Journal at the World

August 25, 2012

"It's My Year"

Sam Nicolosi has come a long way since riding his Quarter Horses to the local Sonic.

By Christine Hamilton
The American Quarter Horse Journal

Sam Nicolosi and Don Paul

Don Paul, Rio Dun Star and Dr. Sam Nicolosi - all at their first Adequan Select World Championship Show.

When Sam Nicolosi was a kid, he would hit the road with his Quarter Horses, pulling up horseback at the Sonic near his home in Oklahoma City. But since he turned 50 in August 2011, he’s been hitting the road a different way – with his two Quarter Horses in the trailer – and gunning for his chance to compete at the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show.

In the last year, the small-animal veterinarian qualified two horses in working cow horse, with the help of trainers Jamie and Marilyn Peters, and squeezed shows into a busy work schedule.

“It’s not fun getting to that last .5 point you need!” Sam told the Journal at his stalls in the Bill Cody Barn. He’d just finished giving Rio Dun Star, “Dunny,” a pre-performance bath, and tied him where he could see his barn mate, Lead With A Jac, aka “Sherman.”

Sam has had a bit of success in Foundation Quarter Horse Association events with both geldings, but felt he and his horses needed to “step up” to the AQHA circuit.

“This is my year,” he added, with a smile, “and they might be the two oldest horses in the cow horse.”

Dunny is a 1992 gelding by Rio Leo Superstar and out of Dee Demonstrator by Doc’s Demonstrator. He’s earned Superiors in working cow horse and reining; was the 1999 amateur high-point working cow horse; and won the International Buckskin Horse Association amateur cutting world championship.

Sherman is a 1994 red dun gelding by Master Boot Jac and out of Peppys Poppie by Peppy Le Pew. There is one qualifier older than Sherman – Jon Hershberger’s Barnies Bro foaled in 1993.

It’s a big deal to Sam to get to an AQHA world show: “This has been a passion of mine since I was 5,” he said.

In addition to horseback stops at the local Sonic, Sam grew up watching his uncle’s horses run – Ralph Nicolosi raced and trained running Quarter Horses. Sam decided to be a small-animal veterinarian hoping to have more time to enjoy horses.

Sam also co-owns the N Triangle P Ranch in Oklahoma City with Don Paul, a fellow Quarter Horse enthusiast and exhibitor, and they operate the Rusty Gables Guest Lodge and Gallery at the ranch. The bed and breakfast’s gallery has become a hotspot for featuring up-and-coming Western artists, featuring a “Spring Stampede Art Show and Sale.”

Regardless of what happens in the August 25 prelims, Sam is proud to be showing at the Adequan Select World.

“This has been a lifelong passion,” he said ,with a smile. And making his goal to get here is icing on the cake.

Editor's note: Sam and Dunny qualified for the August 26 finals with the highest score they've ever made. "I feel like I've already won!" he told the Journal. Be sure to watch the afternoon finals on the Pfizer Live Stream.