they did not place first in any of the events, the steady stream of above-average scores added up to the winning 874 composite total on four events. The World's Greatest Horseman Championship came with a $25,000 check, a Bob's Custom Saddle and a host of other prizes.

"I'm ecstatic," Emmons said, following the win. "I'm just excited. It's a great deal and a great event, with great horses to compete against. To be able to get by those guys and win a prize is pretty awesome."

Heading into the all-important final event, the cow work, Emmons and Olena Oak were deadlocked with Boyd Rice and Oh Cay N Short (Oh Cay Quixote x Bit Of Shorty), who were first to work down the fence. Their 215.5 score brought their total on four events to 870.5, which held the lead until Emmons and Ernie worked second-to-last in the draw.

"Boyd left the door open," Emmons said. "I knew it was going to end up that the cow would tell us who won. If I could be solid down the fence and not make any mistakes, I knew I could be good."

Emmons' cow acted wild when it first entered the arena, and as soon as it settled down, he took it down the fence. The cow challenged Olena Oak in the first fence turn, but the gritty stallion never weakened.

"The cow did not want to turn. Ernie had to hold his shoulder against it and make it turn. After that, I knew I had him. We made a second turn and circled real tight," the Ione, Calif., horseman said.

As the horn blew to signal the end of the run, Emmons flung his hat high into the Spur Arena rafters as the spectators roared, knowing they had just witnessed a repeat victory.

Olena Oak's co-owners, Nichole Scott and LaDona Emmons, said their confidence in Ron and Ernie overcame the butterflies in their stomachs as they watched their stallion enter the arena for the fence work.

"We just wanted him to go in and have a good run. That's all we want, go have a run and however it ends up, it ends up," LaDona said.

Nichole agreed: "I don't get nervous as much as I used to because Ron and Ernie together are amazing, and whatever they do is whatever they do. They've proven themselves over and over and over."

Nichole previously owned Ernie in partnership with her father, Mel Smith. When he was ready to sell his share of the stallion, it was only natural for LaDona to buy in - a deal they completed late in December.

"The three of us work really well together. Everything is discussed and everything is for the best of the horse. It's not about us," Nichole said.

"I'm blessed to even be a part of it," LaDona said.

Boyd Rice, Oh Cay N Short Capture World's
Greatest Horseman Reserve Championship

Boyd RiceBoyd Rice and Oh Cay N Short won the World's Greatest Horseman herd work finals with a 222, and took the Reserve Championship with an 870 on four events.
Riding Oh Cay N Short (Oh Cay Quixote x Bit Of Shorty), his 2007 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion, Boyd Rice captured the World's Greatest Horseman Reserve Championship, scoring 870 on four events.

The Spearman, Texas, professional won the World's Greatest Horseman preliminary round and led in the finals until Olena Oak's winning cow work late in the set.

Rice and Oh Cay N Short, known as "Coyote," won the finals herd work with a 222, then scored a 216 in the rein work, a 215 in the steer stopping and a 215.5 down the fence.

"He gave me everything he had," Rice said of Oh Cay N Short.

Oh Cay N Short showed in San Angelo under the name of his prior owners, Kevin and Sydney Knight, but Rice is now the 2003 gelding's owner.

"Kevin gave him to me for Christmas, but he had already entered him here so I told Kevin I'd partner with him until it was over. After this, he's mine," Rice said, adding that the gift came as a complete shock.

"I was big-time surprised! Everybody else knew it, but I didn't. a couple days after he gave him to me, I called [NRCHA Million-Dollar Rider and 2012 NRCHA Futurity Champion] Corey Cushing and said, "Did you know they gave me that horse?" And he said, "Oh yeah, I knew it three months ago!" Everybody knew it but me," Rice said.

Mr Playinstylish Wins Open Bridle World Championship
with Robbie Boyce in the saddle

Robbie BoyceNRCHA Open Bridle World Champions Robbie Boyce and Mr Playinstylish, owned by Kit & Charlie Moncrief.
The World's Greatest Horseman finalists claim another title in San Angelo

On Thursday, Jan. 31, Robbie Boyce, Purcell, Okla., guided Mr Playinstylish (Playin Stylish x Tari Chick Gay), owned by Kit and Charlie Moncrief, to a berth in the World's Greatest Horseman finals. Less than 24 hours later, on Friday, Feb. 1, the pair won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Open Bridle World Championship at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas.

Boyce piloted "Gremlin" to scores of 220.5 in the rein work and 217.5 in the cow work. Their 438 composite score earned the $7,777 World Championship paycheck, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Carol Rose Quarter Horses, a Gist buckle from Smart Boons/Kevin & Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes, a $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies and a bandage bag from NRCHA.

