NRCHA Celebration of Champions

Big reined cow horse runs pay off with championships for Alexa Beaty, Flo Houlton and Belle Meade Ranch.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

John Swales rides Maximum Echo to the win in open bridle at the 2015 NRCHA Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth, Texas, for owner Flo Houlton. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos, scroll to the slideshow below.

John Swales worked first in the draw in the open bridle finals February 20 at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions.

Sliding hard and turning fast on Maximum Echo, John earned a 220 in the reined work and a 232 in the cow work for a monster 452 that left all the other exhibitors struggling to catch up.

“In the circles, I tried to run him as hard as I could,” John said. “He slowed down really good for me and stopped as good as he can stop. He got turned around OK one way and pretty good the other way. In the cow work, I had a really great cow, and he rated really good. We got a long run both ways (down the fence) and he circled up pretty good.”

The horse took a good hit from the cow both times, John said, but the horse shut down the run anyway.

“He’s very aggressive,” John said. “Everything he does, he tries 110 percent all the time, and he’s easy to show, especially for as much as he has been shown.”

It took John 30 hours to drive from his home in Millarville, Alberta, to Fort Worth, Texas, but he said the trip was worth it.

“Max” has $25,748 in NRCHA earnings, and the win in open bridle added $7,912.50 to that total.

Maximum Echo is a 2004 sorrel stallion by Playboys Remedy and out of Dry Sans Echo by Dry San. He was bred by Twisted L Ranch of Greenville, Texas, and is owned by Flo Houlton of Caroline, Alberta.

The reserve champion was Im No Wimp, a 2006 sorrel gelding by Wimpys Little Step and out of Smart Little Calena by Smart Little Calboy. He was bred by Kirk’s Rockin K Ranch in Celina, Texas, and is owned by Mark Shannon Miers of Abilene, Texas. Im No Wimp has $25,196 in National Reining Horse Association earnings  and $3,763 in AQHA earnings. The win added $6,330 to his $1,543 in NRCHA earnings.

He was ridden by AQHA Professional Horseman Steve Metcalf of Pilot Point, Texas, to a 434.5 composite score.

Non-Pro Bridle

Alexa Beaty of Aubrey, Texas, took new drive into the show ring with her after a disappointing ride the day before.

“The intermediate non-pro didn’t go as well as I would have liked, so I went in there with my game face on,” she said. “I wanted to try to do better.”

Her focused strategy paid off as Alexa and Star Dustn Wrangler scored a 215 in the reined work and a 217 in the cow work for a 423 total and the win in non-pro bridle.

Alexa stepped up from youth competition to the non-pro class.

“It’s a whole different ball game,” said the 18-year-old who will attend Oklahoma State University in the fall to ride for the equestrian team in reining.

Star Dustn Wrangler is a 2007 bay gelding by Starlights Wrangler and out of Pines Dusty Modle by Pines Dusty Dude. He was bred by Mary Anne and Greg Hall of Gainesville, Texas.

“We’re a team,” Alexa joked. “We’re a power couple.”

In 2013, Alexa and “Cinch” were AQHYA reserve world champions in reining and working cow horse. Cinch has $12,316 in NRCHA earnings, and the championship earned him $4,060 more.

Reserve champion in the class was Karla Rogers of Rhome, Texas, on BJ Chula Mula, the team that in 2009 was the Select reserve world champion in working cow horse.

BJ Chula Mula is a 2004 sorrel gelding by Chula Dual and out of BJ Tari by Smooth Move Tari. The horse was bred and is owned by Karla’s husband, AQHA Professional Horseman Fielding “Bozo” Rogers.

BJ Chula Mula has $32,751 in NRCHA earnings and added $3,190 with the second-place finish.

Open Hackamore

In 2013 and 2014, AQHA Professional Horseman Doug Williamson of Bakersfield, California, and High Brow Shiner were AQHA reserve world champions in junior working cow horse.

On February 20, they sealed the deal, earning the NRCHA open hackamore championship with a 445.5 total on the back of a 229 in the cow work.

“He was locked on that cow from the minute he came through the gate,” Doug said.

After making the first fence turn, Doug’s cow squirted away from the fence, so Doug made an open field turn.

“If I can get one of those (open field turns) every day, I’ll do it, because that’s a degree of difficulty,” he said. “He’s as good as any of (the good horses I’ve had.)”

High Brow Shiner is a 2009 stallion by Shining Lil Nic and out of High Brow Meow by High Brow Cat. He was bred and is owned by Belle Meade Ranch in Longmont, Colorado.

He earned $9,062 for the day, and Doug plans to progress the horse through the two-rein and then the bridle before preparing him for the World’s Greatest Horseman competition.

“If I don’t get too old, I’m going to bring him,” he said before adding that he will be 73 on March 15.

The reserve champion was Shinin Peaches, a 2010 buckskin mare by Shining Spark and out of Ima Smart Remedy by Smart Little Lena. She was bred by Clear Lake Land & Cattle Ranch of Reno, Nevada. Jay McLaughlin rode her for owners Sandra and JT Neal III of Pilot Point, Texas, to a 444 and $7,092. It was a good day for Jay, whose son, Cutter, won the $5,000 non-pro limited title on CD Dee Vee Dee.