By Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse JournalJuly 9, 2011
Amateur roping competitor Robbie Kelly of Weatherford, Texas, hands his rope to two young spectators at the 2011 Battle in the Saddle. Journal photo.
Four Sixes Ranch Shootout
“The loser has agreed to buy dinner for everyone in the building,” joked the announcer in the Performance Arena of State Fair Park, which played host to a loud and smoky day of cowboy mounted shooting at the 2011 Battle in the Saddle, presented by RFD-TV.
This declaration was heartily met with a resounding, “We didn’t agree to that!” from the competitors.
The ranch hands from the Burnett Ranches' Four Sixes Ranch battled one another as they tried their hands at cowboy mounted shooting, following the completion of the cowboy mounted shooting classes on July 8 in Oklahoma City.
Chance O’Neal was the first gunner, literally, and laid down a competitive run with a time of 24.495 seconds.
This time proved hard to beat, especially for fellow ranch hand Cotton Leather, who left several balloons unblemished, which brought his final time up to 47.249 seconds.
Cotton’s wallet will be considerably lighter on the ride back to Guthrie, Texas, after he takes the three other Four Sixes cowboys out to dinner.
Battle in the Saddle, as the great American western showdown, is a great place for spectators to enjoy action-packed western events. The competition has also proved to be a perfect venue for families (Family Fun Day on Saturday, July 9, being a perfect case in point).
Kids have flanked the rails of the Jim Norick Coliseum throughout the show, but it was the brave, who ventured to stick their hands out for a quick-five, who were given quite the thrill when they met palms with decorated ropers such as Jay Lyn Wadhams and AQHA Professional Horsemen J.D. Yates and Brad Lund. A few lucky kids even got the chance to hold the rope of amateur competitor Robbie Kelly of Weatherford, Texas.
Thanks, ropers, for being such great ambassadors for roping, horsemen and the American Quarter Horse.
Ashley O’Donnell of Bucyrus, Kansas, is a coming senior on the Kansas State University rodeo team. She took some time during the summer to bring some rope horses to Battle in the Saddle. She had two hard-luck runs July 8 in the finals of amateur heading, but she came back undeterred in the amateur heeling finals with Stylish Peanut.
“Peanut” is a former working cow horse that AQHA Professional Horseman Brad Lund started teaching the roping game about a year ago. Ashley has been roping for about eight years, and she took the tough luck in the heading in stride.
“That’s team roping. That’s what it’s all about. You’ve got to take it or leave it.”
AQHA Professional Horseman C.R. Bradley won both the junior and senior tie-down roping July 8 at Battle in the Saddle.
The winning junior horse was Stylish Shag, owned by Stonewall Ranch LLC of Savery, Wyoming. The winning senior horse was Zans Even Parr, owned by Jason Layfield of Chesapeake City, Maryland, aka “Smurf.”
C.R. explains what it takes to be a winning tie-down roper.
“Lots of practice and good horses. Smurf’s great. He’s been great forever. It’s just another day for him.”
Second place in the senior tie-down roping went to former youth champion Ryan Schroeder of Gainesville, Texas, now officially a professional roper riding client horses.
The American Quarter Horse Journal is on the road at the 2011 Battle in the Saddle. For more event coverage, check out Journal on the Road on americashorsedaily.com.
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