"I was just trying to have a nice, clean run. I was late in the draw, it was a tough class, but I just tried to be nice and clean. I was a little upset with my cow - I thought I had more cow than that. I made the first turn and it just kind of died off, but I was really happy with my horse. He was real honest," Boyce said.

Mr Playinstylish was unaffected by the demands of showing in the World's Greatest Horseman and the Open Bridle World Championships on consecutive days, he said.

"He's a workhorse. It doesn't bother him. I think it makes him even a little bit better, but I can tell you more about that tomorrow [after the World's Greatest Horseman finals]," Boyce said, laughing. "He's trained, he's been shown a lot, he knows his job and he doesn't take tons of preparation. You just lope him and go show him."

Although Boyce often shows the 2005 stallion for the Moncriefs, Mr Playinstylish is a product of Boyd Rice's training program.

"Boyd's always had him. I'm just showing him for Boyd here. Boyd's trained him all the way," Boyce said. "I've had an opportunity to show him in the past when Boyd couldn't, so I know the horse pretty well."

Boyce and Mr Playinstylish will compete in the World's Greatest Horseman finals Saturday, Feb. 2.

The Open Bridle Reserve World Champion was Starlighting (Grays Starlight x Ollie Olena), a 2003 stallion shown by Ron Emmons, Ione, Calif., for owner Coyote Rock Ranch. Emmons rode Starlighting to scores of 219 in the rein work and 218 in the cow work, for a total 437 on two events and a $6,111 payday.


Keith Vogel Rides Little Pistol Peach to Limited Open Bridle World Championship in San Angelo, Texas

Keith VogelLimited Open Bridle World Champion horse Little Pistol Peach, shown by Keith Vogel and owned by his fiancee, Lauren Porter.
Pueblo, Colo., horseman won the Limited Open Bridle Preliminaries and the World Championship

The first National Reined Cow Horse Association World Champions were crowned Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas, with Pueblo, Colo., professional Keith Vogel claiming the Limited Open Bridle World Championship and $2,985 aboard Little Pistol Peach (Playgun x Lone Star Peach), a 6-year-old mare he owns with his fiancee, Lauren Porter.

The World Championship also came with a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Jerry Kimmel Performance Horses, a custom Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes, a notebook sponsored by Classic Equine and a commemorative World Championship Finals bandage bag from the NRCHA.

Vogel, 28, and the sorrel mare he calls"Shooter" were the very first in the working order. They set an untouchable high score - a 222 in the rein work and 220.5 in the cow work, for a 442.5 composite. Last Saturday, Jan. 26, Vogel and Little Pistol Peach won the Limited Open Bridle preliminary round as well.

"There never was a time that mare didn't feel like she was with me," Vogel said, smiling. "She's really a gamer. She'll go out there every day and show hard. I've never had a horse that stays as good in the show pen as she does. She's never had a bad day."

Vogel and Porter bought the mare as a 4-year-old when her breeder decided to sell her, thinking she wouldn't make it as a show horse. Vogel saw plenty of ability in the hard-stopping, hard-working mare.

"I always knew she would make a good bridle horse," he said. "She feels like a spaceship. You just put your hand down and go on."

Vogel began his training career as an assistant to J.D. Yates, the champion rope horse trainer and cow horse competitor. He also thanked Don Murphy, Chris Dawson and Darren Miller for mentoring him and coaching him. It was the fourth year Vogel had shown at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, but the first time he had reached the winner's circle.

"I've had really good horses, but just never had the luck that we've had here this year. It's nice that everything has gone our way so far," he said.

The show is not over for Vogel and "Shooter." They also qualified for the Open Two Rein World Championship finals on Thursday, Jan. 31.

The Limited Open Bridle Reserve World Champion was A Quick Prize (Smokums Prize x Just Quick Filli) shown by Trapper Rodgers for owner Christina Lytle. They scored a 215 in the rein work and 211.5 in the cow work for a total 427 and a $2,488 payday.

Lyn Anderson Wins NRCHA Open Hackamore World Championship on Tuckers Smart Cat

Lyn AndersonOpen Hackamore World Champions Tuckers Smart Cat and Lyn Anderson.

Tuckers Smart CatTuckers Smart Cat as a foal, pictured with his dam, the recently-deceased Smoke Time Tuck. She was the all-time no. 1 producing reined cow horse dam.

It is the second consecutive World Championship for Anderson and the 2007 gelding

For a second year in a row, Madera, Calif., professional Lyn Anderson guided Tuckers Smart Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Smoke Time Tuck) to the NRCHA Open Hackamore World Championship Feb. 1 at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas.

Anderson rode the 2007 gelding, owned by David and Barbara Archer, to a 220.5 in the rein work and 224 in the cow work. the 444.5 composite score netted $7,994, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Carol Rose Quarter Horses, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons/Kevin & Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes, a $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies and a bandage bag from the NRCHA.

