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Big year, big titles

2012 reining and cow horse highlights are bright ones

From Horsetrader staff reports - December 20th, 2012 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

From beginning to end this year, California horses and riders performed well.

Cody Clark of Day Creek Ranch in Simi Valley had a breakthrough show at the High Roller Reining show in Las Vegas.

FEBRUARY: California horseman Ron Emmons took on the toughest field of horses and riders and rode Olena Oak into the history books with a spectacular National Reined Cow Horse Association World’s Greatest Horseman performance Feb. 5. Emmons and “Ernie” had a two-point lead going into the cow work where they were the first draw, and they promptly slammed shut the door with a 228 fence run. Olena Oak, owned by Mel Smith and Nichole Scott, had his earnings pushed past $257,000.

Roy Rich brought home the Open Two Rein World Championship on Half Time Report, as Californians claimed National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship Show titles in San Angelo, Texas. The 29-year-old Temecula trainer and Half Time Report (A Chic In Time X Hustlin Tips), owned by Barbara Hastings, had worked together 18 months, and Rich knew the good-looking stallion had it in him.

Other Californians making indelible marks at the NRCHA World Championships included Lyn Anderson, who won the NRCHA Open Hackamore World Championship with Tuckers Smart Cat, earning $8,527; Murray Thompson, who took won the NRCHA Non Pro Bridle championship with his Smart Time Tuck, earning $4,605; Tish Wilhite, who took her horse, The Fresno Fox, to an NRCHA Non Pro Hackamore Reserve title that paid $3,263; and Emmons.

Phillip Ralls and Very Smart Smoke outdualed riders Russell Dilday and Brenda Brown to win the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Open.

At the National Stock Horse Association Classic in Red Bluff, Phillip Ralls of Paso Robles was the biggest winner, taking the Bridle Sweepstakes on Very Smart Smoke, owned by Billie Jo Baxley, and also the Classic Derby Open on Don Dualuise, owned by Christian Larson. His win over Russell Dilday aboard Scott and Darnell Trueblood’s Pepinic Chex in the Bridle Spectacular earned $6,865 winner’s purse. He claimed another $6,000 with the one-point Open Derby victory over Ken Wold aboard Daniel Perez’s Mister Dual Cross.

MARCH: The Cactus Reining Classic jump-started the year for reiners March 7-11 at Westworld, and for all the new energy, a familiar face in the top tier of classes, Andrea Fappani and Tinker With Guns, made their presence felt with a dramatic win in the Conquistador Whiz $42,000 Open Derby.

In Queen Creek March 21-25, pedigrees of both horse and rider earned mention at the 2012 National Reined Cow Horse Association Stakes. While Heart Of A Remedy (Heart Of A Fox X SPF Remedys Response) took Open Division headlines with an impressive 4.5-point win over reserve Doug Williamson and ARC Sparkin Chics, the family lines of winning rider Jon Roeser of Lemoore earned mention, too. Both he and his brother, Dan, enjoyed major wins, as Dan took the Intermediate Open crown on Roosters Rozalena.

Flarida and Spooks Gotta Whiz took the Open title June 30th to make Michell Kimball's stallion just the second horse in history to sweep reining's "Triple Crown".

“It’s special when we pull something like that off,” said Jon, who left his family’s third-generation horse ranch in Idaho for California in the early 1990s, working for Benny Guitron, Ward Ranch and Jim Putnam before establishing Lemoore-based Jon Roeser Stables 12 years ago.

“It’s kind of a testimony to our background, to our father (Jim) who was a horseman and a cowboy who taught us growing up.”

It was the first big win for the 5-year old gelding, who has competed well in each of his competitions to this point. He added $25,188 to his career earnings and pushed his sire’s offspring winnings further beyond $200,000. Heart Of A Fox is owned by Jon in partnership with Karen
Twisselman.

APRIL: If there is a theme to Tanya Jenkins’s success story with her No Wimpy Cowboys this year at the 2012 National Reiner Breeder’s Classic, it would be “right place, right time.”

The huge show pen at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center proved the perfect place for the big gelding, as the 6-year old won the Intermediate Open title as well as taking third in the Open Level 4, just a half-point behind reserve champion Andrea Fappani and Tinker With Guns. Combined, the two placings of No Wimpy Cowboys (Wimpys Little Step X Dunnits Cowgirl) earned Jenkins $67,612.

Shawn Flarida rode the Open Champion, Spooks Gotta Whiz, for owner Michelle Kimball of Encinitas, and won $75,000. It was Flarida’s fourth NRBC Open title in a remarkable debut together.

Since 1993, an eye-catching, California bred Palomino stallion named Nu Chex To Cash has accumulated fame and recognition in reining. Four years after becoming the sport’s 15th National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Million Dollar Sire and just two years after being inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame, he has once more elevated his status becoming the 10th NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire. His offspring’s NRHA earnings: $2,002,150. Hilldale Farm, of Brashear, Tex., has owned Nu Chex To Cash since 1995. The 22-year-old stallion was bred by Margaret Drown of Santa Ysabel.

At the Valley Cow Horse Association Hackamore Showdown in Bakersfield April 27-28, Lance Johnston used a 152 score in cow work aboard Cats Smart Too to win the Open Championship at the Sundance Arena in Bakersfield. The win earned $4,000 Open purse, with reserve champion Phillip Ralls on Chris Larcon’s Dom Dualuise collecting $3,124.

