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NRCHA honors John Ward and Jimmy Flores, Sr.

From the Newstrader - October 15th, 2009 - General News
Laurie and John Ward

Horsetrader photo

Laurie and John Ward

Outside of the competition at the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s 2009 Snaffle Bit Futurity, NRCHA recognized the best of the reined cow horse industry during various events Sept. 20-Oct. 4. Among the honorees were Californians John Ward of Kingsburg, and Jimmy Flores, Sr. of Perris.

NRCHA honored its newest Million Dollar Rider, John Ward, during the Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Finals opening ceremonies on Oct. 4. The name “Ward” is almost synonymous with the reined cow horse, bringing to mind a long family history of great wins and top-notch cow horses. Ward won his second NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity title in 2008, on the home-bred Black Pearl. Ten years earlier, he won the championship on Masteroani.

When notified of his $1 million accomplishment, the personable champion was enthusiastic and said: “This is great! That means that no matter how I do at the Futurity, I still get a prize on Sunday!” Ward received the signature Carol Owens Bronze during the opening ceremonies/awards ceremony at the 2009 Snaffle Bit Futurity.

The annual NRCHA Hall of Fame banquet held Oct. 1 recognized Hall of Fame inductees, Hall of Merit honorees, Snaffle Bit Futurity award winners, and the presentation of the annual Vaquero Award.

Jimmy Flores, Sr.

Jimmy Flores, Sr.

To the surprise of Jimmy Flores, Sr., he was honored with the prestigious Vaquero Award, which goes to an NRCHA member who embodies and promotes the ideals of the reined cow horse tradition.

Flores said he was not originally planning to attend the banquet this year, but his son, Jimmy Flores, Jr. said he had a ticket for him, he should go, and would accompany him to it. “It’s a great honor; I had no idea at all,” said Flores, who is 82 years old.

He started training horses in 1949, and made numerous trips to countries like Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, England, France, Canada and Mexico to teach Western riding and horsemanship, along with judging shows for 35 years, and competing/training in California and throughout the United States.

For the past decade, Flores and his “Jimmy Flores Handmade Cowboy Gear” have become recognizable and in-demand as he travels to horse shows all over the Western United States, and fulfills requests for his hackamores, Romel reins, hair ropes (mecates), and other riding equipment.

MORE TO COME: California Horsetrader will have more details from the NRCHA Hall of Fame banquet and honorees in the Nov. 5 issue.

Have a news item for California Horsetrader? E-mail it to: news@horsetrader.com

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