On Wednesday, Anderson and Tuckers Smart Cat topped the Open Hackamore Preliminaries with a nearly identical score - a 443.5.

"In the prelims, he was a little more chargey in the rundowns to the stops than he was in the finals, so I was really happy in the finals that he waited on me. On the cow, both times, I thought he was awesome. This cow in the finals, I thought had a little higher degree of difficulty than the prelim cow, and he was never more than an inch away from the cow. He's just such an athlete," Anderson said.

Tuckers Smart Cat is out of the top-producing reined cow horse dam, Smoke Time Tuck (Doc Tom Tucker x Ima Smoke), a 1985 mare who died shortly before the Celebration of Champions.

Foaled in 1985, Smoke Time Tuck always had the same owner - Bar Eleven Quarter Horses, the Eagle Point, Ore., horse operation owned by NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman Skip Brown.

As a 3-year-old, Smoke Time Tuck earned $3,555 in the show pen, but her greatest contribution to her sport has been through her babies. Anderson helped Smoke Time Tuck's foals achieve their greatest potential; she has shown six of those offspring foals, earning approximately $350,000.

"The number of foals she has had that have been money earners is just amazing, with only breeding one time a year. there's no embryo transfer, no nothing, and she's still on top. I owe a lot to that mare," Anderson said.

Smoke Time Tuck babies have similar ability and disposition, Anderson said. High-motored and physically gifted, they are all natural cow horse performers.

"They're all hugely quick in the front end and super fence horses," she said.

Tuckers Smart Cat will continue in training and prepare to compete as a two rein and bridle horse in the season ahead, Anderson said.

The Open Hackamore Reserve World Champion was ARC Sparkin Chics (Chic Please x Sailing Spark), shown by NRCHA Million-Dollar Rider Doug Williamson, Bakersfield, Calif., and owned by Rocking J Ranch. The 2008 stallion scored a 217.5 in the rein work and 221 in the cow work for a 438.5 and a $6,281 payday.

Pinchin Chics and Dan Daponde Win Limited Open Hackamore World Championship

Dan DapondeDan Daponde won the Limited Open Hackamore World Championship aboard Pinchin Chics, a gelding Daponde owns in partnership with Sox & Sandals LLC.
Moorpark, Calif., horseman scores a 431.5 to win $2,603 and a Bob's Custom Saddle!

Dan Daponde claimed his first major National Reined Cow Horse Association title when he piloted Pinchin Chics (Nic It In The Bud x Smart Hippie Chic) to the Limited Open Hackamore World Championship at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas. Daponde owns the 2008 gelding in partnership with Sox & Sandals, LLC.

Working last in the set of 10 finalists, Daponde and "Rudy" scored 214.5 in the rein work and 217.5 in the cow work. The 431.5 combined score was good for a $2,603 paycheck, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by the NRCHA, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes and a commemorative World Finals bandage bag from the NRCHA.

Daponde had back surgery three months ago, and was under doctor's orders to stay out of the saddle until the week before the show in San Angelo. His mentor and fellow trainer, NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman Ted Robinson, Oakdale, Calif., rode Daponde's show horses for him while he recovered.

"I am showing four horses here, and Teddy kept them all going for me. I owe him a big round of thanks," Daponde said. "I was literally still in the recovery room after surgery when Teddy called and said, 'Do you need anything?'"

Daponde also credits the good-natured Pinchin Chics, nicknamed "Rudy" for his winning attitude, for helping him reach the winner's circle.

"He's always trying. He's a little machine. He's the kind you crave to ride because he's always trying. He never holds a grudge and he's never mad," Daponde said. "He was quiet and good in the reining, and I had a pretty feely cow in the fence work. He got a nice turn to start it off with, and he just inhaled it. He was good."

Daponde started riding Pinchin Chics last year when he and his customer - the oddly named Sox & Sandals LLC - purchased him from fellow trainer Jake Gorrell.

"My customer showed up one day and had denim shorts on, with low-cut black socks and Birkenstock sandals. I almost broke a rib laughing. She said 'If you laugh like that, I'm going to make this an LLC.' She made the Sox & Sandals LLC and bought the horse!" Daponde said, laughing.

He credits Robinson, Gorrell, Don Murphy and Russell Dilday for helping him find his way in the Western performance industry. Daponde previously showed Andalusians and Appaloosas in breed competition before he switched to reined cow horses.

The Limited Open Hackamroe Reserve World Champion was Christian Lybbert, riding Elans A Chic (Elans Playboy x Starring A Chic), a 2007 gelding owned by Christian Lybbert. The pair scored a 216 in the rein work and 215.5 in the cow work to match Daponde's 431.5 composite score, but the tie-breaking cow work tipped the World Championship in Daponde's favor. Lybbert won a $2,169 check, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercdes, a notebook sponsored by Classic Equine and a bandage bag from the NRCHA.

