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More ‘spectacular’ each year

Best and brightest return to SCRCHA Gilkerson event

From Horsetrader staff reports - June 3rd, 2010 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

TEMECULA – The Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Bridle Spectacular came to Casner Ranch last month, and with it – for the fourth straight year – came some of the top trainers and horses in the performance horse world.

The three-day event, co-sponsored by the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association and the Arizona Reined Cow Horse Association, featured an AQHA cutting on Friday, followed by reined cow horse events Saturday and Sunday that totaled almost $65,000 in pay-outs.

The list of winners reads like a “Who’s Who” in the stock horse world –- Lyn Anderson in the Bridle Spectacular, Lance Johnston in the Hackamore Spectacular, Karen Stallings in the Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular. But the victor here is the show itself, which commemorates the life of fellow trainer and friend Sherri Gilkerson and helps fund the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Scholarships for undergraduate college and university students with an interest in reined cow horses.

The memory of Gilkerson, who died in 2006 at age 34 after a horse accident, continues to inspire the trainers who rode with and against her.

EQ Images photo

Lance Johnston and Nu Prize put it all together to win the $5,000-added Open Hackamore Spectacular on May 15 in Temecula.

“Those of us who knew Sherri darn sure want to be there to support this nice show,” said Anderson, the Madera trainer who took her 6-year-old stud, Lil Time To Smoke, to the $5,000-added Open Bridle Spectacular win. “It’s heartfelt.”

Last year at this show, Anderson and Lil Time To Smoke (Senors Lil Brudder X Smoke Time Tuck) won the Hackamore Spectacular. This year, she’s looking to qualify him for World and NRCHA titles in both two-rein and bridle, so this event proved a good fit — providing bridle competition, a nice payout ($2,550) and something more important to her: “Sherri’s boots”, a perpetual trophy that goes to the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Open Bridle winner. Sherri’s husband, Marc, had a pair of Sherri’s boots bronzed in the first year of the show, and even without a nameplate, it’s a coveted prize.

“That thing means a whole lot to me and everybody else who’s won it,” said Anderson, who wanted to win the trophy and take it home since she first saw the boots, but didn’t have an open bridle horse until this year. “It’s right here on my kitchen table. Bob Avila won it last year, and he told me `oh, it’s heavy’. He’s right, it’s heavy. It looks like you could just put the boots on. The guy that did them did a spectacular job. It’s just a very cool trophy award.”

Anderson began training Lil Time To Smoke as a 2-year old for a customer who had bought him as a weanling from Skip Brown, his dam’s owner. She has shown him every year since.

“I’ve always really liked this horse, so I bought him myself about a year ago,” she said. “The Smoke Time Tuck and Senors Lil Brudder cross have been really good to me.”

She’s ridden several full brothers to this horse -– two of them to their Supreme Reined Cow Horse before this. Lil Time To Smoke, she says, is now eligible for Supreme Reined Cow Horse himself since he has won the amount of money he needed to in the bridle. One full brother, Smart Time Tuck, has earned more then $115,000.

“I’ll just enjoy riding him,” she says of her plans. “And I’ve got a couple mares now, so I’ll be using him to breed.”

Lil Time To Smoke had his first baby on the ground, “Cisco,” May 5.

“All I know is I’ve had a halter on him twice, and he’s like his father so far –- really easy to train,” she said. “That’s what I’ve liked about Lil Time To Smoke — he’s just a dream to train. Just a really, really good-minded horse, and athletic. He just never gave me any problems. Plus, he’s just a fun horse to ride.”

She intended to go back the two-rein field at the Fairlea Ranch show instead of the bridle, then at the NRCHA Derby in Paso Robles, she’ll also show him in the two-rein.

Horsetrader photo

Karen Stallings of Tucson, Ariz., won the Non Pro Bridle Spectacular with her stallino, NMSU Truckin Chex.

