Chris Jensen of Lance Creek, Wyoming, and Playzorro repeat their 2010 heading win at the 2012 Adequan Select World.
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by Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse Journal
When Chris Jensen went to the 2008 Pitzer Ranch sale looking for a horse that he could one day qualify for the Adequan Select World Championship Show, he had a pretty good idea of what he wanted.
Playzorro, a 6-year-old at the time, was running through the sale, and the sorrel stallion had a performance record and pedigree good enough to catch Chris’ attention.
“(His previous owner) qualified him for the (2007 AQHA World Championship Show) in (junior) heading and heeling and then decided to sell him and I was looking for a good show horse. Course, seeing him and his bloodlines, I really wasn’t wanting a stud but it turned out to be a great plus,” recalled the Lance Creek, Wyoming, roper.
Between Playzorro and Master Hot Chex, an 8-year-old palomino gelding, Chris qualified for eight runs at the 2012 Adequan Select World.
“I come down with eight qualifications and made it back in the finals in six of them,” Chris said during his Journal Winning Run interview. “I was third in the world in the (tie-down) roping, second and third in the breakaway and then I win (heading) on my stud, Playzorro. That’s his second time. He’s a nice horse,” Chris added with a smile.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg on Playzorro’s accolades. Back in 2010, Chris and his stallion won the heading title at the Select World. In 2011 Chris and Playzorro finished second behind Master Hot Chex in the breakaway. Two years following their heading win, Chris said it’s a great affirmation of their hard work and talent to win the class again.
“(This win meant) quite a bit. It just proves the first time wasn’t a fluke and it shows people that he’s a really nice, talented horse,” Chris said.
Playzorro, owned by Chris and wife Jennifer’s Jensen Quarter Horses, has already started passing that talent on to other American Quarter Horses.
“I have 10 mares of my own and I breed to him every year and then I breed a number of outside mares,” Chris shared. “I have a 6-year-old son of his at home that I’m starting to show on … Then his next oldest colt is a 2-year-old.
“I’ve quite a future ahead of me on some nice horses I think.”
Although he says Playzorro certainly hasn’t slowed down in the two years since his last world championship, Chris thinks it’s time to hang up the rope and let the stud spend more time with the ladies.
“I am considering retiring him to strictly stud, but he’s also qualified for next year again already.” Chris added, “I could go out and make another 20 runs and he’d be just as good in every one of them. I try to keep him in shape – he knows his job and loves his job.”
Bred by Dick Pieper of Marietta, Oklahoma, Playzorro is by famed cutting sire Playgun and out of the Texas Kicker mare Texzorra. Chris attributes those cutting lines to Playzorro’s good cow sense.
“He’s definitely got a lot of cow in him. He’s just such a superb athlete and it makes it all kind of easy for him,” Chris said. “Course, he goes back there to Freckles Playboy, Colonel Freckles, Taris Catalyst – he’s got a pretty good pedigree behind him and hopefully we’ll get some more outside breedings to spread his name.”
More than a decade ago, Chris and Jennifer met at a jackpot roping in Gillette, Wyoming. Ever since then, they’ve been sharing barn chores and a passion for good horses.
“I have an oilfield construction business in eastern Wyoming,” Chris explained. “We do almost any type of work that they need done in the oilfield. I’ve got some good guys at home helping me – that allows me to take off to go do my showing.
“(Jennifer’s) the bookkeeper for the company, and stall cleaner, and when she’s not riding her horses she’s doing all them other wifely duties,” he added.
It was actually Jennifer who encouraged Chris to try his hand at AQHA competition – more specifically, the Adequan Select World.
“We took a vacation to come down to here five years ago. I just turned 50 and she’d keep talking to me, trying to get me to show, so we come down and watch the Select World. And I thought, ‘You know, I think I can do that.’ I started showing, paid my dues for a year or two, and got the right horse and it’s been going great since then.”
Where Chris sticks to ropes, Jennifer dons breeches and a hunt coat.
“She shows in English. She qualified this year for the (AQHA) Novice Championship in Las Vegas,” Chris shared. “She shows hunter under saddle, hunt seat eq and showmanship. Between me showing and her showing, we kept the road hot this summer."
Although they don’t get the chance to compete at the same shows all the time, when they do, it’s certainly special.
“Very seldom we do actually get to show together, unless it’s a bigger show ‘cause I go to a lot of special events. It’s nice to have somebody know what you’re up against and how things work. She’s also a lot of great help for me at home.”
Chris has had a long life with roping – he started when he was about 5 years old – but he says he’s not done until he finishes his goal.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to win the heading once before, the breakaway last year. My goal before I retire is to hopefully win the world in the other two roping events – that will make me happy.”