Jake Telford Rides Nabisco Roan to
Open Two Rein Championship

Jake Telford
Jake Telford rode Nabisco Roan to the Open Two Rein World Championship for owner Holy Cow Performance Horses.
The Idaho Million-Dollar Rider wins $4,928 and a Bob's Custom Saddle

Million-Dollar Rider Jake Telford, Caldwell, Idaho, rode Nabisco Roan (Boonlight Dancer x Crackin), a 2006 stallion owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses, to the National Reined Cow Horse Association Open Two Rein World Championship with a score of 221.5 in the rein work and 223.5 in the cow work. The 445 composite garnered a $4,927 paycheck, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by the NRCHA, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes, a $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies and a commemorative World Finals bandage bag from the NRCHA.

It was the latest in a long string of Open Two Rein victories for Telford and the roan stallion, who captured Championships in that division at every NRCHA Premiere Event in 2012.

"It's amazing to think back on the year. He's had a great year," Telford said.

He and Nabisco Roan also came close to winning an AQHA Working Cow Horse World Championship last November, but narrowly lost a tiebreaking cow work-off to another NRCHA Million-Dollar Rider, Corey Cushing, who won the title on Rising Starlight. Telford, reflecting on that run, commented that he didn't have a tough enough cow to earn a big score - not the case in San Angelo in the Open Two Rein World Championship finals.

"This horse can handle a lot of cow, so I was glad to get the cow that I wanted. At the AQHA World Show, I didn't get enough cow and ended up Reserve because of it. When you get a tough cow like that in the finals, you have to take advantage of it."

There were some tense moments, Telford admitted, when the challenging bovine could have taken his score down instead of up.

"It was a really fast cow that wouldn't head, and those are the worst kind," he said, smiling. "I hit it a couple of times on the back fence and could tell it wouldn't get any better. I just went on with it, and because I didn't stay on the back fence very long, it ran hard, and I was right - it didn't want to head. The first turn was really tight, and then coming back the other way, that cow really scared me because I was up where it should have headed, and it wasn't heading, so I had to jump ahead of it and block it," he said. "I was glad that he handled it. He's become a really good bridle horse."

Telford has been riding Nabisco Roan - nicknamed "Triscuit" - since he was 3. The stallion's reining maneuvers have been strong throughout his career, but his cow work took more time to develop.

"He's been a little bit of a late bloomer, but he's definitely capable, and after this year, he's got it figured out pretty well," he said. "I'm definitely going to show him in the bridle some more and take him back to the AQHA World Show again."

Telford thanked Nancy Crawford-Hall of California- and Texas-based Holy Cow Performance Horses for her support of his program and the NRCHA.

"Without the good owners like her, I wouldn't have these great horses to ride, and it's all about the horses," Telford said.

Telford has a busy schedule for the remaining two days in San Angelo - he has two Open Hackamore finalists and an Open Bridle finalist to show on Friday, February 1, and also hopes to qualify another Holy Cow-owned stallion, Once A Von A Time (Von Reminic x Sheza Shinette) for the World's Greatest Horseman finals on Saturday.

The Open Two Rein Reserve World Champion was Little Pistol Peach (Playgun x Lone Star Peach), a 2006 mare shown by Keith Vogel, Pueblo, Colo., and owned by his fiancee, Lauren Porter. They scored a 218.5 in the rein work and a 221 in the cow work for a 439.5. Vogel earned $3,942, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercdes, a notebook sponsored by Classic Equine and a bandage bag from the NRCHA. The Reserve Championship comes just a day after Vogel and the mare won the Limited Open Bridle World Championship.

Suzon Schaal & Genuine Brown Gal Claim Int. Non Pro Bridle Title

Schaal scored a 429.5 for $2,490 and a Bob's Custom Saddle

Last to show and first on the results sheet - for the second year in a row, Suzon Schaal, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Intermediate Non Pro Bridle World Championship aboard her mare, Genuine Brown Gal (Listo Pollito Lena x Genuine Emerald).

Schaal was the final entry in the set of 10 finalists at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas. She piloted "Genna" to a 217.5 in the rein work and 212 in the cow work. The 429.5 composite earned the World Championship title and a check for $2,490. Schaal also won a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by the NRCHA, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes and a commemorative World Finals bandage bag from the NRCHA.

"She seems to like it down here!" Schaal said, laughing. "We had the best rein work we've had all week, so I was really happy with that. She stopped hard and everything felt good. I was a little worried about the cow; it was a hard runner and things didn't go as planned. It didn't have a lot of respect, and when I went to turn it on the fence, it fell down."

