✝️ GILLS BAY BOY aka “SCAMPER”
May 1, 1977 – July 4, 2012
🏆 10x consecutive WPRA Barrel Racing World Titles (1984-1993)
🏆 5x AQHA-WPRA Horse of the Year
🏆 1996 Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee
🐴 ❤️ 7x WPRA’s Horse With the Most Heart (1986, 1988–93)
⭐ 1992 AQHA Silver Spur Award
“The gelding dominated barrel racing for a decade and without a doubt is the best known and most successful barrel horse that ever lived.” – Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
In 1989, the barrel racing horse of the year surprised no one. It was “Scamper” and Charmayne James Rodman. And they were, without a doubt, the best barrel racing duo in professional rodeo history. They also provided one of the greatest success stories of the American Quarter Horse.
Registered as Gills Bay Boy (by Gill’s Sonny Boy and out of Drapers Jay), the 1977 bay gelding was bred by Walter Draper of Wetmore, Colorado, and traced to Three Bars on his top side. The horse went through several owners (including one whom he bucked off and put in the hospital) before being purchased by Charmayne’s father for $1,100 from a feedlot cowboy in their hometown of Clayton, New Mexico. Though the bay gelding had never run a barrel pattern, Charmayne mounted her new horse and began working him on barrels. Two weeks later, they won their first barrel race at a small playday. Three years later, they won their first world championship at the NFR.
After winning that first world championship and $53,499 in 1984, records fell all over the place for Charmayne and Scamper. The pair won the world again in 1985, with $93,847 in earnings. In 1986, they posted the highest single-event season earnings ever in professional rodeo, with $151,969. Charmayne then became the first woman to wear the No. 1 at the finals in 1987, where she won her fourth world title, with season earnings of more than $120,000. In 1988, she and Scamper won the most money in professional rodeo competition that year, and with $130,540 – more than the men’s all-around world champion Dave Appleton – clinched their fifth world championship. And in 1989, after trailing going into the finals, Charmayne and Scamper won the Finals average and jumped to the lead in the world standings with $96,651 in season earnings.
“He’s still the best horse out there,” Charmayne said years later.
Charmayne and Scamper went on to win a total of 10 world barrel racing titles. He earned the Barrel Racing Horse of the Year title again in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. In 1992, Scamper was honored with the AQHA Silver Spur Award. He was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1992.
Purchased for $1,100 by owner/rider Charmayne James, “Scamper” began his record-setting career as a rookie in 1984. He took James past the $1 million earnings mark and to 10 world championships from 1984-93. Five-time AQHA/WPRA Barrel Horse of the Year, Scamper also won the prestigious 1992 AQHA Silver Spur Award reserved for Quarter Horses that bring special notice and fame to the breed.
“What a gift he was… It’s sad that he is gone but, what life he had. It’s something to be celebrated.” – Charmayne James
by Western Horse Review
The barrel horse world has lost it’s most dearest legend. The press release from Charmayne James’s website states: Gills Bay Boy, known as “Scamper,” passed away peacefully to greener pastures on the morning of July 4, 2012. Perhaps appropriately, he chose the date of a joyous holiday to leave this earth—a day of celebration fit for the life of a horse that was, in and of himself, a gift. Foaled in 1977, Scamper was one of the most iconic figures in the equine industry, dominating the barrel racing ranks from the early 1980s until his retirement in 1993. The gelded son of Gills Sonny Boy out of the mare Drapers Jay was in good health to the end, immaculately cared for by his constant companion Charmayne James.
“What a gift he was,” says James. “It’s sad that he is gone but what life he had. It’s something to be celebrated.”
Adjectives fall short to describe Scamper’s iconic career but amazing, incredible and stoic all come to mind. Scamper is easily defined by his performance record, which was perfect. Achieving 10 world championships in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, he teamed with James to earn National Finals Rodeo average titles in 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1993. The duo won an incredible ten Rodeo Houston titles and countless circuit and major rodeo championships on their way to earnings of well over $1 million.
Together Scamper and Charmayne defined an era in rodeo and their famous round-winning bridleless ride perhaps best epitomizes the relationship between horse and rider; a one-in-a-million partnership that was loyal and true to the end. Defying all odds, the unassuming bay raced his way into the hearts of millions, taking a shy ranch girl from Clayton, N.M. with him. From feedlot pony to equine legend, Scamper’s conformation, attitude and mental and physical toughness endeared him to the public. His smooth-as-glass style coupled with great speed made him a formidable horse for the competition to face.
Scamper was 35 when he was laid to rest at the ranch in Boerne, Texas. He transformed the barrel horse world and will be greatly missed. – Courtesy WesternHorseReview.com
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