Virgil Valdez and He Be Fierce Take Shining Lil Nic Non Pro Bridle Spectacular Championship
With a composite score of 431.5, Virgil Valdez and He Be Fierce claimed the Shining Lil Nic Non Pro Bridle Spectacular Championship of the National Reined Cow Horse Association Hackamore Classic. Held in Pueblo, Colorado, the Hackamore Classic is barely two hours from Valdez's hometown of Alamosa, Colorado. "It's cool to have this show here in Pueblo - it feels like it's just right out my backdoor, so it's really nice to win here." He added, "The weather and cattle were really good, too."
Virgil Valdez and He Be Fierce Take Shining Lil Nic Non Pro Bridle Spectacular Championship
Valdez and He Be Fierce, by Peptoboonsmal and out of Smart Starlight, began the competition on Thursday with a 142 in the herd work. "He was really good. Jay Holmes had picked me three good, fresh cows, and we got through it clean, I was really happy. We marked a 140.5 in the rein work - and just got through that," Valdez shared. The pair finished up and secured not only the Non Pro Bridle Championship, but also the Intermediate Non Pro Bridle title, with a 149 in the cow work. Valdez said, "On the cow he was just awesome - it was really good and really fun."
According to Valdez, he has several people to give credit to. "I thank Jay Holmes, Matt Koch, Darren Miller, Todd Crawford, Don Murphy, Nelle Murphy, and Zane Davis." He added, "I also thank my wife Sherri and son Josh, as well as my brother and sister-in-law Robert and Betty Lou Valdez." Valdez took home $4,384 for the wins, as well as a CR Morrison Trophy and a CR Morrison plaque.
Reserve honors in the Shining Lil Nic Non Pro Bridle Spectacular went to Valdez's sister-in-law, Betty Lou Valdez, on MH Bold Intentions. Valdez, of La Junta, Colorado, and MH Bold Intentions, by Bodee Boonsmal out of Freckles Docs Oak, had a 422.5 composite and won $2,570.
Lindsay Wadhams, of Pueblo, Colorado, and Spursuasion finished Reserve in the Intermediate Non Pro Bridle with a score of 289, pocketing $975. Spursuasion is by Ray Gay Quixote out of Mist N Smoke.
Eleise Blake and Jills A Little Blue Win NRCHA Hackamore Classic Non Pro Limited
Eleise Blake, of Whitesboro, Texas, piloted her horse Jills A Little Blue to the National Reined Cow Horse Association Hackamore Classic Non Pro Limited Championship with a 417 composite. Blake collected a check for $819, a CR Morrison Plaque, and a leather notebook from Classic Equine.
Although she has only been showing cow horses for three years, at the 2012 NRCHA Celebration of Champions, she and Jills A Little Blue, by Mecom Blue out of Jills CD, won the Non Pro Limited Championship of the Circle Y Ranch Derby, and then qualified for the World Championship Show finals in both the Non Pro Limited and $5K Non Pro Limited. Blake noted, "I give a huge thank you to Jay McLaughlin and Carol Rose. I certainly wouldn't be doing this without them. I also thank Dick Pieper for all his help."
Blake, an accountant, owns her own business called Equine Services Unlimited. Her business boasts a full service accounting staff, provides computer technical support and repair, and she also works as a business consultant.
Toni Hagen-Heath and Smokums Dream Take NRCHA Hackamore Classic Non Pro Championship
Toni Hagen-Heath and Smokums Dream won the Non Pro Hackamore at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Stakes in late March. It was only the mare's second time to show in the Hackamore, but it made Hagen-Heath's decision to enter the NRCHA's next premier event - the Hackamore Classic - easier. It proved a lucrative decision, because on Saturday, May 5, Hagen-Heath and Smokums Dream won both the Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro Hackamore Classic championships, as well as the horse show Non Pro Hackamore! All total, Hagen-Heath won $7,301, product from Santa Cruz Animal Health Biotechnologies, two leather notebooks from Classic Equine, and two CR Morrison trophies.
"I'm so excited! This was only our fourth show in the Hackamore and she was so good," Heath said of the mare, by Smokums Prize out of I Dream Olena, who was raised by her husband Dan Heath. "She worked wonderful in the herd - I had good herd help. Yesterday in the reining I was ecstatic, and today I couldn't have asked for any better. She was so on the cow - she was wonderful." Hagen-Heath thanked Jim Paul, Sr., who she had been working with, but gave the most kudos to her husband. "I definitely thank Dan. Through thick and thin he believes in me. It was really fun here though - we were all by ourselves and it was cool to see that we could do it on our own."
