Zoetis Ranching Heritage Challenge

Stylin N Smart is tops at the Billings Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge.

AQHA Media

Stylish N Smart and Todd Fitch were the 4-year-old class winners. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

The Northern International Livestock Exposition in Billings, Montana, is a weeklong celebration of all things livestock. In the Rimrock Auto Arena and Super Barn on October 17, the event hosted the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, which celebrated ranch horses from all over the country.

4-Year-Old Working Ranch Horse
The aptly named Stylin N Smart proved he was both in the keystone class, as with trainer Todd Fitch aboard the pair marked a 145.5 with a smooth and powerful run.

The sorrel colt is owned by Tamara Casey and David Serna’s Lazy TD Performance Horses LLC of Fallon, Nevada. They purchased him at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity sale as a yearling from breeders Kit and Charlie Moncrief and sent him to Fitch when the horse was 2, and has seen him do well at several area futurities. 

Stylin N Smart earned $1,880 for the win, which boosts his career earnings to more than $5,600.

"He's a happy horse," Fitch says. "I've always liked him. He's always been a neat little horse. I've got a 2-year-old granddaughter, and he's the one I trusted for my wife to ride with her."

Fitch is based in Arbon, Idaho, and with his family works a cow-calf and haying operation, as well as training horses. The horses often get experience through real ranch work, including Stylin N Smart.

"I use him on the ranch as well as show him," Fitch says. "He travels out really nice, he's good to rope on. Where I live it's kind of mountainy and brushy, and he's good. He doesn't care when you take him off by himself."

The horse will make his next appearance at the upcoming Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show in the junior working cow horse.

He is by the Moncrief’s Mr Playinstylish and out of Little Smart Ginger, a daughter of Smart Little Lena who has produced the earners of more than $171,000, led by Stylin N Smart’s half-brother, Royal Smart Fletch (LTE $78,725).

Wagonhound Land & Livestock’s Matt Kelly rounded out the class podium with Shiner Dear Rey and This Cats Not Blu.

Shiner Dear Rey is a homebred for the Zoetis AQHA Best Remuda-winning ranch, and is by Reys Dual Badger and out of Miss Shiner Dear by Shining Spark. The palomino mare collected $1,410 for the placing. Third was This Cats Not Blu, who earned $940. Bred by Garth and Amanda Gardiner, the mare is by Wagonhound’s stallion WR This Cats Smart and out of Flo N Blu Boon.

Limited Open 4-Year-Old Working Ranch Horse
Representing his family’s past Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year Box O Quarter Horses at Gordon, Nebraska, Stetson Ostrander had a busy and successful day with three class wins.

One of them came with the bay colt BOXO Chicas Merada, who earned $1,125 for winning the limited open 4-year-old working ranch horse class.

The ranch-bred colt is by Weavers Merada Joe and out of the Smart Chic Olena mare Freckles O Chic. He is a half brother to successful reiner Gallos Smart Chic (by Gallo Del Cielo).

Finishing second was SS Some Hey Please (WR One Eyed Jack-Desire Some Hey by Hey Houston) and Katie Walker, earning $675. The sorrel gelding was bred and raised by Zoetis AQHA Best Remuda winner Silver Spur Operating Co. and is a full brother to world champion SS Hey One Eye, as well as performer SS One Eyed Desire.

5- and 6-Year-Old Working Ranch Horse
Matt Kelly returned to win the 5- and 6-year-old working ranch horse class with his own Smart Approach.

With a clean reining run, the pair worked their second cow with authority to earn $1,800 for first place.

Smart Approach was bred by Wagonhound and is by WR This Cats Smart and out of the Tanquery Gin mare Model Approach. In addition to being a true ranch horse, the 6-year-old has earned more than $8,000 in competition.