Despite the tricky moments in the cow work, Schaal earned the World Championship by a point over her fellow Canadian competitor, Terri Holowath, who rode Pickachiclet (Fantaschic x Stratos Pick) to a 215 in the rein work and a 213.5 in the cow work. Holowath's 428.5 score netted the Reserve World Championship, $1,992, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercdes, a notebook sponsored by Classic Equine and a bandage bag from the NRCHA.

Schaal formerly rode jumping horses before making the switch to the reined cow horse pen several years ago.

"I wouldn't go back!" she said, laughing.

Schaal has other cow horses, younger than 10-year-old Genna, "but my problem is I expect them all to be like her, and I can't find anything else that I really like. None of them are living up to her, but I don't think anything ever will."

She thanked her coach, leading Canadian professional John Swales.

"He's a huge part of my success. He's always there when you need him and always watching," Schaal said.

Suzon Schaal Wins NRCHA Non Pro Bridle World Championship on Genuine Brown Gal

Suzon SchaalNon Pro Bridle Champion Suzon Schaal.
It is the second World Championship in two days for Schaal and the 2003 mare

Another day, another NRCHA World Championship for Calgary, Alberta, competitor Suzon Schaal. On Thursday, Jan. 31, she piloted Genuine Brown Gal (Listo Pollito Lena x Genuine Emerald) to the Intermediate Non Pro Bridle World Championship. On Friday, Feb. 1, she claimed the Non Pro Bridle title with a score of 217 in the rein work and 217.5 in the cow work. The 434.5 combined score was worth a $3,495 payday.

Schaal's title came with a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Carol Rose Quarter Horses, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons/Kevin & Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes and a bandage bag from NRCHA.

"She felt pretty good in the reining. She felt tired. It's been a tough week on her," Schaal said. "She tried her guts out for me. As far as the cow goes, we maybe could've had a little harder-running cow, but it got the job done, so I can't complain!"

Schaal rides Genna herself, with coaching from leading Canadian professional John Swales, who had just one dryly-worded question for Schaal as entered the show pen Friday.

"He said, 'Are you scared?' and I said 'Yes!'" Schaal said, laughing.

As Schaal unsaddled "Genna" and put her back in her stall, the Non Pro Bridle Reserve Champion, Patty Ralls, arrived to give Schaal an exuberant congratulatory hug.

Ralls, a dynamic competitor from Gainesville, Texas, earned the Non Pro Bridle Reserve World Championship with a 217 in the rein work and a 215 in the cow work aboard her 2000 gelding, Chromium Cowboy (A Chic In Time x Marvelous Miss). The 432 composite score netted a $2,796 paycheck.

Grant Lindaman II Pilots Meradas Little Miss to Novice Non Pro Bridle Title in San Angelo, Texas

Grant Lindaman IINovice Non Pro Bridle Champions Grant Lindaman II and Meradas Little Miss.
Lindaman's first trip to the Celebration of Champions nets a World Championship!

Grant Lindaman II woke up Friday, Feb. 1 with two things on his mind - his run in the NRCHA Novice Non Pro Bridle World Championship finals, and his grandmother, who had passed away exactly four years ago.

"I was thinking about her this morning," Lindaman said.

No doubt she would have been proud to see her grandson pilot his mare, Meradas Little Miss (Meradas Money Talks x Missies Promise) to his first major NRCHA title, the Novice Non Pro Bridle World Championship, with a score of 436 (216.5 rein/219.5 cow). The title came with a $2,600 check, a Bob's Custom Saddle from the NRCHA, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes and a commemorative World Finals bandage bag from NRCHA.

Lindaman, 25, bought "Missy" from renowned Arizona horseman Jimmie Paul. He said the World Championship is "humbling," and a payoff for the homework he did as he learned to ride the talented 2002 mare.

"Jimmie Paul was the only person who had showed her before I got her. She's a good mare. I was looking for a nice bridle horse, and she's a good fit for me. We had to pay our dues and practice, and figure each other out, but we're starting to click," Lindaman said.

In the World Championship finals, Meradas Little Miss performed as well as she ever has in the rein work, he said.

"I kicked her to her stops and trusted she was going to stop - she has every time. I was happy with her."

The cow posed a challenge, coming off the wall and forcing Lindaman to turn it in the open arena.

"It played a little bit on the end, and when I got into the corner and drove to its hop, it got off the fence. I stayed calm because I knew she could make a good open field turn," he said. "She has taught me to stay out of her way and let her do what she knows how to do."

Lindaman, who plans to move to his newly-purchased Arizona ranch later this month, said he has many mentors in the cow horse industry, particularly Chris Dawson. He thanked his family for their support and help, and had some advice for other young up-and-coming horsemen.

"Be still and listen, and try to absorb everything you can. Stick with a program that works for you, but always be open to learn, and add to it or take away from it. More than anything, just go with your gut and trust the instincts that God gave you."

