by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Fort Worth Pipeline and R.L Chartier
“To win it once was a dream, but to win it back-to-back is just phenomenal!” Lisa Bankston of Westworth Village, Texas, told The American Quarter Horse Journal.
Her homebred mare, Fort Worth Pipeline, aka “Piper,” had just done the – almost – impossible – won back-to-back AQHA world championships in the November 18 junior cutting finals at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.
“I wasn’t even thinking about (the possibility),” her husband, Jimmy, added. “Not a repeat!”
“It doesn’t happen very often,” Lisa said. “There’s so much that can happen and can go wrong in the cutting pen. And the cows were a little sticky tonight, and a little numb, and she really doesn’t like that kind of cow.”
R.L. Chartier of Weatherford, Texas, rode Piper 13th in the draw.
“We actually got pretty lucky,” he said. “I helped Ed Dufurrena – he was two before me – he lost his first cow, which was a cow he kind of liked and ended up cutting two other fresh cows. One happened to be the yellow cow that I started off with. She was everything we thought she was going to be, had a lot of try, a degree of difficulty.
“(Piper) is a lot better with that – if something’s trying her, that’s when she’s at her best. She’s real gritty and cowy. The second cow was a black that we liked, and it drove up there to the middle and did the same thing.
“I knew that … there weren’t that many big runs put down yet, and so I knew I needed something to just finish up and give the judges an opportunity to mark me or not. I kind of cut some shape up top there, got one walking away, and it worked, it was just kind of our night. … She was real good tonight.”
They ended up scoring a 223 to take the win – a first world championship in R.L.'s first World Show appearance.
He added: “I like to go wide open and she’s one you can push wide open and she’ll give it her all.”
“R.L. and his help chose some really good cows, and (Piper) got to show her stuff,” Lisa said. “I knew if we got some cows, she’d do her thing. She loves to cut!”
Lisa added: “She’s been such a nice horse. Shawn Flynn started her and John Wold showed her during her 4-year-old and 5-year-old years and he won the (2012 AQHA junior cutting world championship) here. R.L. started showing her in the spring.”
Lisa shows her successfully in NCHA non-pro events: “She’s just been a dream. And I’m just crazy about her.”
They say it only takes one good mare to make it as a breeder, and Lisa is sure proof of that. Her broodmare herd consists of one mare: Fort Worth Pipeline’s mother, Fort Worth Skyline (by Mr Skyline Peppy).
“I was running the (National Cutting Horse Association) practice pen at the time, in Fort Worth,” Lisa recalled, “and it was during the summer show and all the trainers were bringing their 3-year-olds for the Futurity. … I saw so many horses, but I told Jimmy, ‘There’s a mare that I really like and really caught my eye: a Mr Skyline Peppy and out of a Doc’s Hickory mare.’ … She was really cowy, a big, beautiful mare.”
The Bankstons bought Fort Worth Skyline, but Lisa explained that she and Jimmy “had both just started back cutting so she didn’t get a really good chance.” But Lisa believed she had talent: “She had a lot of cow and a lot of heart.” She wanted to breed her to Cats Merada, and Jimmy bought her a breeding as a Christmas present. Piper was her first foal.
“Since then, I’ve gotten a breeding every year for Christmas!” Lisa added with a laugh. They have yearling and weanling full sisters to Piper, and her dam is bred back to Kit Kat Sugar. Jimmy is currently showing her 4-year-old half-brother by Neat Little Cat.
“People are always shocked when they ask, ‘How many mares do you have?’ and we say, ‘Uh, one.’
Jimmy got into cutting after he went to Punk Carter’s and “he stuck me on a horse,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that (getting hooked on cutting) is a DNA-deal. I’ve been a cutter nearly 35 years.”
“I did most of my cutting in the '80s and '90s in Canada,” Lisa added. “I was married to a trainer up there and moved back down to Texas and ran the practice pen for the NCHA for about 15 years and didn’t cut.
“Jimmy and I got together and we both started back, dusted the cobwebs off, and here we are. It’s been a lot of fun. And it’s something that we both really love, and it’s been a big part of our lives.”
Piper’s combined NCHA and AQHA World Show earnings are just under $90,000. The Bankstons would like to show her one more year to reach the $100,000 mark, and then plan to retire her.
“I hope you’ll see her here next year in the senior (finals),” Lisa said. “We’re already entered in the AQHA show at the Fort Worth Stock Show. She’ll show for the first time in the senior in January.
“She does love this pen here (at the Oklahoma State Fair Park Coliseum). We showed at the non-pro here in June, and I was the reserve champion. She was reserve in the Battle in the Saddle here, and now she’s won the world twice here.”
“This is Lisa’s horse!” Jimmy said, proud of his wife’s belief in the mare and the way she’s managed their program.
“Well, I couldn’t do this without Jimmy,” Lisa said with a smile.
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