RHAA National Finals

Riders show off their horses during the Ranch Horse Association of America National Finals on May 9 in Abilene, Texas.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Tripp Townsend and TRR Lucky Playgun win the junior class May 9 at the 2015 RHAA Finals during the Western Heritage Classic in Abilene, Texas. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos, scroll through the slideshow below.

After two days of competition, it was time for the finals May 9 at the Ranch Horse Association of America Finals.

Five riders from each of four classes class earned their way back into the clean-slate finals after two preliminary rounds.

They wiped some sweat off their palms onto their jeans, picked up the reins and rode in front of a full house at the Taylor Expo Coliseum during the Western Heritage Classic in Abilene, Texas.

Here's how it all shook out:

Kelsey Mosby, Rising Star, Texas
Boons Hot Tamale
2005 chestnut gelding by Boons Milliennium and out of PB Hot Tamale by Peppys Boy 895. Bred by Royce Schulte of Wildorado, Texa

Riding her own horse Boons Hot Tamale in the senior class, Kelsey Mosby earned her fourth national title. She also picked up the reserve champion title in the junior class on Rey To Cool.

“Winning’s always fun,” she said. “I’ve noticed the more time I spend in the show pen, the clearer I can think through things and make good decisions when I’m out there.”

“Tamale” is a proven performer, so Kelsey was thinking about showing him off.

“I worked on asking him for more in my rundowns so I could get a little better stop and just trying to use my cow really well,” she said. “It’s luck of the draw with the cow and trying to be accurate and make good decisions because I know I have two good horses to show and wanted to let their skills be known.”

Kelsey works for Wagon Wheel Ranch in Lometa, Texas, and loves competing in RHAA events.

“My favorite part  of this association is the people you get to meet,” she said. “I’ve met some people that you read about in magazines and you get to rub elbows with them and they learn your name and you find out they’re really nice people.”

She plans to return to the finals in 2016.

“I have a Halreycious gelding coming up that I like a lot,” she said. “I’ll see if I can get him shown some and qualified this next year.”

Tripp Townsend, Earth, Texas
TRR Lucky Playgun
2009 gray gelding by Pepcid and out of TRR Ms Lucky Gun by Playgun. Bred by Tongue River Ranch of Paducah, Texas

When Tripp Townsend’s children Autumn and Trail enter the show pen, Tripp advises them that it’s better to lose by being too aggressive than by not trying.

He took his own advice on the way to marking a monster score of 440 in the junior class on his own TRR Lucky Playgun.

“He’s never said no yet,” Tripp said, “It’s not me. He’s a special horse. He just tries whatever you tell him to do.”

It’s the second year for Tripp and “Motown” to win the junior class.

“I got him from Tongue River Ranch,” Tripp said. “I noticed at the (ranch) rodeos they were always riding good horses and I asked how they were bred, and (the cowboys) always said Pepcid. I finally asked Tom Moorhouse if he’d sell me one, and this is what he sold me.

“I’ve sure been happy he sold him to me.”

Still, Tripp is planning on sharing his award-winning ride with Autumn and Trail.

“If he comes back, it will be with one of my kids,” Tripp said.

Ranch Hand
Cooper Cogdell, Tulia, Texas
Ichiban Cee
2007 palomino gelding by Cat Ichi and out of Shania Cee by Peppys Boy 895. Bred by Bette Cogdell of Tulia.

Ichiban Cee was a gift to Cooper Cogdell.

The palomino out of the Cogdell family’s storied mare Shania Cee was bred to be a cutter, but he didn’t care for the sport.

“I’ve got to thank my uncle for him,” Cooper said. “I was talking about (the horse) one day, and (my uncle) said if you want him, you can have him. He’s a gift.”

About a year ago, Cooper and the gelding started competing in ranch horse competitions, where he’s asked to perform reining maneuvers, box a cow, turn it both ways down the fence, then rope and pull it.

“I was really proud of him to do this kind of event, where you have to do the reining and be so stylish in it and then come do the cow and the roping and be so fast and take the big jerks, and for him to go three runs this week – and he felt like he got better each run – I was proud of him,” Cooper said. “He just gave his heart every run.”

Ichiban Cee has a mighty nickname to live up to.

“I had a good buddy, and we were trotting across the pasture one day, and he was making fun of how little my horse was and asked what I called him,” Cooper said. “I said, ‘To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what his name is.’ He said, ‘You should call him Bullslayer,’ and it’s one of those names that just stuck.

“He’s been fun. We started doing this stuff on him this year, and he’s been a cool little horse for me.”  

Carroll Jack Lewis, Stamford, Texas
Squirrel Account
2009 sorrel gelding by Mr Boonsmal To You and out of Squirrel Tooth Alice by CD Olena. Bred by Glade M. Knight, Weatherford, Texas; Owned by Swenson Land and Cattle Co. of Stamford.

Nerves plagued Carroll Jack Lewis before he went into the pen, but once he rode in on Squirrel Account, he knew what to do.

“I knew I was the last one in (in the draw), and I knew the other guys had scored pretty good,” Carroll Jack said. “The cattle were soft, and you had to really use your cow. Being the last one in the class, I knew I had to use him good and ride hard for it to beat those guys.  Just had to put it all out there. Once you get in there, you go to work and do what you’re supposed to do and hope it works out.”

Carroll Jack has been riding “Squirrel,” named for the gelding's mama, since he was a 2-year-old.

“He’s been fun to ride,” Carroll Jack said. “He was easy to train and we just use him on the ranch and do all the ranch work on him. It’s fun to bring him to town and show him off to the public.”

The championship was Carroll Jack’s first, but he’s unlikely to wear the belt buckle that goes with the win.

“I’m sure my wife (Dannielle) will have it on her belt,” he said with a grin.