William "Axel" Sanders takes Crockers Bay Boy for a victory lap.
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by Laura StevensThe American Quarter Horse Journal
After a bit of tough luck in the amateur tie-down roping finals at the 2010 AQHA World Championship Show, William “Axel” Sanders was looking for a win.
“Let’s just say it was aggravating!” Axel said. On his 12-year-old sorrel mare Zans Smoker, Axel delivered two loops and finished ninth. After his ride on Crockers Bay Boy, aka “Ace,” also in the tie-down, Axel felt disappointed in their finalist-earning go. “I was mad, I’ll admit it!” he laughed. “But you’ve got to just get through it and rope the next calf!”
Axel overcame any mental disappointments and rode into the breakaway roping with a clear mind. They drew 14th in the go.
“I knew there was already a pretty quick two (second run) and I thought ‘Well, just go for it!’”
“I took my first shot and got it,” Axel explained. “It ended up working, but I was worried about the barrier. I turned around and looked; thank goodness it was still together!”
The duo walked away with their third world championship in amateur breakaway roping.
Ace is a 1994 gelding whom Axel has owned for ten years. Although Ace might be for sale, Axel isn’t in any hurry to sell his partner: “If he sells, he sells. If he doesn’t, he’ll have a happy home!”
“He’s paid for!” joked Axel. “He doesn’t owe me anything!”
Axel was supported by his wife, Tina Sanders, and other friends and roping competitors.
“We may rope against each other,” Axel said. “But we’re friends, and I’m just as happy – well, almost just as happy when they win as when I do! We cheer each other on!”
The World Show has been good to Axel and Ace, who normally compete in rodeos.
“People don’t understand how much different the horse shows are (than rodeos),” Axel said. “Everybody thinks it looks easy until you ride down that alley and your heart’s pounding! Your horse is in control then, you just hope they work."
And work Ace did.