Finishing second was rancher Bryan Lee aboard his homebred Snip O Sunrise Lobo, a 6-year-old bay gelding from his nicking cross of Docs Croton Lobo and the Sunrise Enterprise mare Watch This Sunrise. This cross has produced the earners of more than $22,000, including VRH reserve world champion Lees Doc O Sunrise. Lee ranches near North Platte, Nebraska.

Limited 5- and 6-Year-Old Working Ranch Horse
Riding his own SF Light Of Boon, Andy Hansen earned a class win and pulled in $875.

Andy owns the 5-year-old red roan mare with his wife, Megan. The Hansens operate a training business near Joice, Iowa, which is located close to the Minnesota border.

The horse was bred by Michael and Kim St. Clair of Kahoka, Missouri, and doubles her Ranching Heritage Challenge earnings. She is by Boonlight Wilson and out of the Figure Four Jay mare Four Git Jay, whose female line comes from the breeding program of Zoetis AQHA Best Remuda winner Haythorn Land & Cattle Co.

Finishing second was MS Smooth N Sugar (Peppys Smooth Cat-Sugar Frost O Lena by Sons Doc O Sugar), who is owned by Lavonne Westland of Brockway, Montana, and was ridden by Alexi Coniglione. The 5-year-old mare earned $525.

Cowboy Working Ranch Horse
Winning the cowboy class was SS Some Hey Please and Katie Walker, good for $1,375 additional in earnings.

The WR One Eyed Jack gelding out of Desire Some Hey by Hey Houston was bred and raised by Silver Spur Operating Co. and is a full brother to world champion SS Hey One Eye, as well as performer SS One Eyed Desire.

Finishing second was stablemate Seven S Anniesmart (Very Smart Remedy-Annie Gotta Real Gun by Real Gun) and Regin Fletcher, who earned $825.

Seven S Anniesmart was bred by Zoetis AQHA Best Remuda winner Stuart Ranch of Waurika, Oklahoma, and was acquired by Silver Spur as a yearling.

Amateur Working Ranch Horse
When all-time leading Ranching Heritage Challenge-earner BOXO Heavens Blue finished his sharp amateur working ranch horse run, Stetson Ostrander gave the game gelding a big pat of thanks.

The 10-year-old gelding added $1,420 for the win, boosting his career earnings to more than $60,000. He is by SNW Heavens King and out of the Masie’s Blue mare Snippy Blue Card.

Finishing second was Lees Doc O Sunrise (Docs Croton Lobo-Watch This Sunrise by Sunrise Enterprise), who was ridden by breeder and owner Bryan Lee. The 13-year-old gray stallion earned $1,065, adding to more than $20,000 in career earnings he has accumulated so far.

Level 1 Amateur Working Ranch Horse
JS Uniquely Yours is a uniquely family horse, being shared by the Martin family for every kind of work necessary – ranch work, ranch rodeos or shows.

At Billings, Dawn Martin rode the horse to win the Level 1 amateur working ranch horse, but the horse also carried her son, Colter, to placings.

The 11-year-old dun gelding was bred by her parents, James and Darlene Swenson, and he helps at their ranches in Beulah, North Dakota. He is by Two D Driftwood and out of the CB Doc Drifter mare CB Sabre Mist. He has earned more than $3,500 in Ranching Heritage Challenge competition.

Extra Sweet Freckles and Lisa Robinett of Pavillion, Wyoming, finished second. The bay mare by Mr Sun O Freckles and out of the Skeets Peppy mare Skeet Emotion was bred by Bond Ranch of Worden, Montana.

Youth Working Ranch Horse
Randi Jo Klind of Glasgow, Montana, rode her buckskin mare Diamonds Miss 049 to win the youth working ranch horse class.

The Allen Munger-bred mare is by LW Playguns Diamond and out of the Glo Dun Smoke mare Miss Glo Smoke 049.

JS Uniquely Yours (Two D Driftwood-CB Sabre Mist by CB Doc Drifter) was second in the class with Colter Martin aboard.

