Colorado State Fair Ranching Heritage Challenge

Waggoner Ranch-bred horses dominate open working ranch horse classes at the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge in Pueblo, Colorado.

Special contributor to The American Quarter Horse Journal

Ben Baldus rides Boots Be Tuff for owner Ashton Dunkel during the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. (Sara Gugelmeyer photo)

It was a good day August 28 for horses bred by the Waggoner Ranch at the AQHA Zoetis Ranching Heritage Challenge at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

The ranch’s horse trainer, Ben Baldus, dominated the open division of the working ranch horse, winning both the 4-year-old and the 5/6-year-old classes.

Meanwhile, Jimbo Humphreys of Dickens, Texas, won amateur working ranch horse, and Fielding “Bozo” Rogers won open ranch horse pleasure. The event was sponsored by Zoetis, Western Horseman, Professional’s Choice and Double J Saddlery.

Ben topped first the 4-year-old working ranch horse class aboard Boots Be Tuff with a whopping 440.5 composite under two judges for a $1,820 payday. He later won the 5/6-year-old working ranch horse on My Boots Are Tuff with a 445 to win $1,260.

The two horses were both bred by the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder ranch headquartered in Vernon, Texas. Both are by Woody Be Tuff and out of Doc O Boots daughters. The 4-year-old, Boots Be Tuff, however, is actually owned by AQHYA member Ashton Dunkel of Archer City, Texas. She bought the horse from the Waggoner ranch in April but offered Ben the opportunity to show him again.
Limited Open
Dusty Burson of the Burnett Ranches in Guthrie, Texas, won the limited open division of the 4-year-old and 5/6-year-old working ranch horse classes. First, he marked a pair of 212.5’s on Paddys Prince for a $1,260 check. The bay gelding is by Playin Attraction and out of a daughter of Paddys Irish Whiskey. Then Dusty won the 5/6 year-old limited open working ranch horse on Playin With Pick with a 405 composite to win $960 for the Four Sixes. Both horses are bred and raised by the ranch in Guthrie, Texas.

Dusty works for the ranch and says he was excited that even though he gets last pick of all the cowboys, his first choice, Paddys Prince, was still available as a yearling. The big bay gelding is Dusty’s favorite horse and he has enjoyed doing all the training on him.
Cowboy Class
Dusty’s brother, True, who just started working for the Four Sixes 18 months ago, won the cowboy class on the 9-year-old bay gelding Select Guns by Playgun and out of  Select Ingredient by Tanquery Gin to win $1,450.

“He was in my string when I got (to the Sixes), and I am real lucky to have him,” True said. “He’s a nice horse.”
A horse whose list of ranch horse accolades is long, Josephs Catchum All, won both amateur classes – working ranch horse and ranch horse pleasure with owner Jimbo Humphreys, Spur, Texas, aboard. The big bay gelding by Josephs Gold earned Humphreys a check of $1,680 in working ranch horse and $464 in ranch horse pleasure.

The horse has had some time off and this is his first show in a while and first Ranching Heritage Challenge, but not his last, Jimbo says. The pair is planning on going to the Tri-State Fair in Amarillo on September 13. Catchum was bred by Bill Smith of Spur Headquarters Ranch.  

Novice Amateur
Jack Hunter, Beulah, Colo., showed Docs Shining Peppy to win the novice amateur working ranch horse. His horse was bred by Mike Major of Major Cattle Company.

 In the working ranch horse part of AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge events horses and riders complete a short reining pattern then box a cow and turn it down the fence, once each way. Then in the amateur and novice amateur divisions, riders have the option of circling the cow or roping and stopping it.

In the amateur and cowboy divisions riders may show horses 4 years of age or older, bred by a Ranching Heritage Breeder. In the open and limited open divisions, there are separate divisions for 4-year-olds and 5- or 6-year-olds.  

New this year is a boxing division. Jecca Ostrander of Gordon, Nebraska, showed BOXO Heavens Blue for first place in amateur boxing and a check of $1,050.

Open Ranch Horse Pleasure
Bozo Rogers of Rhome, Texas, won open ranch horse pleasure aboard Irish Six for owners Wes and Sarah Williams of Dove Creek Ranch. Irish Six is a 6-year-old mare bred by the Four Sixes. She is by Paddys Irish Whiskey and out of Frost At Six by Tanquery Gin.
“She’s been a hard luck story her whole life,” Bozo said.

She had an injury as a 2-year-old and then spent some time with a trainer with whom she didn’t get along. Bozo spent some time bringing her along and has since seen success in stock horse competition.

In addition to prize money, each winner received a Professional’s Choice AirRide saddle pad, Double J Saddlery spur straps and a subscription to Western Horseman magazine.  Second place won Professional’s Choice Sports Medicine boots. Third place received a Professional’s Choice skid boots. Fourth place received a Professional’s Choice hay bag and fifth place won a Professional’s Choice carry-all bag.

Additional results
Open 4-year-old working ranch horse
2nd place, $1,365 – TRR Colonel Pep, shown by Michael Brown for the Tongue River Ranch, Paducah, Texas
3rd place, $910 – Paddys Prince, shown by Dusty Burson for Burnett Ranches LLC, Guthrie, Texas
4th place, $455 – Electra Can Do, shown by Benjamin Baldus for W.T. Waggoner Estate, Vernon, Texas

Limited Open 4-year-old working ranch horse
2nd place, $840 –  Bobbie Can Do, shown and owned by Sidney Dunkel, Archer City, Texas

Open 5/6-year-old working ranch horse

2nd place, $840 – Playin With Pick, shown by Dusty Burson for Burnett Ranches LLC.

Limited Open 5/6-year-old working ranch horse
2nd place, $640 – TRR Sharalena Kat, shown by Tyler Weatherford for Tongue River Ranch.

Cowboy working ranch horse
2nd place, $870 – TRR Pepcid Gin, shown by Tyler Weatherford for Tongue River Ranch.
3rd place, $580 – TRR Sharalena Pepcid, shown by Quinton Marburger for Tongue River Ranch.

Amateur working ranch horse

2nd place, $1,120 – Tens Lucky Seven, shown and owned by Jimbo Humphreys.

Open ranch horse pleasure
2nd/3rd place, $274.50 – Circle Bar Cutthepay, shown by Bozo Rogers for Reba Rogers.
2nd/3rd place, $274.50 – Bobbie Can Do, owned and shown by Sidney Dunkel.
4th place, $183 – BOXO Heavens Blue, shown by Julian Nemmers for Jecca Ostrander.
5th place, $122 – Boots Be Tuff, owned and shown by Ashton Kate Dunkel.

Amateur ranch horse pleasure

2nd place, $348 – Hal Of A Dawg, shown by Sara Gugelmeyer for Jeremy Gugelmeyer.
3rd place, $232 – BOXO Heavens Blue owned and shown by Becca Ostrander.
4th place, $116 – Lees Doc O Sunrise, owned and shown by Bryan Lee.