By Sara GugelmeyerThe American Quarter Horse JournalAugust 29, 2013
Dusty Burson from the Four Sixes Ranch, riding Playin With Pick. (Sara Gugelmeyer photo)
Boyd Rice and Highbrow Fletch lead the competition from the get-go in the open division of the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, sponsored by Zoetis, held at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, Colorado. Cowboys from the Four Sixes, Wagonhound and T-Cross ranches also brought home considerable checks.
Boyd, from Spearman, Texas, and Highbrow Fletch, who is bred and owned by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders Kit and Charlie Moncrief of Fort Worth, Texas, were the first to go in the open division.
Boyd admitted to the Journal after his run that he still gets a little nervous, despite his long list of accomplishments in the show pen.
“We all get nervous, and I was glad to get my nervousness over with by going first,” he said.
Boyd set the bar high, marking an impressive 221.5 and 223 from judges Sandy Jirkovsky and Gary Wells.
Highbrow Fletch is a 2009 stallion by Royal Fletch and out of the mare Lil Sally Cat by High Brow Cat. The pair took home a $2,840 check and gift card from Tractor Supply Co.
While Boyd and Highbrow Fletch have won many times, second-place finisher Matt Koch took Cats Modern Design (WR This Cats Smart-Taris Modern Design by Mr Boomerjac) straight to the pay window on her maiden voyage. Matt piloted the mare, who is bred and owned by Wagonhound Land and Livestock of Douglas, Wyoming, for his employer, although she hasn’t been in his training string for long.
“They were using her on the ranch and decided if we could get her ready, we would show her here,” Matt said after marking a 217.5 and a 215.5 for the second-place check of $2,130 and Tractor Supply gift card.
“She was wondering what we were doing (in the show pen), but just wanted to be good,” Matt said. She will be sold as Lot 58 on September 7 at the Wagonhound Land and Livestock Production Sale.
The third-place open horse is bred and owned by one of the event sponsors, T-Cross Ranches of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ridden by T-Cross’ trainer Lavert Avent, Poco Jose Cross (Mr Gallo Del Cielo-Jose Poco Cross by Smokin Jose) laid down a solid run good enough to score 214 and 215.5 and claim the third-place title with a check for $1,420 and a Tractor Supply gift card.
Rounding out the top four was Chance O’Neal, riding for Burnett Ranches of Guthrie, Texas. He and Sixes Blue Powder (Sixes Pick-Blue Gunpowder Ms by PG Gunpowder) marked a pair of 211.5’s for $710.
Wagonhound had another tough competitor at the event in Matt Kelly, who piloted This Cats King to tie for first place in the limited open division, with Dusty Burson from Burnett Ranches. They both had a composite of 415 but Matt’s better score in the cow work portion earned him the title and the $1,500 check and Tractor Supply gift card.
Matt and This Cats King (WR This Cats Smart-Shining Masterpiece by Shining Spark) also won the limited open division at the Fort Worth Ranching Heritage Challenge back in January.
Second place went to Dusty, riding Paddys Country, a 4-year-old mare by Sixes Country out Paddys O Grady by Paddys Irish Whiskey. Dusty will return to the Four Sixes with a check for $1,000 and a Tractor Supply gift card.
The cowboy class is a division where any horse 5 years and older and bred by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder is eligible as long as it’s ridden by an employee or owner of that ranch.
Dusty Burson topped that class on the Burnett Ranches’ mare Playin With Pick by Playin Attraction and out of Natural Pick by Tenino Badger. The pair won a whopping $2,580 on their debut in Ranching Heritage Challenge competition.
Dusty said he felt really blessed to get to ride the good 5-year-old, both working on the ranch and in town at the show.
Second place also went to Burnett Ranches cowboy Will Wallendorff, riding Cowgirls Playin. He’s no stranger to winning at Ranching Heritage Challenge events, having taken home checks at Fort Worth and Houston. This time he won $1,720.
In AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge events, horses and riders complete a short reining pattern then box a cow and turn it down the fence, once each way. Then riders must rope and stop the cow.
In the amateur and cowboy divisions, riders must show horses 5 years of age or older, bred by a Ranching Heritage Breeder. In the open and limited open divisions, only 4-year-old horses are eligible.
The Ranching Heritage Challenge at the Colorado State Fair was sponsored by Zoetis, Tractor Supply, T-Cross Ranches and the Colorado State Fair, with a total of $13,200 added money.
On August 28, the amateur and Novice amateur titles were awarded. Look for more Zoetis Ranching Heritage Challenges in 2014. And read more about the Ranching Heritage program and check out the list of eligible breeders here.
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