“It’s ambitious — I’m going to pick and choose,” she said. “I rode him in both classes at the (NRCHA) Hackamore Classic, and that will be unusual – the classes were on different days, so it was not that big a deal. He ended up the reserve champion of the Bridle sweepstakes there. He was second in two-rein. He’s been good both ways. Some of the shows that don’t offer the two-rein, I’ll show him in the open bridle. And the ones that do the two rein – because the two-rein makes them better bridle horses.

“I do hope he will be a long-term bridle horse,” she added. “That’s my plan. Once I’m done with that, he’ll be a breeding stallion.”

Karen Stallings of Tucson won the Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular on her 12-year-old stallion, NMSU Truckin Chex.

“He continues to get better and better,” Stallings said of “Elvis,” whose career earnings of more than $115,000, plus AQHA World and NRCHA titles in open and non-pro bridle with Karen and her husband, Kevin. “I marked a 75 on him out of the herd — that’s the highest I’ve ever marked out of the herd, and by far the best run I’ve ever made.

“He’s been a really amazing horse,” she added. “He’s just stayed so sound mentally and physically that it’s just been pretty amazing.”

In the $5,000-added Open Hackamore Spectacular, Lance Johnston rode Nu Prize (Smokums Prize X My Nu Masterpiece) to a victory that paid $2,865 and a great deal of satisfaction for Johnston, who’d been looking to win on the talentd mare for some time.

“She had been a hard luck girl,” Johnston said. “For one reason or another, in the cow events, a bad cow always has knowcked me out of it. She’s always been good — she’s never been bad. We just haven’t been able to make it through three runs. I finally did!”

Johnston, who first cracked the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Finals on Nu Prize’s dam in 1999, credits the mare’s success to encouragement from Ted Robinson to stick with her.

“He cheered me on with this mare,” Johnston said. “I’ve been having bad luck, and he just keeps telling me to keep fighting through it. So I just kept going, and he was there cheering for me when I ended up winning it.”

Robinson, who won the 2000 Snaffle Bit Futurity on Nu Prize’s sire, says it was a just a
matter of keeping on the special mare.

“I think he liked this mare so much that he wasn’t showing her the way he shows horses – he’s a winner who rides to win every time,” Robinson said. “He was just kind of riding her instead of asking her. He thought she was so great that he forgot he still had to ask her the way he trained her. I kept telling him `you’re not riding her like you do your other horses – you got to keep on her, make her get over there, try harder.’ He just took it for granted because she’s so special that she would be there. When he showed her, he wasn’t staying aggressive like he trains.”

Robinson also lauded the two clubs that put on the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial.

“They do a great job of putting it on — you can’t say enough good things about it,” he said. “You have a fun show there with the dinner and barbeque in memory of a great friend of all of ours – Sherri. It’s the one weekend horse show that I’m going to go to every year.”

SCRCHA President Laura Edwards said there were 165 go’s on Saturday and 132 on Sunday an increase of about 14 percent from 2009. Spectacular entries increased 17 percent, she said.

“The group from Arizona are really neat to work with,” said Edwards. “They offer assistance all year long in preparation, and when they finally arrive here in California, they pitch in where ever needed — filling ice chests, setting up shop, and helping trouble shooting any issues that arise. Deb Kolacy, the President of AzRCHA, and I worked great together. I have new friends in Arizona. It was a great weekend and one that I am proud to be a part of.”

Sponsors included Planinum, Green Oaks Ranch, Choice Transportation, Big Horse Feed,Caleb Distribution, Sunworld, Polymer Logistics, Yotta Mark, Aeroll Staffing, Mid Valley Packaging, Rherig Pacific, Cuddeback Trailers, Runaway Creek Ranch, as well as product and service providers Jimmy Flores Cowboy Gear, David Thornberry Chaps, Freedom Block Show Off Time, Cowdog Saddles Tony Zimmerman, Los Vogt Bits and Spurs, and Quick Clenz.

For complete results, visit: www.scrcha.com

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