Youth Level 1 Working Ranch Horse
Youth Barrel Racing
JS Uniquely Yours ultimately had three class wins with two different riders – Dawn and Colter Martin – at this event.

Colter won the youth Level 1 working ranch horse and youth barrel racing classes with the dun gelding bred by his grandparents. The pair won these two classes at the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals earlier this year.

Level 1 Limited Amateur Working Ranch Horse
Winning the farthest-traveled award at this event, Edward Davis of Thomasville, Georgia, won his class aboard Raised On It, a horse he recently bought at a Montana sale.

The flashy 4-year-old flaxen sorrel gelding was bred by Center Ranch of Centerville, Texas.  He is by Woody Be Tuff and out of the Peptoboonsmal mare CR Shes Uh Secret.

Limited Youth Working Ranch Horse
The sorrel gelding Smokum Freckles Smokum Freckles carried Jori Skaggs to win the limited youth working ranch horse.

The young 4-year-old gelding was bred by Bond Ranch of Worden, Montana, and is owned by Gordon and Doris Radke of Worden. He is sired by Mr Sun O Freckles and is out of the Smokums Prize mare Miss Smokums Prize.

Finishing second was JS Star N Valentines (Jana Red Hancock-MG Copper Wood by Ruanos C Wood), ridden by Cooper Martin

Level 1 Limited Youth Working Ranch Horse
While they were second in the limited youth division, JS Star N Valentines and Cooper Martin were the winners in the Level 1 edition of the class.

The 9-year-old gelding was bred by James and Darlene Swenson of Beulah, North Dakota. He has earned more than $2,000 in Ranching Heritage Challenges.

Open Ranch Riding
California trainer Kathy Torres won the biggest class of the day, the open ranch riding, aboard her own This Sunville Cat.

The pair had to mark a 78.5 to top the competitive class, with second-place finisher BOXO Heavens Blue and Stetson Ostrander just a half-point behind.

This Sunville Cat earned $384 for the run. The liver chestnut mare is a Wagonhound Land & Livestock-bred that Torres bought as a yearling. She is by WR This Cats Smart and out of the Sun Frost mare PC Boonella Sunville. 

Amateur Ranch Riding
Ranchers Stetson Ostrander and Bryan Lee swept the top five placings in the amateur ranch riding.

Stetson won with all-time leading Ranching Heritage program earner BOXO Heavens Blue, and then was fourth with his young BOXO Heavens Heels and fifth with BOXO Chicas Merada.

BOXO Heavens Blue, who earlier in the day won the amateur working ranch horse, earned $378 for his ranch riding run.

Bryan Lee was second on Diamonds At Sunrise, earning $315, and third aboard Snip O Sunrise Lobo, earning $252. 

Youth Ranch Riding
A New Mexico-bred, ridden by a Wyoming resident, won their class in Montana – that being Border Patroller and Kristin Bullard, who won the youth ranch riding.

Border Patroller is from the breeding program of Carl and Donnette Kent’s San Jon Ranch. Kristen is based in Casper, Wyoming, and acquired the gelding in 2015.

The 9-year-old gelding is by Red Spotted Pup and out of the Red Mark Blanton mare Red Chili Mark. This breeding program has produced performers such as Slipknott ($5,115) and Big Bravo ($920). Their daughter, Holly Gundlach, is also based in Casper and has shown a number of the ranch’s horses and was the cowboy reserve world champion at the 2017 VRH World Championships aboard Gimmie A Gun. 

Randi Jo Klind was second aboard Diamonds Miss 049.

Barrel Racing
Cassie De Yong won the barrel racing aboard her own TS Chilli Pepper, earning $336.45.

The Helena, Montana, resident owns the 14-year-old gelding, who was bred by Una Crowley-Ford of Chinook, Montana. He is by PC Mr Sun Peppy and out of the Dash Ta Fame mare Crackin Rosie.

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.