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Barrel racing legend ‘Scamper’ dies at 35

From the Newstrader - July 19th, 2012 - Newstrader

The legendary Gills Bay Boy, better known as ‘Scamper’, passed away July 4 — an appropriate date for an American equine icon.

Foaled in 1977, Scamper became one of the most iconic figures in the equine industry, dominating the barrel racing ranks from the early 1980s until his retirement in 1993. The gelded son of Gills Sonny Boy out of the mare Drapers Jay was in good health to the end, immaculately cared for by his constant companion, Charmayne James.

“What a gift he was,” said James. “It’s sad that he is gone but what life he had. It’s something to be celebrated.”

Scamper’s amazing career included 10 world championships in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, teaming up with James to earn National Finals Rodeo average titles in 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1993. The duo won an incredible 10 Rodeo Houston titles and countless circuit and major rodeo championships on their way to earnings of well over $1 million.

Together, Scamper and James defined an era in rodeo and their famous round-winning bridle less ride perhaps best epitomizes the relationship between horse and rider — a one-in-a-million partnership that was loyal and true to the end. Defying all odds, the unassuming bay raced his way into the hearts of millions, taking a shy ranch girl from Clayton, N.M. with him. From feedlot pony to equine legend, Scamper’s conformation, attitude and mental and physical toughness endeared him to the public. His smooth-as-glass style coupled with great speed made him a formidable horse for the competition to face.

Scamper was 35 when he was laid to rest at the ranch in Boerne, Texas.

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