PRCA/WPRA NEWS & REIGNING WORLD CHAMPIONS
PRO RODEO "HORSES OF THE YEAR" - (provided courtesy of the AQHA)
The AQHA & PRCA/WPRA Horse of the Year award is voted on annually by the top 30 contestants in each event.
PRO RODEO "HORSE NEWS" ARCHIVES
[VIDEO] ~TREVOR BRAZIL'S TEAM OF HORSES~ (Courtesy of Spin to Win Rodeo Magazine)
Powder River’s great bareback horse Skoal’s Frontier passes away at 29
Skoal’s Frontier – also known as Gold Coast Skoal – passed away at the Powder River Ranch in Riverton, Wyo., on Jan. 14. Frontier was 29 years old and died of an apparent heart attack. Frontier and three-time PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year Khadafy attended their first pro rodeo in Belle Fourche, S.D. in 1989, were lifelong friends and retired at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo together in 2004. Khadafy was standing over his friend in the pasture when he was found. Frontier was buried in the Bucking Horse Cemetery on the ranch. Frontier was raised on the Benny Binion Ranch in Montana and was purchased at the NFR Bucking Horse Sale – now known as Benny Binion’s World Famous Bucking Horse and Bull Sale – in 1988 for $675. At the time, he had a very large growth on his foot and everyone was afraid he would be lame and not be able to buck. Hank Franzen felt the horse showed a great deal of promise, even though he did not buck well that day, so he bought him and took him home. Once there, Franzen removed the growth and turned him out to heal. The rest is history. Frontier received more than $15,000 in Copenhagen Skoal Bonus money during his career and was one of the most dreaded bareback horses in the PRCA. Frontier bucked 16 years in the PRCA, went to the Wrangler NFR 13 times and each time was in the “eliminator pen,” with the toughest horses to ride in the business. Frontier was unique in that he bucked with bell boots on his front feet. Early in his career (1991), Frontier acted like he wanted to quit bucking and, in observing this, Franzen realized he was over-reaching when he bucked and was injuring his front leg. From then on, Frontier wore overreach boots every time he bucked. Before every performance, Franzen would walk up to the kind bucking horse with no halter and place the bell boots on him. After he bucked, Frontier would let Franzen walk up again and remove the protective boots. Frontier was still at the top of his game when he was retired at 21 years old. He had been marked 24 (out of a possible 25) points three times that year and was also named the top Mountain States Bareback Horse of the Year. In 1991, Frontier was sponsored by Michael Gaughan and his name was changed for a few years to Gold Coast Skoal. 1991 – Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse of the Year 1991 – Dodge National Circuit Finals Top Bareback Horse 1990, 94 and 2000 – Third place Dodge National Circuit Finals Top Bareback Horse 2002, 2003, 2004 – Mountain States Circuit Top Bareback Horse of the Year 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997 – Reserve Mountain States Circuit Top Bareback Horse 1992, 1993, 1996 – Third place Mountain States Circuit Top Bareback Horse 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998 – Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo Top Bareback Horse
Two top bulldogging horses are lost
In a bizarre and tragic coincidence, two of the top steer wrestling horses in the sport died within hours of each other on Jan. 5. Bailey Tokum “Pump Jack,” who finished second in the AQHA/PRCA Steer Wrestling Horse of the year balloting in 2010 and took Dean Gorsuch to his second world championship that year, suffered a shattered pastern bone during a practice session in Gering, Neb., and had to be euthanized. He was 15. Shawn Greenfield’s Mister, 17, died from the effects of salmonella poisoning in Decatur, Texas. Gorsuch was running his fourth steer of an afternoon practice when he “heard a pop … a real loud ‘pow.’ I knew it was bad right away. Pump Jack couldn’t put any weight on his foot at all. It took three of us to get him in the trailer so we could take him to the vet in Scottsbluff (Neb.).” Three surgeons were consulted before the decision was made to euthanize Pump Jack. “I would have done anything to have him back home with us, just so we could see him every day and give him a big hug,” Gorsuch said, “but he was in too much pain. There was nothing anybody could do. It was tough. I had a hard time with it. “He was more than a bulldogging horse. He was part of the family. I loved that horse. My wife and two children loved him. I’ll never find another like him.” Mister was staying at fellow steer wrestler Todd Suhn’s place in Decatur when he got sick on Jan. 2 and went into steep decline before dying on Jan. 5. “Dr. Josh Harvey did everything he could to save him,” Greenfield said, “but nothing worked.” Although he had only purchased Mister from Ron Schenk last March, Greenfield had a long history dating back to 2005 when he qualified for the Wrangler NFR on the horse, and had great admiration for his skills. “He was just a winner,” Greenfield said. “I’d like to know what my winning percentage was on that horse. It seemed like I won a check just about every time I rode him. He will go down as one of the great ones.” 1-9-12
Lee’s "Pokey" unlikely AQHA/PRCA Horse of the Year