MAY: Ralls stayed hot, as he and Very Smart Smoke outdueled riders Russell Dilday and Brenda Brown to win the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Open Bridle Spectacular May 20 at Casner’s Ranch.

Dilday, riding Scott and Darnell Trueblood’s Pepinic Chex, finished tied in reserve with Temecula-based trainer Brown aboard Richard Herschman’s gelding, Meet Rippen Diamonds. In the Open Hackamore Spectacular, Tucker Robinson took the 2010 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open World Champion, the San Juan Ranch’s Stylish Little Oak to a title worth $3,285. In reserve was Temecula trainer Roy Rich on Say No Way, owned by Candice Flock, earning $2,628.

JUNE: In a thrilling finish, Todd Crawford and Sinful Cat delivered a big fence work score when they needed it most to clinch the newly renamed Jack and Phoebe Cooke National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby Open Championship and win a check for $32,742. Corey Cushing won the Reserve Championship on Docs Catty Jo, owned by Suzanne Clark, and picked up $24,126.

At the NRHA Derby, Flarida and Spooks Gotta Whiz took the Open title June 30 to make Michell Kimball’s stallion just the second horse in history to sweep reining’s “Triple Crown”: The NRHA Open Futurity (2010), the NRBC Open 2012) and the NRHA Derby (2012). In three years, the flashy stallion has won more than $317,000. The Level 4 Derby Open Championship paid $60,000.

Also at the Derby, Andrea Fappani became the latest NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider. He hit the mark when he rode Tinker With Guns, owned by Rancho Oso Rio LLC, to the NRHA Derby Level 4 Open Reserve Co-Championship.

JULY: Southern California trainers Jenkins of Temecula and Nicolas Barthelemy of Descanso shined at the Reining By The Bay in Woodside July 18-22. Jenkins unveiled Gunnit, her Gunner colt out of her mare, Dunnits Cowgirl, and in his first show he marked a 144.5 to win the $5,000-added Level 3 Open Futurity in addition to taking a $3,148 check in the Level 4 Open.

Barthelemy and owner Sheri Jamieson were happy, too, after Jamieson’s Smart Cherokee Chic (Cherokee Smart Chic x Hollywood Chex Bar) launched her show career by winning the Limited Open Futurity. The duo’s 142.5 also picked up a seventh-place check in the Level 4 Open.

AUGUST: John Ward and Gotta Go Get It, the Ward Ranch’s 3-year-old stallion, won the NSHA Snaffle Bit Futurity at the Midstate Fairgrounds Aug. 13-19, winning both the Open and Intermediate Open championships. It was a comeback for Ward after hip-replacement surgery in the winter for a high school football injury.

SEPTEMBER: With four horses in the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open finals, the odds were most definitely in Corey Cushing’s favor. He still had to work for every bit of the $100,000 Championship paycheck as he staged a thrilling come-from-behind victory on CD Diamond (CD Olena x Shiners Diamond Girl x Shining Spark), owned by San Juan Ranch. It was an emotional night for the 32-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., trainer as he talked about his first Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship and the high-scoring 222 cow work that sealed the win.

“It always comes down to the fence work, and that’s what it came down to today,” Cushing said.

Cody Clock of Day Creek Ranch in Simi Valley had a breakthrough show at the High Roller Reining in Las Vegas Sept. 9-15, taking Intermediate, Limited and Level 1 championship honors in the $70,000 Added Spooks Gotta Gun Open Futurity on Chics Dream About Me.

OCTOBER: At the five-day West Coast Reining Horse Association’s “Best of the West” reining at Rancho Murieta, the area’s top reiners filed in and vied WCRHA year-end and Northwest Affiliate titles. One of the stars was Courtney Yohey, who capped a super year with her 9-year-old gelding, Imasmartlittlecheese. Under trainer Mark Harnden, the 13-year-old honors student at Enochs High School has qualified in three classes for the national finals, earned over $1,300, met an NRHA milestone of exceeding 400 youth points and is in NRHA top 10 in 13 and under — all while serving as a delegate for NRHyA for the 6th straight year. At the Best of the West, she captured three divisons, including the youth saddle, and was Novice Horse Non pro Reserve Champ.

Chris Krieg went hard down the fence to win the Saddle ShootOut on John Pascoe’s Miss Smokin Remedy in a highlight from the VCHA Super Show at Sundance Arena on Oct. 27-28.

The same weekend in Burbank, Cassandra Stambuk of Yorba Linda, a 20-year-old junior at Auburn University in Alabama, flew out and won the California Reining Horse Association “Reiner of the Year” title on her 7-year-old gelding, Smugglin Diamonds, whom she campaigns in the Rookie Level 2 division. Stambuk, who trains with Mike and Kristi Berg at Berg Performance Horses in Temecula, is the inaugural winner of the award by the innovative CRHA board, which saw participation and interest increase in 2012.

At the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association Saddle Shootout Oct. 19-21, Aaron Brookshire on Krugerrand Queen (Open), Sarah Bradley on Very Smart And Sure (Non Pro) and Ruth Noring on Tommy Olena (Limited Non Pro) went home with hard-earned titles — and gift certificates for custom-fitted saddles.

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