National Reined Cow Horse AssociationMay 6, 2013
A Spoonful O Sugar, with Chris Dawson in the saddle, worked her way to a total score of 439.5 (146 herd/147 rein/ 145.5 cow) earning $14,159, including go-round money, and the Hackamore Classic open championship. (Photo courtesy of NRCHA).
Chris Dawson's charmed show season continued at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Hackamore Classic in Pueblo, Colorado, when he won the open championship aboard Cryin Coyote Ranch's A Spoonful O Sugar (Hes A Peptospoonful-Poco Smokum Oak by Smokum Oak) and took the reserve championship aboard his own horse, Travelin Jonez (Smart Chic Olena-Travelin With Sass by Travalena).
"This is officially a lucky shirt. It's not going anywhere," Dawson said, when asked about his vivid pink shirt – the same one he wore to the winners' circle at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions Derby and the NRCHA Stakes earlier this year. At the Derby, Dawson was first and second on the same two horses in reverse order, and he won the Stakes championship on Travelin Jonez.
Dawson of Jacksboro, Texas, has often said either Travelin Jonez or A Spoonful O Sugar has the ability to win on any given day, and was happy to deliver the good news to Danny and Sherri Rumph of Cryin Coyote Ranch.
"The owners could hardly believe it. I had to make the other calls and tell them my horse beat their horse, so it was really good to get this one on top here," Dawson said.
"Sugar" worked her way to a total score of 439.5 (146 herd/147 rein/ 145.5 cow) earning $14,159, including go-round money. The Hackamore Classic championship also came with a Bob's Custom Saddle and Gist buckle from the NRCHA, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes, a custom cooler from Classic Equine and a cooler bag and $50 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies.
"That mare, she's a darn good horse. She can be so electric on a cow. If things go right, she sure can ring a bell," Dawson said.
A Spoonful O Sugar was one of the last horses to work down the fence, and after her winning score was announced, Dawson had some tense moments when the judges called for a video review of the run. They were debating whether to penalize the mare for knocking the cow down in the circles, which would have deducted six points from the score and dropped her from first to sixth place. Ultimately, the score was not changed.
"I knew that's what they were looking at, and I was pretty nervous about it. I was sure glad it when it came back the way it did," Dawson said.
He had been leading the composite after two events on Travelin Jonez, but a slight error in the fence work left "TJ" second to his barn-mate. The 5-year-old stallion worked his way to a 437 total score (148 herd/148 rein/141 cow), taking home $11,329, including go-round money.
Travelin Jonez had the second-high herd work score, won the rein work round and then incurred some penalty points on his first turn in the fence work.
"He was the best he's ever been in the rein work, just as quiet as could be. He really likes that hackamore. The cow, we knew we had to go early and we went with a lot of cow. He was a little tight down the fence and didn't make that first turn [before the one point penalty marker]," Dawson said. "He finished up real strong and salvaged the run, but it certainly wasn't what we had in mind when we woke up this morning."
Both horses are 5-year-olds, and last year, they also did well at the Hackamore Classic, with Travelin Jonez placing third and A Spoonful O Sugar finishing fifth. Dawson enjoys the single go-round format at the show; without a second chance in the finals, every run counts.
"The fun thing about this horse show, it's all finals. You tell yourself when you walk in there the first day in the herd, that it isn't 'safety up and we get to play again in the finals.' This is for the money, right here, today, so that makes it a really fun horse show."
Dawson said he plans to show both horses at the NRCHA Derby in June.
Tammy Jo Hays won her second consecutive NRCHA premier event title when she piloted Two Kitties (Smooth As A Cat-SR Jaguar by Doc O'Lena) to the Hackamore Classic non-pro championship Friday, May 3, in Pueblo, Colorado, barely a month after claiming the NRCHA Stakes non-pro win in Las Vegas.
"I'm speechless. It hasn't even sunk in that I won the Stakes, and then to win this too – I have to thank God, every time. Things like this don't happen without God's intervention," she said.
Hays, of Nocona, Texas, and the 4-year-old mare she owns in partnership with her father, Walter Greeman, scored a 430 composite (141 herd/143 rein/146 fence). They took home a check for $2,827, a Gist buckle, a custom sheet from Classic Equine, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes and a cooler and gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies.
Hays won the fence work round and the rein work round; the latter was especially gratifying because the rein work is not typically Two Kitties' strongest event.
"That might have to be the highlight. She stopped, and she turned around good. She was as good as I could have asked her to be. It's exciting to take a horse that is a challenge in an event, and then have them good enough to win the go-round in that event," she said.
Hays schooled Two Kitties in the outdoor arena the night before the rein work, despite cold temperatures and snow.
"We looked like a snowman when we were done, but we actually had a good schooling on her in the snow," she said.
Hays thanked her husband, trainer Shawn Hays, as well Chris Dawson, Brandon Buttars and Brad Lund, who also helped her in the herd work.
Next for the winning duo – a trip to the NRCHA Derby in Paso Robles, California, in June.
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