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Steer roper Cody Lee bought Senior Sonita “Pokey” about 3½ years ago figuring that he could be a useful practice horse. There was no way he could have known that Pokey, who had never been used in a rodeo arena, was a natural and would quickly became a rock-solid No. 1 mount and the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association/PRCA Steer Roping Horse of the Year. In 2011, Lee has ridden Pokey to a fantastic season, setting a career-high in earnings before the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping ($61,627 so far) thanks in part to his horse’s talent and consistency. “He’d had so many cattle roped on him and doctored outside, he just took to (steer roping),” said Lee, a five-time NFSR qualifier. “He pretty much made himself. He does his job every time. He gives 120 percent every time. It’s left up to me not to mess up.” Pokey was one of five first-time winners of the prestigious award, along with team roping horses Classic (ridden by header Keven Daniel) and Dugout (heeler Brady Minor), and barrel racing horses Sting Ray (Sherry Cervi) and Duke (Brittany Pozzi). 10/11/11 Courtesy of the PRCA
"Papa Smurf" Dies at 28
One of the most memorable Calgary Stampede bucking horses passed away early this August. Papa Smurf, age 28, was one of the most magnificent and important rodeo athletes in Stampede history. This storied Stampede bucking horse retired in 2005 and was enjoying life watching over the younger Stampede horses on summer pasture. “Papa Smurf was a great rodeo athlete,” says Rod Hay, champion saddle bronc rider. “He was an honest bucking horse and tried his hardest every time he stepped out of the chute. From the time I started riding until he retired, he was the most coveted draw of his era.”
The Calgary Stampede purchased Papa Smurf in 1986 for the hefty sum of $375. The chestnut gelding rose to prominence early winning 1988 CFR and 1989 Canadian saddle bronc titles. Papa Smurf continued his superstar performances with 74 first place rides between 1988 and 2005. Throughout his lifetime, more than $466,000 was won with Papa Smurf. In addition to his winning rides, Papa Smurf had a personality that made everyone smile. His bucking style was distinct and classic, and his strut out of the arena always said “watch me.” “Papa Smurf had a special place in many cowboys’ hearts, including mine,” adds Hay. “At the age of 28, he had a great career and a long good life. He will be missed by many.” Papa Smurf was a favourite Stampede bucking horse who will be remembered by many cowboys and fans alike. He was laid to rest in the pasture where he passed. - The Canadian Press
Big Tex switches events, still produces winning ride at Rio Rancho, N.M.
1/31/11 RIO RANCHO, N.M. – When saddle bronc rider Alex Wright saw his draw for the New Mexico Stampede, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. “I saw ‘Big Tex,’ and I didn’t make the connection at first,” Wright said. “I asked around if anybody knew about this horse and I was told that, yeah, ‘Big Tex was the bareback horse of the year in 2010,’ and I was going to be the first guy to ride him with a saddle.” Wright had to widen out his list of usual sources to get a scouting report, going to bareback riders Kaycee Feild and Tilden Hooper, who rode Big Tex for a world record-tying score of 94 points last year in Silver City, N.M. Although “they weren’t very happy” that Scotty Lovelace of Classic Pro Rodeo had taken Big Tex out of the bareback pen, they willingly passed along all the intel they had about the gelding’s tendencies. “The main thing was figuring out how much rein to give him,” Wright said, “but it all worked out great. He stayed underneath himself, didn’t move much, and bucked high. I was really glad to have him.” The 89 points he was awarded by the judges was enough to hold off Bradley Harter for the win by one point and was Wright’s career best in a PRCA rodeo. Lovelace was just as happy as Wright with the outcome. He’d been thinking about trying Big Tex as a saddle bronc horse for a while and was so encouraged by what he saw that he is planning to saddle him again later in the season. For next week’s San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, Big Tex will return to bareback riding competition. “There were a couple of things involved with this change,” Lovelace said. “For one, I think it’s best for some horses to go back and forth between the events, so they stay fresh in their main event. Besides, I had noticed he was starting to move a little bit when he bucks, and I was hoping the change of events might cure that. “One day – not right now – I think he is going to be a saddle bronc horse full time. I’m not talking about now, because he is the bareback horse of the year, but one day. The thing is, we are kind of loaded with good bareback horses with Fancy Free, Scarlet’s Web, Wise Guy and Good Time Charlie. All of them are 10th-round NFR horses, and we’d like to balance things a little bit with the saddle bronc horses. I don’t know what it is: We just seem to find and raise good bareback horses.” Lovelace would get no argument from the bareback riders at the New Mexico Stampede. Seven of them had scores of 85 or better on Classic Pro Rodeo stock, led by Jessy Davis, who won with an 89-point ride on Scarlet’s Web. Lovelace even moved one of his top saddle bronc horses, Lori Darlin (Cody DeMoss was 90 points on her in Shreveport, La.), into the bareback pen. “Lori Darlin did great,” Lovelace said. “The young rider who drew her didn’t fare so well.” The other champions of the New Mexico Stampede were steer wrestler Clayton Tuchscherer (4.0 seconds), team ropers Ty Blasingame/Cody Hintz (5.3 seconds), tie-down ropers Wacey Walraven and Jon Peek (8.4 seconds each) and bull rider Myron Duarte (90 points).
