Ranching Heritage Challenge

The competition was smokin' in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Ranch Horse Journal

Boxo Valentines Cat and Clay Volmer. PHOTO: Ranch Horse Journal


It is debatable which was hotter: The weather or the competition at the Zoetis Ranching Heritage Challenge, held June 11 in Rapid City, South Dakota.

With the sun pushing temperatures around 100 and solid American Quarter Horse ranch horses pushing cow work scores over 75, both were smokin’.

Ranching Heritage Challenges highlight the versatility, soundness and willing attitude of American Quarter Horses that are bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders. To be eligible to compete in the challenges, horses must have been bred by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder, plus all payments must be complete. In 2016, there is more than $90,000 in prize money offered during the six challenges and finals. This event had 44 entries competing for more than $16,000 in cash and prizes.

To qualify for the finals, a horse must simply compete at any one of the 2016 Challenges.

$3,500-Added Open 4-Year-Old
$1,500-Added Limited Open 4-Year-Old
Boxo Valentines Cat was the big winner in the $3,950 Open 4-Year-Old, competing for breeder/owner Jenna Ostrander and rider Clay Volmer. Ostrander is a 30-year breeder from Gordon, Nebraska, and saw her horse bring home a $2,370 check plus prizes for the victory.

The buckskin mare is by Palo Duro Cat and out of the Roan Ambrose mare Tracis Blue Roan. Palo Duro Cat is a son of cutting royalty High Brow Cat and Shania Cee. Tracis Blue Roan is a product of Ostrander’s breeding program, and has also produced performers Tracis Blue Cowgirl (by JJJ Cardinals Cowboy) and Boxo Heavens Firefly (by SNW Heavens King).

Matt Koch rode his own This Cats Sinful to a second place finish, earning a check worth $1,580. The sorrel mare was bred by Cowan Select Horses LLC and is by WR This Cats Smart and out of the Freckles Playboy mare Sinful Playgirl.

Bryan Lee was third on his own homebred Snip O Sunrise Lobo (Docs Croton Lobo-Watch This Sunrise by Sunrise Enterprise). The North Platte, Nebraska, resident and his 4-year-old won the $1,500-added limited open, taking home prizes and a cool $1,600 check.

$1,500-Added Open 5&6 Year Old
$1,000-Added Limited Open 5&6 Year Old
Douglas, Wyoming, cowboy Koch came back strongly in the 5&6 Year Old division, winning with Wagonhound’s Dual With A Shiner.

The 2011 gelding is by Reys Dual Badger and out of the Shining Spark mare Miss Shiner Dear, and is an accomplished competitor in National Reined Cow Horse Association competition. He is a reserve champion in the NRCHA Open Stakes and has earned more than $54,300. With the win in Rapid City, which was worth $1,260, he pushes his earnings in the Ranching Heritage Challenge program alone to $2,493.

Reys Dual Badger is a 16-year-old son of Dual Pep out of the Haidas Little Pep mare Lipshy, and the 2006 NCHA horse of the year. He has sired the earners of more than $2.8 million in National Cutting Horse, National Reining Horse, National Reined Cow Horse and Ranch Horse Association of America associations.

Dam Miss Shiner Dear is a daughter of the highly accomplished mare Katie Starlight, who in 1999 carried Ted Robinson to win the World’s Greatest Horseman. Miss Shiner Dear has also produced accomplished reiner Shiner Olena (by Smart Chic Olena), who has earned more than $78,000 in NRHA competition.

Eric Branger rode Cowan Select Horse’s Boom N Blues (Spooks Bluestem-Maximum Boom by Boomernic) to a second place finish in the class, earning $840. 

Ccats Gaybar Colonel and Cliff Hall were third, followed by Sunrises Croton Lobo and Bryan Lee fourth.

Robby Moore rode the Allen Munger-bred gelding Smoother Than His Pa to win the Limited Open division with a 141 score.

Moore got the 6-year-old gelding two years ago, and picked up a $870 check for the win to add it to $2,640 earnings he’d already picked up in the NRCHA and Challenge events.

Smoother Than His Pa is by the Smooth As A Cat stud Peppys Smooth Cat and out of the Dualin Gun mare Ms Dualin Irish Doc.

Sammy Ryan of Athol, Idaho, was second aboard Peps Gotta Frenchman (Peppy Dunit Special-Gotta French Sweetie by Gotta Sweet Leo), a horse bred by Gary and Deborah Mailloux of Vale, South Dakota. Bryan Lee was third with Sunrises Croton Lobo.

$2,500-Added Amateur
Amateur Level 1
Jecca Ostrander was able to watch her Boxo Valentines Cat win big in the open, and then went ahead and won big herself in the amateur riding homebred Boxo Heavens Blue.

The 8-year-old gelding is a very accomplished ranch horse, including finishing sixth in the amateur boxing at the 2015 AQHA World Championship Show. In this event, he picked up a check worth $1,550.

He is by the Smart Little Lena-bred stallion SNW Heavens King and out of the Masie’s Blue mare Snippy Blue Card.

Cliff Hall of Bronson, Kansas, was second aboard Ccats Gaybar Colonel (Cowasocki Cat-Colonels Gay Widow by Colonel Remington, bred by Bill and Lora Holeman), earning $930. The Jim and Ethel Whitcher-bred gelding High On Whitches (Peptos Blueprint-High On Cuero by Smart Lil Highbrow) was third with Tom Coolahan, earning $620.

Dawn Martin won the Amateur Level 1, riding JS Uniquely Yours (Two D Driftwood-CB Sabre Mist by CB Doc Drifter). The dun is owned by James and Darlene Swenson.

$2,000-Added Cowboy Class
Holly Gundlach swept the cowboy class aboard two San Jon Ranch horses, winning with Slipknott and finishing second with Big Bravo, earning a combined $2,300.

The horses are three-quarter siblings: both by Diamond J Star, Slipknott is out of the Texas Stray mare Cinnamon Knot and Big Bravo is out of the Solid Sugarbar mare Chili Brava. Both mares are out of Red Chili Mark, a daughter of Red Mark Blanton. 

Robby Moore and Smoother Than His Pa were third.

Amateur Boxing
Dr. Heather Sutton of Gettysburg, South Dakota, took her family’s homebred RWS Vacas Benito Bar to victory in the $1,100 Amateur Boxing, winning $660 plus prizes.

The 4-year-old sorrel is by Vaca Rey and out of the Solid Gold Edition mare Ammaria.

Christine Lee was second aboard Snip O Sunrise Lobo and earned $440 plus prizes.

Ranch Riding
Amateur Ranch Riding
Spooks Top Gun topped a competitive $1,000-added ranch riding class. The 3-year-old filly was ridden by Eric Granger for owner Cowan Select Horses and earned $360.
Spooks Top Gun is by Spooks Bluestem out of the Playgun mare PG Play N For Keeps.

Bryan Lee was second with Lees Doc O Sunrise (Docs Croton Lobo-Watch This Sunrise by Sunrise Enterprise), earning $300. JS Star N Valentines (Jana Red Hancock-MG Copper Wood by Ruanos C Wood) and Dawn Martin were third.

Lee and Lees Doc O Sunrise won the  amateur ranch riding, adding $456 to his already extensive haul.

Martin and JS Star N Valentines were second, and Jecca Ostrander and Boxo Heavens Blue were third.

Colter Martin rode fiercely to win several youth classes aboard horses owned by his grandparents, Jim and Darlene Swenson. He guided the dun gelding JS Uniquely Yours to win the youth boxing and JS Star N Valentine to win the youth ranch riding.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHAnews on Twitter and visit www.aqha.com/news.