In a classic example of a come-from-behind finish, Shawn Hays and Shine Smartly, owned by Greeman/Hays, won the inaugural Holy Cow Performance Horses $50,000 Added Open Bridle Spectacular, featuring the CD Survivor Memorial Trophy, at the 2010 National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby in Paso Robles, California.
The win netted a check for $30,100, a beautiful custom made Gist gold and Silver buckle sponsored by Newt White of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a CR Morrison trophy. Hays and Shine Smartly's names will also be inscribed on the CD Survivor Trophy, a ¼ replica of Doug Israelsen's famous bronze, Great Western Tradition, which will reside at Holy Cow Performance Horses.
"Thank you to Holy Cow Performance Horses for sponsoring this great event," noted Hays after the awards ceremony. Hays and Shine Smartly, nicknamed Flower, began the week with a 212 in the herd work. "Thank you to my herd help - TJ Good, Jon Roeser, Robbie Boyce, and Bill Cowan. We finished on a good cow but it was a soft run and I had been hoping to be a little higher, but I knew she would be good in the reining. I just wanted to stay in the ball-game with the cutting," he said.
The reining resulted in a 218. Going into his cow work, Hays knew that Jon Roeser was holding the lead with a 655.5 composite, and he'd need a big score to win. "I knew it had to be really big. I wanted to stay on the end long enough to take some air out of the cow - and it was a tricky cow to read. I had a hard time getting him set up and I thought I messed a good cow up," he admitted. But the cow still had plenty to give, and the judges awarded a 228 for a 658 composite. "It was a great cow and was all I could ask for. That's how you mark big scores - with a great cow and a great horse."
The Holy Cow Performance Horses Open Bridle Spectacular is the first major event for Flower since she placed Reserve at the 2007 NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman with Hays at the reins. "She's been turned out in the broodmare pasture. She lost the foal she was carrying late in the summer, and we didn't breed her back." He added, "I got her up in the first of February. Don Murphy helped me get her ready for this event, so thank you Don."
But a possible injury almost stymied the plans to show in Paso. After a work the mare came up lame, and had popped a splint - but one morning, the injury looked worse. "We'd been taking care of it and one morning it looked like she'd bowed a tendon. I called the NRCHA Office and asked about scratching in case it was," he said. "But it went down and Dr. Joe Carter told me it was probably not a bowed tendon and she'd be ok. I thank the Lord for blessing me, and my wife for working her tail off keeping her sound."
Hays had planned to use the same bridle that he and Flower had competed with at the World's Greatest Horseman three years ago, but thankfully his wife, Tammy Jo, had decided to have it checked. Upon the inspection just minutes before he was set to compete in the herd work, the bit was deemed illegal. "Bill Cowan was standing there so I yanked off his bridle to use." Hays laughed, adding, "It was actually Shadd Parkinson's bit, and now he's telling us that he deserves a lot of money since that bit won the Open Bridle Spectacular and the Non Pro Bridle Spectacular."
While Hays would like to qualify Shine Smartly, by Shining Spark out of Smartly Dressed, for the AQHA World Championship Show, he did note that she would definitely be turned out as a broodmare again in 2011.
Jon Roeser and Mister Smart Remedy, owned by Larry and Sharon Rose, won the Reserve Championship with a 655.5, collecting $23,650. Mister Smart Remedy is by Mister Dual Pep and out of Ima Smart Remedy.
The Bridle Spectaculars held at NRCHA Produced Events were created to celebrate and reward the finished bridle horses that represent the "ultimate" reined cow horses trained in the vaquero tradition. The bridle stage follows the snaffle bit, hackamore, and two-rein training and represents years of careful practice and work.
The $50,000 Added Holy Cow Performance Horses Open Bridle Spectacular is the largest NRCHA produced bridle spectacular.
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.