Champion steer wrestling horse Willy to be retired at end of year
July 13, 2010 - Greg Cassidy revealed July 11 that the family’s highly decorated steer wrestling horse, Willy, is making his last appearance at the Calgary Stampede. The 24-year-old brown gelding, who has packed bulldoggers to more than $3 million in prize money, four world championships, six Canadian titles and an Olympic gold medal, will be retired at the end of the year. Although Willy has had disappointing results at Calgary, he showed he still had his power at the start of the winter rodeos, when Curtis Cassidy won $10,000 at Denver, two-time World Champion Luke Branquinho collected $17,000 on him at San Antonio and another $12,000 at Fort Worth and Cody Cassidy captured $8,300 at San Antonio and $52,000 at Houston. “Those were the only four rodeos he went to this winter,” Greg Cassidy said. This spring, the horse experienced soreness in his hind legs and was given extra time off. He was used only once at Innisfail last month as a warm-up for Calgary. “It’s time,” Greg Cassidy said. “He’s getting to the age where we don’t want to embarrass him. We want to retire him when he’s still working well. He doesn’t owe us anything anymore.” Once he’s done at Calgary this weekend, Willy will be turned out for most of the summer. He could be available for the Justin Boots Playoffs in Puyallup, Wash., and the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha, Neb., in September. Then he’ll be rested again until the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Edmonton, Alberta, in November and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at Las Vegas in December. “We knew it was coming,” Greg Cassidy said. “He gave us three or four more years than what we ever expected. It’s the passing of an era. “We’ve got three young horses that are coming up and are working well in Deuce, Magnum and Casper. Maybe one of them will be a superstar.” Cassidy has collected DNA from Willy, and it’s stored with a firm in Texas with the hopes of someday cloning Willy. “It’s still a work in progress,” he said. “It can be done at any time. We just need $150,000 to do it.” – Courtesy of Dwayne Erickson
Four-time AQHA/PRCA Horse of the Year "Walt" dies of aneurysm
April 28, 2010 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Travis Tryan’s great head horse Precious Speck, best known as “Walt,” died April 24 of an aneurysm while warming up for morning slack at the Clovis (Calif.) Rodeo. He was 20. “They had a special bond, and even in those final moments, Walt seemed to be looking out for Travis,” said Tryan’s wife, Hillary. “Travis could have been badly injured in the fall, but Walt laid him down on the ground. “Walt was gone almost immediately after that,” Travis said. “It all just happened really fast.” Walt, who was buried under an oak tree at PRCA team roper Bert McGill’s Annadale Equine Center in nearby Sanger, Calif., had been voted the AQHA/PRCA Team Roping Heading Horse of the Year in each of the last three years and four times overall (also in 2003). He was also third in the balloting twice. He won the award a year ago despite missing nearly two months of competition while recovering from a life-threatening bout of colic. Surgeons at the Idaho Equine Hospital in Nampa, Idaho, cut out a fatty tumor the size of a grapefruit. “Walt dodged bullets a couple of times,” Hillary Tryan said. “He survived a case of ringbone about 3½ years ago and then the colic last July. He had a fighting spirit and loved what he did. He always wanted to get back in the arena.” Travis Tryan, a Montana native who currently lives in Santo, Texas, surpassed $1 million in career earnings last season, and the great majority of that was won on Walt, who Tryan once called “the greatest horse that has ever lived.” Tryan rode Walt at all nine of his appearances at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. His brother, Clay, rode Walt there once, as did Trevor Brazile. While riding Walt at the 2008 Wrangler NFR, Tryan and his partner Cory Petska tied the then-world record time of 3.5 seconds in the eighth round. Tryan’s backup horse, Gold Digger, 19, had colic surgery in December and isn’t quite ready to return to competition. Duke, a horse he bought from Speed Williams in 2009, died three weeks ago of liver failure.
