News from the 2016 National Reined Cow Horse Association
Celebration of Champions
|The 2016 World's Greatest Horseman Champion, Clayton Edsall, riding Skeets Oak Peppy. The pair won the herd work round in the finals with a 221 on their way to the Championship.|
World's Greatest Horseman
A sold-out, standing room only crowd packed the John Justin Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, February 20 for the finals of the 2016 World's Greatest Horseman, presented by DT Horses.
The World's Greatest Horseman title, with its $25,000 paycheck, is a showcase for the elite all-around equine athlete and multi-tasking rider. Competitors are judged in four grueling events - herd work, rein work, steer-stopping, and fence work. The caliber of competition among the ten finalists is often described as unmatched anywhere in the Western performance horse industry.
The Champion, with a combined 883 score (221 herd/219 rein/218 steer/225 fence), was Clayton Edsall, Oakdale, California, riding his own gelding, Skeets Oak Peppy (Skeets Peppy x Oak Ill Be x Ill Be Smart).
Going into the fence work, Edsall and "Sly" were in third place, trailing the leaders, Todd Bergen and Smart Luck, by eight points. Working second in the draw, Edsall scored a big 225 down the fence - the second highest score of the go-round - but then had to anxiously wait to find out whether the score would endure to win the championship.
"I knew I was going to have to go with as much cow as I could handle down the fence, or else those guys were going to catch me, and you saw them - they almost did. They gave me a new cow, and the second cow worked out real well. Everybody here does such a good job. I tried to do the best I could, and let it fall where it may," Edsall said, adding that it was "pretty neat" to win on the gelding with whom he's had such a long history.
"He was one of my earlier horses to train and he's such a great athlete. I've won a lot of money on him but I haven't won any big titles on him, and I always felt like he deserved it."
Besides the $25,000 paycheck, Edsall took home a Bob's Custom Saddle, Gist buckle and CR Morrison Trophy, all sponsored by Kalpowar Quarter Horses; chaps from Joey Jemison; custom ostrich Rios of Mercedes boots; a fleece cooler from Classic Equine, a prize packet from Farnam, and product from Platinum Performance.
Edsall won the title by a point over Phillip Ralls, riding Dom Dualuise (Dual Rey x Smart Little XX x Smart Little Lena) for owner Chris Larson. It was the second consecutive year for Ralls and the gelding to be Reserve in the World's Greatest Horseman.
Bergen and Smart Luck, the overall leaders going into the final event, mounted a serious challenge and appeared on track to win the Championship, but ran into misfortune down the fence. The 2006 stallion slipped badly coming out of a turn, and by the time he regained his feet, had lost control of the cow for a disappointing 197 score. The pair finished in sixth place.
"It's a hard pill to swallow, but you know what, it happened because he's trying so hard. I can't take anything away from him. You hate for it to happen, but he's a great horse. I don't think I'll ever have another one like him," the NRCHA Two Million Dollar Rider said. "There's nothing like this event. It's the elite, it's physical, it's tough, it's hard, you name it - it's got all the ingredients. To get a horse you feel like you can be competitive with here, is a special horse."
For complete World's Greatest Horseman results, visit http://nrcha.com/shows-in-progress/.
Meredith Graber and Hickorys Chic Olena
Youth Limited World Champion
In the 10-horse Youth Limited finals, Meredith Graber, riding Hickorys Chic Olena, earned the winning scores. The team received a combined score of 433 (216 rein/217 cow). It was Graber's first NRCHA World Championship.
Graber owns Hickorys Chic Olena, a 2005 gelding by Smart Chic Olena and out of Hickorys Red Rey.
Graber was pleased with her horse's performance in both the rein work and cow work. "Our cow was great too," said Graber, "it really looked at you and sized you up."
Graber explained her cow work strategy for the finals: "Go in there and just stop on those ends and get that cow to look at me and get that head turned toward me. It wasn't really much else, it was just another cow to work."
Graber, 17, is a high school junior from southern Indiana. She plans to continue working with horses after graduating high school. She started showing in reined cow horse last year. She began her show career in ranch horse events, and wanted to step up and win money in the tough reined cow horse arena, saying her favorite part of the sport is "the adrenaline rush." She rides under the guidance of trainer Ben Bowman.
Graber thanked her parents, her trainer, and family and friends cheering her on from home.
Graber was awarded a Bob's Custom Saddle donated by Mark Rauch, a Gist trophy buckle sponsored by Smart Boons/Eric and Wendy Dunn, Rios Stock Cowboy Boots from Rios of Mercedes, a commemorative NRCHA World Finalist jacket sponsored by Holy Cow Performance Horses and Shady Lil Starlight, C.R. Morrison Bronze from Paul and Amy Bailey, Joey Jemison Spur Straps, Platinum Performance, a mug and a $50 gift certificate donated by Santa Cruz Animal Health.
The Reserve Champion of the Youth Limited division was Caleb Bailey riding Hiada Rey Cat, (TR Dual Rey x Ladys Pagan). The pair earned a combined score of 424.5, (214.5 rein/210 cow). Bailey received a Gist custom buckle, Rios Stock Cowboy Boots by Rios of Mercedes, a notebook donated by Classic Equine and a NRCHA commemorative World Finalist jacket sponsored by Holy Cow Performance Horses and Shady Lil Starlight.
Reece Rosenauer and Playin With Smoke
Youth Bridle World Champion
Reece Rosenauer was the first to go in the pen in the Youth Bridle finals. He set the pace with the high score of 433, earning a 217 in the rein work and a 216 in the cow work. Rosenauer rode Playin With Smoke, a 1998 grey gelding sired by Playgun and out of Im Thirsty Smoke.
This was a meaningful win for Rosenauer and his family. After being the reserve champion in 2014, Rosenauer won his first world championship title with one of the oldest horses out of the group of finalists - but his horse's age did nothing to slow the team down.
When talking about his win, Rosenauer said, "It feels pretty good. I was reserve last year, and I wanted it this year. I just threw him down and let him go and went for it."
Rosenauer explained that he was extremely nervous, not to be the first go but sitting in the holding pen waiting to see what everyone else scored.
"This is the first I have ever been this nervous in my life. I usually get nervous before I show but this was a bigger feeling for me."
He is a high school senior from Burleson, Texas. Rosenauer plans on attending college to pursue a degree in agriculture and to continue showing, moving up to the amateur and non pro divisions.
Rosenauer was awarded a Bob's Custom Saddle from the NRCHA, a Gist trophy buckle sponsored by Smart Boons/Eric and Wendy Dunn, Rios Stock Cowboy Boots from Rios of Mercedes, a commemorative NRCHA World Finalist jacket sponsored by Holy Cow Performance Horses and Shady Lil Starlight, C.R. Morrison Bronze from Paul and Amy Bailey, Joey Jemison Spur Straps, Platinum Performance, a mug and a $50 gift certificate donated by Santa Cruz Animal Health.
The Reserve Champion of the Youth Bridle division was Garrett Lund and Ginas Pepto (One Time Pepto x Gina Badger). Lund rode Ginas Pepto to a combined score of 431.5, (213 rein/218.5 cow). He will be taking home a Gist custom buckle sponsored by Smart Boons/Eric and Wendy Dunn, Rios of Mercedes boots, a notebook donated by Classic Equine and a commemorative NRCHA World Finalist jacket sponsored by Holy Cow Performance Horses and Shady Lil Starlight.
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