The Novice Non Pro Bridle Reserve World Champion was Sanjos Top Gun (San Jo Lena x Colonel Little Pistol),a 2001 stallion shown and owned by Lia Savas, Huntington, New York. The pair earned a 211.5 in the rein work and 221.5 in the cow work for a total 433 score and a $2,080 payday.

Scott Trueblood, Just Plain Hip Win Non Pro Two Rein World Championship

Just Plain HipJust Plain Hip with his owner/breeders, Darnell (left) and Scott Trueblood.
Ducor, Calif., horseman scores a 420.5 to win $1,950 and a Bob's Custom Saddle!

It was the first time Scott Trueblood, Ducor, Calif., had shown at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions, and he made it a memorable trip, winning the Non Pro Two Rein World Championship title aboard Just Plain Hip (Hickorys Indian Pep x Miss Plain Plain), a 7-year-old gelding he raised and owns with his wife, Darnell.

Trueblood piloted "Indy" to scores of 209 in the rein work and 211.5 in the cow work. The 420.5 combined score was good for a $1,950 paycheck, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by the NRCHA, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes and a commemorative World Finals bandage bag from the NRCHA.

"I'm a little 'western' in the reining, and it shows," Trueblood said good-naturedly, following the run. "The cow ran pretty hard, and we had a really good first turn. The second turn - I saw a lot of cows go clear to the end and pass the marker on that second turn. I was going to get way ahead of it, and I kind of got hung out a little bit, but it all worked out. And then, Indy circled up really well like a good cow horse."

The Truebloods own and operate their family cow-calf operation in California, so Indy does double duty as a ranch horse when he's not in the show pen.

"We brand calves on him and gather on him and do everything. The horses have a job, besides showing. The experience outside really builds their confidence and makes them great horses," Trueblood said.

He got started in cow horses with top NRCHA Professional Russell Dilday, who was the Trueblood's neighbor until his recent move to Wynnewood, Okla. Dilday showed Just Plain Hip's mother, Miss Plain Plain, for the Truebloods in years past, claiming two World's Greatest Horseman Reserve Championships with her.

"We had always admired the show horses and finally decided to try it. We sent horses to Russell, and one thing led to another, and Russell got really good at what he does. We're just along for the ride with him. The people in this association are great to show with," Trueblood said. "I thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the honor to be here and the blessing of such great horses."

The Non Pro Two Rein Reserve World Champion was Steve Bond, riding Boons Mr Milliennium (Boons Milliennium x Pies Lottie Lady), a 2006 gelding owned by Bond Ranch. The pair scored a 419 on two events to earn $1,625, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercdes, a notebook sponsored by Classic Equine and a bandage bag from the NRCHA.

Alexa Beaty Rides Star Dustn Wrangler To
Non Pro Hackamore Win

Alexa BeatyAlexa Beaty rode Star Dustn Wrangler to the Non Pro Hackamore World Championship with a 428 composite score.
16-year-old Aubrey, Texas, competitor scores 428 for $3,368 and a Bob's Custom Saddle!

Alexa Beaty, a high school sophomore from Aubrey, Texas, claimed the second National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship of her career when she won the Non Pro Hackamore title Thursday, Jan. 31 in San Angelo, Texas, aboard Star Dustn Wrangler (Starlights Wrangler x Pines Dusty Model). In 2010, Beaty won the Youth Limited World Championship on Mad About Chics (Educating The Chics x Echolettes Freckle).

Working second-to-last in the field of 10 finalists, Beaty, 16, guided "Cinch" to a 213.5 rein work score and 214.5 cow work score. The 428 composite garnered a $3,368 paycheck, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by the NRCHA, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes, a $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies and a commemorative World Finals bandage bag from the NRCHA.

"I felt really good about it!" Beaty, still slightly breathless after her run, said. "It was great to work so hard all last year, and then come out and do this."

She has owned "Cinch," a 2007 gelding, for two years, but only began showing him in the hackamore and derby events last spring. They had successful outings at two fall derbies in Colorado and Texas in 2012, and Beaty was thrilled with her horse's performance in San Angelo.

"My first and last stop, circles, and first set of spins in the rein work were really good, and our first turn on the cow was awesome! I"m really proud to have accomplished so much in less than a year with him," Beaty said.

Making the transition from showing a bridle horse one-handed to showing Cinch two-handed was a challenge, she admitted.

"It was a learning experience!" she said. "I'm really glad I did it."

She plans to show Cinch at the National Reining Breeders' Classic in April, and compete with him in reining and cow horse for the remaining two years of her high school career. Beaty rides with trainer Steve Metcalf, and thanked Steve, his wife, Carol, and their son, Carter, for their help and support. She also appreciated her friends and fellow competitors and the support of her parents.

