For the second year in a row, Doug Williamson and Smart Miss Merada won the Open Championship at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Hackamore Classic. The Hackamore Classic is unique among the family of NRCHA Premier Limited Age Events in that it requires an entry to only be shown in the hackamore, while other events also allow for a snaffle. The challenging event celebrates the second stage of the traditional vaquero style of training cow horses.
"It's really awesome to win this event back-to-back on the same horse," said Williamson. "Her heart is as big as can be - she will dig in and get you a win."
On the first day of competition, Williamson and the Leo Merada mare, out of Uno Smart Lady, tied for the lead of the herd work with a 147. That was followed with a 144 in the rein work, and another 147 in the cow work. "She was solid the whole way through. She's such a great little mare." When comparing the 5-year-old mare's performance to last year, Williamson noted, "She's the same little winner as she was last year. She really likes to have her picture taken!"
The future looks busy for Smart Miss Merada - both Doug and his wife Carol will be showing her at the NRCHA Derby in June. "I'll show her in the Open, and Carol will show her in the Non Pro. We'll make sure she's fit as a fiddle before the show," he said.
Along with the Championship check for $14,840, Williamson collected a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Lacey Livestock, a monogrammed breast collar sponsored by Classic Equine, a full tooled hackamore from Krause Mecates, and a CR Morrison trophy.
Ken Wold won the Open Hackamore Classic Reserve title on Moody Blues Brother with a 434.5 composite. Moody Blues Brother, by Peptoboonsmal out of Lenas Lisette, is owned by Mark Nelson.
Competing in only his third big NRCHA event, Nick Dowers won not only the Intermediate and Limited Open Championship - and also the Limited Open Hackamore Horse Show class. The Dyer, Nevada, trainer piloted JP Royal Boon to a 424.5 composite.
"In the herd work we had a little trouble with the cattle we liked. The first one was one we liked and he ran so I got off of him. The second was a re-run that worked nice, and the third was another one we liked that was another runner," he said. The herd work resulted in a 138.
Things looked up in the rein work with a 141.5, and the pair finished with a 145 in the cow work. "He was just average in the rein work. He was good but it wasn't what he was capable of," Dowers admitted. "But he was great in the fence work. As soon as the cow came out he hooked up and had a great run."
Dowers, who has been starting colts for different clients and ranches for the past seven years, started showing cow horses in the last couple years, and just missed making the Limited Open finals last year at the Snaffle Bit Futurity.
"I thank Anne Reynolds and Corey Cushing for all their help. I also thank my family for being there for me," he said.
NRCHA Million Dollar Rider and 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Ted Robinson claimed the Intermediate Non Pro Reserve Championship with Whole Lota Cash. By Shining Spark out of Shesa Lota Cash, Whole Lota Cash won $3,048 for the 422 composite.
Travis Dickinson and One Fine Spark, by Light N Fine out of Spark My Fancy, won $940 for the Limited Open Reserve Championship. One Fine Spark is owned by Bill and Amelia Dickinson.
Ron Ralls won the Open Hackamore Horse Show class on Ima Smokin Mister for owners Shannon and Hershel Reid. The 292.5 total resulted in a $4,260 payday.
"I didn't get him shown in the herd work of the Hackamore Classic, so we had a bad start there. But he came back really good in the rein work, and in the fence work he was just incredible and was everywhere he needed to be," Ralls noted.
Regardless of the low herd work score, Ralls and Ima Smokin Mister, by Mister Dual Pep out of Miss Smoking Remedy, managed to also split sixth place in the Hackamore Classic, collecting an additional $4,452.
The Open Hackamore class Reserve Champion was Ron Emmons and his horse, Anuther Mister 505, by Mister Dual Pep out of Anuther Olena. Emmons and Anuther Mister 505 marked a 292, collecting $3,408.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, now in its 61st year, is the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Markel Insurance Company, Wide World of Horses, John Deere, Adequan®, Bob's Custom Saddles, Cinch, Inc., Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, MD Barns, Platinum Performance, Inc., Nutrena, Quarter Horse News, Pfizer Animal Health, Rios of Mercedes, Merial products ULCERGARD and EQUIOXX, Running W Designs, and the Silver Legacy Hotel, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today's equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.
Photo Credit: Doug Williamson Wins 2010 NRCHA Hackamore Classic Open on Smart Miss Merada. Photo by Primo.