August 30, 2011
By Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Tuckers Vaquero and owner Jerry Lee Barger started tearing it up in the show pen in 1995 and are still going strong in 2011. Journal photo.
Grit and determination, guts and a love of the sport are things that keep athletes playing the game. Those are the same attributes that have kept the 1994 AQHA Farnam Superhorse, Tuckers Vaquero, in the show pen.
“He’s a good boy and he’s still going at 22,” says owner Jerry Lee Barger, of Greenwood, Nebraska. “I had him qualified for the working cow horse and ranch sorting (at the 2011 Adequan Select World Championship Show).”
In hopes of taking it easy on the old show horse, and taking it easy on himself, Jerry decided to only let the 1989 buckskin gelding compete in ranch sorting at the 2011 Adequan Select World.
“I had him qualified for this show in the working cow horse, but I just thought it’d be a little too much. I had two others to ride, and I’m 71, so I didn’t think I could ride three of them down the fence,” Jerry says with a laugh. “If I had made the finals on three of them, I would’ve never made it!”
Deciding to only show two cow horses proved to be a good one – Jerry won the Select working cow horse on Rattlen Pepper (Annie Little Pepper-Lenas Hickory by Doc’s Hickory).
Between now and 1994, when Jerry purchased Tuckers Vaquero right after the son of Doc Tom Tucker had won the 1994 AQHA Farnam Superhorse with AQHA Professional Horseman Jimmie Paul, the duo have won a trailer load of awards.
It hasn’t been an easy road, though, for Tuckers Vaquero. In 1997 he faced the challenges of sibling rivalry.
“I showed him in ’95, ’96 and ’97,” Jerry says, “and I actually qualified him for the Superhorse again in 1997, but his three-quarters brother, (Tostada Tucker,) beat him out.
“The Doc Tom Tuckers have been good to me,” Jerry says with a smile.
But what’s the secret behind keeping Tuckers Vaquero going strong all these years? Jerry says that the gelding has never had a lame day in his life, but they keep him going in his prime with the help of Adequan. It doesn’t hurt that Jerry’s wife, Tammy, dotes on the buckskin.
“We treat all of our horses good, but there’re a few special ones that are just pretty close to your heart.”