-- HORSE OF THE YEAR NEWS ARCHIVES --
2012 AQHA/PRCA HORSES OF THE YEAR
BARREL RACING: Mary Walker’s Perculatin aka “LATTE”
STEER WRESTLING: Les Shepperson's horse, Dillon's Dash aka “DILLON”
CALF ROPING: Clint Cooper’s horse, Eightys Sport aka “SWEETNESS”
TR HEADING: Trevor Brazile’s horse, Lite My Dynamite aka “SIC EM”
TR HEELING: Jade Corkill’s horse, Fine Snip of Doc “CAVE MAN”
STEER ROPING: Chance Kelton’s steer roping horse, White Hot Ike aka “BULLSEYE”
2011 HORSES OF THE YEAR
------------------------------------------------ 2010 USA/CANADA HORSE OF THE YEAR NEWS ARTICLES
Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Year-End Award Winners Announced
Oct 14, 2010 - For the first time in the history of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), the Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year and Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year awards will be awarded to horses from the same herd. Curtis Cassidy’s 13-year-old gelding "Stick" has been named the Canadian Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year for 2010, while "Deuce", a 10-year-old gelding also owned by the Canadian High Point leader, was voted Canadian Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. “Yes, those are my horses,” Cassidy beamed with pride. “Any time you have a horse that’s voted horse of the year, it’s prestigious and nice,” he added with a smile. “I think part of the reason they won is I do mount quite a few guys on Deuce and on Stick, and the guys, when they vote, kind of use that as a judgment at the end of the year,” he noted. “They both had lots of runs, went to lots of rodeos on both sides of the border. I was just glad one of them won, and then when they both won it was really good to hear,” he grinned. Other winners of the 2010 Timed Event Horse of the Year awards include Rana Koopmans’ barrel horse "Doc", who was voted Ladies Barrel Racing Horse with the Most Heart, "Shadow", owned by Dale Skocdopole, as the Team Roping Heading Horse of the Year, and "Ice", owned by Scott Auclair, as the Team Roping Heeling Horse of the Year.
AQHA/PRCA Horse of the Year selections all first-timers
Oct. 5, 2010 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – There will be an all new class of superstar horses on display at the Dec. 2-11 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, including one named "Vegas". His full, registered name with the American Quarter Horse Association name is Ra Sonoita Silver, but owner Turtle Powell calls him Vegas. This seems fitting enough, given that Powell splurged four years ago – paying Terry Thompson $25,000 – to get a team roping heading horse he believed could give him a chance at a gold buckle in that Nevada city. Vegas is the 2010 AQHA/PRCA Team Roping Heading Horse of the Year – his first such award – and Powell arrives at the Wrangler NFR in third place in the world standings. "Without him, I would be struggling," Powell told the ProRodeo Sports News. "I would be in the bottom half, 20 to 25. When I didn't have him, it was very hard for me to make money. Probably 75 percent of it is him. You have to have a really good horse. He's awesome. I wouldn't be where I am without him." Travis Tryan's Precious Speck "Walt," who won the heading horse award four times (2003, 2007-09), was voted into second place posthumously, ahead of brother Clay Tryan's Bear Cash Partner "Syndicate." Walt died April 24 of an aneurysm at the Clovis (Calif.) Rodeo. For the first time since 2003, all of the AQHA/PRCA/WPRA Horses of the Year are first-time selections, a rather notable changing of the guard. Jade Corkill's Fine Snip of Doc "Cave Man" was named the Team Roping Heeling Horse of the Year, ending a four-year reign by Baileys Copper Doc "Diesel" (2006-09), owned by fellow Nevadan Randon Adams. Diesel finished third in this year's balloting behind Travis Graves' Startime Diablo "Super Star." Dashs Dapper Star "Wick," owned by Wade Sumpter and Ken Lewis, was voted the Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, ahead of Bailey Tokum "Pump Jack" and Rocks Eye Opener "Jessie," the legendary Canadian horse owned by Lee Graves who won the award in 2007 and 2009. Eightys Sport "Sweetness" was second in the Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year balloting last year, but moved up to the top spot in 2010 by earning more than $90,000 for the cowboys who rode him, a list that includes three Wrangler NFR qualifiers: Clint Cooper, Trent Creager and Fred Whitfield. The 16-year-old gelding is owned by Karen Herbst and Spur Resources 1 in Whitesboro, Texas. Rocky Patterson will take the Steer Roping Horse of the Year, Skips Harlan Tyree "Pops," to Guthrie, Okla., next month when he attempts to repeat as world champion at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. Pops out-polled White Hot Ike "Bullseye," owned by Chance Kelton, and Tonk Champ "Champ," owned by Chris Glover. Judge Buy Cash "Jethro," owned by Frank and Lynne Mays, and ridden by Brenda Mays, is the Barrel RacingHorse of the Year.
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