"I'm very blessed to have the opportunity to do what I do, and the family support. I"m thankful for the youth here. They're like my little show family," she said.

The Non Pro Hackamore Reserve World Champion was Toni Hagen Heath, LaGrande, Ore., riding Smokums Dream (Smokums Prize x I Dream Olena), a 2007 mare bred and owned by her husband, Dan Heath. They scored a 215.5 in the rein work and a 208 in the cow work for a 423.5. Heath won a $2,694 check, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercdes, a notebook sponsored by Classic Equine and a bandage bag from the NRCHA.

LaDona Emmons Wins $5,000 Non Pro
Limited World Championship

LaDona EmmonsLaDona Emmons, her husband, Ron and Anuther Mister 505.
Emmons piloted Anuther Mister 505 to a 438.5 score and her first NRCHA World title

Ione, Calif., competitor LaDona Emmons wrapped up a brilliant career in the $5,000 Non Pro Limited division by winning the NRCHA World Championship, her first, aboard Anuther Mister 505 (Mister Dual Pep x Anuther Olena), a 2005 gelding she owns with her husband, leading professional horseman Ron Emmons.

LaDona guided the horse she calls "John" to a score of 217 in the rein work and 221.5 in the cow work. The championship came with a check for $2,243, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Aaron Ranch, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes and a bandage bag from the NRCHA.

Emmons and Anuther Mister 505 blazed a winning trail through the 2012 show season, earning championships in the Non Pro Limited and $5,000 Non Pro Limited divisions at the NRCHA Derby and Snaffle Bit Futurity. They also won the first-ever American Quarter Horse Association World Championship in Amateur Boxing.

"It's been so fun. I've had a really, really great year. I'm blessed. I can't complain about anything. I have a great horse," she said.

Emmons is no longer eligible for the $5,000 Non Pro Limited division, which may have helped her ride even better in Friday's finals.

"I'm out of it now, and I thought, 'I don't have anything to lose!'" she said, smiling.

Her experience showing in the Limited divisions prompted Emmons to consider something she never thought she'd try - showing down the fence. She plans to stay in the Limited for at least another year, to take advantage of the new Non Pro Limited and Non Pro Derby divisions, but fence work may be in her future.

"I have anxiety about the fence work," she admitted. "I thought I would never do it, ever, and after this year of showing, I feel like it's a possibility for me, where before, I would say absolutely not."

Her other thrill in San Angelo is watching her husband, Ron, and Olena Oak (Smart Chic Olena x Fritzs Oak E Doakie) defend their 2012 World's Greatest Horseman Championship by earning a spot in Saturday's finals. It's an achievement made even sweeter by the fact that LaDona recently became Olena Oak's half-owner with Nichole Scott.

"Nichole asked me if it was any different being his owner. I said, 'No, because I thought I owned him before!' The horses are with us so much that I never think of them differently. I love that horse and I'm thankful to be a part owner in him. He owes us nothing. He is an amazing horse and has been great for Ron's career. I also think it's exciting that Topsails Rien Maker and Olena Oak are in [the World's Greatest Horseman finals] because they're the two leading horses in the NRCHA."

The$5,000 Non Pro Limited Reserve Champion was Garrell Reilly, Temecula, Calif., who guided Shootn Starlight (Finalight x Miss Remachex) to scores of 218 in the rein work and 219.5 in the cow work. The 437.5 total score netted a $1,755 paycheck.

Mattie Neal Pilots Instantee to Non Pro Limited World Championship in San Angelo, Texas

Mattie Neal
Non Pro Limited Champions Mattie Neal and Instantee, with Mattie's trainer, Jay McLaughlin.
Pilot Point, Texas, competitor scores a 435.5 to win $2,313 and Bob's Custom Saddle!

When Mattie Neal first started riding three years ago, she vowed she would never work a cow. "Never say never," as the saying goes - Neal won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Non Pro Limited World Championship at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas on Wednesday, Jan. 30, scoring a 435.5 (220.5 rein/215 cow) aboard her gelding, Instantee (Tejons Peppy Doc x Suddenly Shiney).

The World Championship paid $2,313 and came with a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by NRCHA, a Gist custom buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes and a commemorative World Finals bandage bag from NRCHA.

"He had his head in the game today," Neal, 23, said of her gelding, Instantee, known around the barn as "Tyson."

"That was the best rein work I've probably done ever," she said, adding that a late-night practice session Tuesday helped with her persistent trouble spot, the stops.

"Last night, we practiced stopping, because that's my biggest problem. Today, I went out there and decided to go for it. I almost fell off on my second stop, which is typical," she said, laughing.

In the cow work, she drew a sluggish cow and the judges whistled for a new one.

"That cow wasn't moving, and I was almost out of time, and I thought 'Well, at least I didn't lose my cow!' Then they blew the horn for another cow, and I thought, 'Oh, my goodness, now I have to start over!' I got nervous because it was going pretty quick," she said.