The La Grande, Oregon, Non Pro is now looking to the next big show. "We might go to the Derby now. It's hard to not go when this mare is working so well," she said. "But for now we're going to go home to the ranch and get back to the cattle operation. It will give her some time to get refreshed."
Anne Reynolds and Very Shiney took home $3,348 for the Non Pro Hackamore Classic Reserve Championship, and $1,063 for the Non Pro Hackamore horse show Reserve title. Very Shiney is by Very Smart Remedy out of Shirley Shine.
Garth Gardiner and Shiney Remedy were the Intermediate Non Pro Hackamore Classic Reserve Champions, winning a cool $1,674. The pair also won the Championship of the Novice Non Pro and Amateur, worth an additional $1,980. Shiney Remedy is by Very Smart Remedy out of Shiners Miss Hickory.
Zane Davis and Reymanator Claim Shining Lil Nic Open Bridle Spectacular Championship
Riding his 2009 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion Reymanator, Zane Davis claimed the Shining Lil Nic Open Bridle Spectacular Championship. The Idaho Falls, Idaho, trainer and the Dual Rey gelding, out of Savannah Hickory, took home $4,200 for the win, as well as a CR Morrison trophy.
The pair began the week with a 148 in the herd work. "He's only been in the bridle a month, and he wasn't perfect, but we managed to make it through. We had a big lead after his herd work, so we just stayed clean and were good," Davis explained.
He added, "My other Bridle horse, Bobbys Starlight, is in Texas breeding mares. Reymanator is bridle age, and we thought that this would be a good one to break him out at. I'll show him next week in the Bridle Spectacular, and then take him home and get him a little more solid. There's a very good chance that he might be my World's Greatest Horseman entry next year."
While Reymanator has made his mark in the cow horse industry, he's also going to have a dual career in youth rodeo. "My daughter is going to be a freshman in high school, so in the next year or so she's going to be competing in goat tying, breakaway roping, and pole bending on him," Davis shared. He added, "I thank Sandy Semanik, the owner. He has always been really good to me and we've been fortunate to have this horse. I also thank my wife, Holly, who is extremely supportive of me."
Ken Wold, of Wilton, California, and Shes A Catty Lady won the Shining Lil Nic Open Bridle Spectacular Reserve Championship and $3,500 with a 435.5 composite. Shes A Catty Lady, by Cowboy Cattylac out of Lady Rolena, is owned by Victor Phelps.
Garth Gardner and Shiney Remedy Win Hackamore Classic Novice Non Pro and Amateur Championships
With scores of 143 in the herd and rein work and 138 in the cow work, Garth Gardiner claimed the Novice Non Pro and Amateur Championships at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Hackamore Classic. His partner for the event was a 4-year-old mare by the name of Shiney Remedy, by Very Smart Remedy out of Shiners Miss Hickory. "She is a great mare. I believe she is a testament to two of the greatest breeding programs out there - Anne Reynold's Very Smart Remedy and Carol Rose's Shining Spark. I don't think it can get any better and I feel blessed to ride her," Gardiner said.
Gardiner and Shiney Remedy began the competition with one of the highest herd work scores marked by a Non Pro. "We were the last out and that was a bit of a concern, but my horse was really good. Todd Crawford and my help had picked good cattle. I was actually able to cut the cattle that I wanted and I stayed out of her way and let her work, so we got along really well," he said. "She was also really good in the rein work - really solid on her circles and stopped hard and turned around well."
A soft cow caused some concern, but Gardiner and Shiney Remedy prevailed. "It didn't want to go anywhere on the end and just kind of trotted around the corner. My horse did a good job of rating and we actually had a good first and second turn before the cow got numb. We struggled a little then but it turned out ok." Gardiner thanked his wife, Amanda, who he calls his biggest fan and cheerleader, as well as their children who came to the show. "They have been very tolerant of our schedule out here," he joked. "I also thank Todd and Pam Crawford. Not only are they great friends, but they help us so much with our horses. Thanks also to Don and Nelle Murphy, who always have good things to say."
When asked how he felt about Pueblo for the new home of the Hackamore Classic, Gardiner said, "The people who didn't come are missing out. The city and the State Fairgrounds have done a great job of welcoming everyone and keeping this facility neat and clean - and the weather has been wonderful! I think the move to Pueblo has been great."
Janiejill Tointon and Digger She Sparkles won the Novice Non Pro Reserve Championship and $558 with a 420.5 composite. Digger She Sparkles is by Diggers Rest out of Shiners Spumanti.
Taking Reserve honors and $983 in the Amateur division was Jessie Telford, who rode Vandas Spark. Vandas Spark is by Shining Spark out of Smart Vandalena.