Ranching Weekend in Fort Worth

From ranch rodeos to ranch horse sales to versatility competition, the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo recognizes its heritage during Ranching Weekend.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Ranch horses are ready to be sold through the Best of the Remuda Sale at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, just one of the ranching events during Ranching Heritage Weekend. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos, scroll through the slideshow below.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo celebrated Ranching Heritage weekend with a versatility competition, an AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, two ranch horse auctions, ranch rodeos and a banquet, finishing up January 18 with the Best of Mexico Celebration.

The AQHA versatility competition was the first in AQHA’s new ranching division, with exhibitors able to enter any of the classes singly. The change follows the rules of SHOT, and Baru Spiller of Wingate, Texas, was happy to see the change.

“It was great,” the SHOT president said. “We hope that it catches on. We hope that it increases participation. We have a few kinks to work out, but all in all, it’s going to be a boon for versatility.”

Under the new rules, exhibitors only have to show in three classes to be considered for the all-around title – ranch conformation, one cattle class and one class of the exhibitor’s choice – but Ashton Dunkel of Archer City, Texas, entered every class on her way to winning first place in the youth all-around race with Boots Be Tuff, a 2010 sorrel gelding by Woody Be Tuff and out of Pretty Poco Boots by Doc O Boots.

“He’s a very versatile horse, and he can about do anything I ask him to do,” Ashton said. “He’s laid back and quiet most of the time.”

Ashton also showed "Kyle" in the open division of the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge. She learned how to rope just two weeks before the show.

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” she said. “My whole family ropes except for me, and I didn’t want to be the oddball, so I finally started roping so I could show my horse in the Ranching Heritage Challenge.”

She missed both loops but plans to return to the show in 2016.

“There’s always next year,” she said.

Get to the top spot in Versatility Ranch Horse competition with these 20 training tips, including ranch riding, trail, reining, cutting, cow work and conformation.

In open versatility, AQHA Professional Horseman Mozaun McKibben showed Lil Ruf Catalyst to the all-around title, showing in all the classes, as did Kim Lindsey of Dickens, Texas, who picked up the all-around win in versatility amateur on Judys Ten.

Lil Ruf Catalyst is a 2006 black stallion by Lil Ruf Peppy and out of Foxy Catalyst by Taris Catalyst. He was bred by Werner Hermus of Valley View, Texas, and is owned by Mozaun and Hillary Zimmerman of Whitesboro, Texas.

Judys Ten is a 2006 buckskin gelding by Ten O Sea and out of Crows Judy by Black Chick Gold. He was bred by Bill and Dana Smith of Spur, Texas, and is owned by Kim.

The Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Championships and John Deere Cowboy Mounted Shooting Championships are March 19-21 in Houston.

AQHA Professional Horseman Dick Pieper of Marietta, Oklahoma, was recognized as the Western Horseman of the Year by Western Horseman magazine during a banquet for ranch rodeo participants and their families.

AQHA Best Remuda-winning ranches
sold ranch horses in a well-attended Best of the Remuda sale.