Neal started riding at Carol Rose Quarter Horses with head trainer Jay McLaughlin when a broken finger sidelined her from college tryouts for her favorite sport, softball. She has come a long way from the nervous beginner who first visited Carol's ranch three years ago.

"We went there to look for a horse, and Carol had to put my foot in the stirrup because I was scared to get on. When I started riding with them, I told them I didn't want to do any of the cow work. I was too nervous to do it. But they told me from day one, 'You're going to do the cow horse!'" she said, laughing. "Now the cow work is my favorite part of my lesson."

She said Carol and Jay have become like family to her, and she thanked them both for their patience and support. Neal also appreciated her parents and grandparents for coming to shows as often as they can to cheer her on.

Neal and Instantee have another finals run ahead of them - they are also qualified for the $5,000 Non Pro Limited World Championship class, which happens Friday, February 1.

The Non Pro Limited Reserve World Champion was Dom Conicelli, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, who rode Smokum Chicy (Smart Chic Olena x Smokum Miss Doc Bar) to scores of 213.5 in the rein work and 220.5 in the cow work. The 434 composite was good for a $1,850 payday.

Kelly Valdez Wins Youth Bridle World
Championship on Smart Tic Tack;
Adrianna Adams Wins Youth Limited
Title on Wynsome Chex

Kelly ValdezYouth Bridle Champion Kelly Valdez
It is the second NRCHA World title for Valdez, and the first for Adams

Kelly Valdez admitted she was almost in nervous tears before riding Smart Tic Tack (Smart Mate x Tic Tackatoo) in the NRCHA Youth Bridle World Championship class. But when it came time to show, she regained her poise and piloted the 2003 mare to a winning score of 217 in the rein work and a sparkling 225.5 in the cow work. The 442.5 composite was good for $480, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by John Hyde, a Gist buckle sponsored by Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes, a $2,000 scholarship from the NRCHA Foundation, a bandage bag from the NRCHA, and a $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies.

"I was so nervous, before I went in, I thought I was going to start crying. I don't know why!" the 14-year-old La Junta, Colo., competitor said. "But once I got in the arena, the nerves went away and I just showed my mare. She was so good for me!"

Valdez, who won the Youth Limited World Championship last year, was pleased with Smart Tic Tack's consistent performance in the rein work and her grit in handling a difficult cow.

"The cow was wild when it came out ! She just hooked on right away and then took it down the fence. She did everything she needed to do. She couldn't have better for me," she said.

The 8th-grader rides with NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman Don Murphy.

"He told me to ride smart and make sure to do what I need to do. He's the best. He helps me so much," she said.

Smart Tic Tack has also been successfully shown by Kelly's mother, Betty Lou Valdez. The mare was originally trained by Robbie Boyce.

"She's the best. She's so easy to show. She does the same thing every time," Valdez said.

The Youth Bridle Reserve Champion was Mackenzie Grimshaw, who rode Smart Bayou Chic (Smart Chic Olena x Docs Missy Command) to scores of 214 in the rein work and 220.5 in the cow work. She earned $360, a Gist buckle from Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes, a notebook from Classic Equine, a $1,000 scholarship from the NRCHA Foundation, a $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies and a bandage bag from NRCHA.

Adrianna Adams
Youth Limited Champion Adrianna Adams and Wynsome Chex
Adrianna Adams wins Youth Limited on Wynsome Chex

In her first trip to the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, Adrianna Adams captured the Youth Limited World Championship riding Wynsome Chex (Chex Out This Remedy x Miel Classic Tejon), with scores of 213 in the rein work and 217 in the cow work.

"I'm just so happy. I've never scored a 217 in the cow work, so this is very exciting. It's my first time here, and I'm very excited," the Oakdale, Calif., 13-year-old said.

She started showing cow horses two years ago after she met her trainer, Clayton Edsall. She purchased "Bo" from Edsall, who had previously trained and showed the 2005 gelding.

The hardest part of learning to show cow horses was "learning to box the cow without letting it go down the fence. My horse likes to go down the fence, but I don't want to do that right now," she said, laughing.

"Bo really tries for me and puts so much effort into it," she said. "Clayton has helped me so much, too. He's awesome!"

Adams won a $450 check, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by John Hyde, a Gist buckle from Smart Boons and Kevin and Sydney Knight, a $1,250 scholarship from the NRCHA Foundation, and a bandage bag from the NRCHA.

There was a tie for the Youth Limited Reserve Championship between Kailey Culligan, showing TF Montalena (Folks Montaluc x Peps Sissy Lena) and Rene Ferini on Soula Boom Star (Soula Jule Star x Savannah Lee 2000). Both riders earned a 425.5 composite.