PeelBack

Admiration for the gelding Hesa Classy Osage gave birth to the Mulberry Canyon Moon phenomenon.


He runs like his mother.”

Many who have watched MCM Imasharpguy (A Sharp Frenchman x Mulberry Canyon Moon x Marthas Six Moons) run with Stevi Hillman throughout the 2017 rodeo season have uttered those words. With each run “Sharpie” makes, his style looks more and more like the great Mulberry Canyon Moon, one of the decade’s greatest horses—even without the majority of her professional rodeo earnings having been recorded.

Yet for a select few, watching those runs is like being caught in a time warp, back to the early 1990s, when a young teenager named Angie Meadors took over the reins of Hesa Classy Osage from the late master Larry Stevens. The Osage Streaker gelding won the Barrel Futurities of America World Championship Derby before taking Meadors to three National Finals Rodeos.

Few horses were to be had by the Thoroughbred stallion Osage Streaker. So, Suzanne Moseley jumped on it when she had the chance to buy one of his daughters, because she so admired Meadors’ horse “Streaker.” Although the pair didn’t quite mesh, even on the grainy old videos De Streaker’s wicked style is evident—one she passed on to her daughter “Mulberry” and then on to her grandson Sharpie.

Ironically, Streaker’s influence on the legacy of Mulberry Canyon Moon didn’t end with Mulberry’s dam, but continued throughout her career. It was admiration for the gelding’s style and talent that connected the dots along Mulberry’s path to greatness and beyond.

The Classy One

Angie Meadors first paired with Streaker in 1990. She went to Larry Stevens’ place to try the gelding, who belonged to Misty Gentry at the time.

“I had tried a couple of them at Larry’s,” Meadors said. “I knew the second I threw a leg over him he was the one I wanted. Even at 14, I knew there was something special about him.”

Meadors qualified for her first NFR that year on Streaker but didn’t get to run him at the Thomas & Mack.

“In 1990, I was second or third in the world going into the Finals,” Meadors said. “Back then the rodeos ended in November, not October like they do now. We were at Walla Walla, and I guess he stepped on a rock and fractured his coffin bone. I didn’t get to run him at the 1990 NFR. I ended up borrowing a horse, but he’s the one that got me there.”

Meadors qualified for the NFR again in 1991 with Streaker and won several go-rounds—three in 1991 alone—on the short course in Las Vegas. She later added his former barn buddy Flaming Mite (“Dunny”) to her string as well. With the tandem, she qualified for her third NFR in 1993.

Streaker, who was out of Lee’s Little Annie by Chicada Diva, was a ratey runner but wasn’t a barrel hitter.

“I can remember watching the NFR tapes, thinking I looked like a butterfly up there,” Meadors said with a laugh. “When you’re a kid, you just kick them as hard as you can to get them up into the turn. He was a ratey horse, but I didn’t hit a lot of barrels on him. He was pretty honest.”

Meadors says Streaker made her in so many ways, through his talent and the people he brought into her life.

“I credit that horse for teaching me how to win and how to be a winner out here on the road,” Meadors said. “I hauled with Charmayne (James), and I have the coolest picture of him and Scamper in the trailer together. We went into the 1990 NFR No. 1 and No. 2, but Streaker got hurt and I didn’t get to run him and I ended up fourth that year.”

Meadors is especially thankful for Streaker introducing her to Stevens.

“He was just an awesome horse. He won first or second at some of the biggest rodeos. He was second at Calgary one year. I didn’t have to run a lot, but he was the one I brought out when I needed to win,” Meadors said. “It was pretty amazing all that horse brought into my life. I never would have met Larry Stevens. I never would have made it without the help of Larry Stevens, teaching me how to take care of a horse and ride like that. Larry had probably forgotten more than some people will ever know about horses. He was a great trainer. I credit that horse for all that; he had a huge part in making my career.”

Mulberry Canyon Moon
Mulberry Canyon Moon established herself not only as a standout performer with more than $335,000 in Equi-Stat recorded earnings, but also as a leading dam. Photo courtesy Bendi Dunn

De Streaker

A true student of the game, Suzanne Moseley has bought and sold many talented horses that have gone on to glory in the barrel racing arena. When Moseley purchased De Streaker, she was hoping for a performer, not necessarily the linchpin in a dynasty of great barrel horses.

“I bought her because Angie was winning on Hesa Classy Osage,” Mosely said. She purchased 3-year-old “Crystal” in December 1989 from Harold and Ruth Swain, who had owned and sent Streaker to Stevens to train and ride.

Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be the exceptional pairing that Meadors and Streaker were. “I still have scars on my legs from running that mare,” Moseley said with a laugh. “I couldn’t get her around the barrels, but when I did she worked OK.”

Moseley suspects that had normal maintenance—such as hock injections—been as commonplace back then as it is now, she probably would have had an easier time making clean runs on Crystal.

“She was a very talented mare, and I had high hopes for her,” Moseley said. “Looking back, in the early 1990s injections weren’t as common as they are now, and I think that really would have helped her. She was always a gritty, tough mare.”

Moseley ended up selling Crystal to Pam Gerhart as a 5-year-old. Gerhart, who grew up in northern New Jersey, moved to Stephenville, Texas, to attend Tarleton State University.

“I grew up running barrels all up and down the East Coast, and I decided I wanted to go to a rodeo school,” Gerhart said. “I loved it there.”

While in Stephenville, Gerhart met Moseley, as they kept their horses at the same place.

“I wound up buying Crystal from Suzanne,” Gerhart said. “I’m a mare person, and [Crystal] was a cool mare. I did rodeo on her in college. I did fair— not terrible, not awesome. We were plagued with injuries here and there.”

About a month after purchasing Crystal, Gerhart ran her at the Old Fort Days Super Derby that Moseley already paid the mare into—one of Gerhart’s fondest memories of running Crystal.

“I had a great time with her,” Gerhart said. “She was very gritty. I definitely know where Mulberry gets it from. She wasn’t the most personable mare, but I got along with her well. Not everybody did; she was a tough mare.”

A Legacy Begins

After Gerhart married a cutting horse trainer, she focused her time on that discipline rather than barrel racing. She tried to sell Crystal, but ended up breeding her instead.

Gerhart raised three foals by cowbred stallions out of Crystal before she saved up to breed to Frenchmans Guy.

“I couldn’t afford a breeding like that, and I saved and saved,” Gerhart said with a laugh.

The resulting foal was the stallion YQH Frenchmans Fly, who earned his open performance Register of Merit in barrel racing. Although YQH Frenchmans Fly doesn’t have an EquiStat record as a performer, he is listed as a sire of barrel racing money earners.

In the meanwhile, Gerhart moved to West Virginia and left Crystal with her sister. During that time, they started working on getting her in foal to leading barrel horse sire Marthas Six Moons. The big red son of Six Fols and out of Lady Bug’s Martha by Lady Bug’s Moon was already nearing the end of his fertility, and Mulberry Canyon Moon was from his second-to-last crop of foals.

“It took two years to get her in foal,” Gerhart said. “The first year, we just shipped [semen] and the second year, we hauled her up to him at Belle Mere. They bred her on the farm and she got in foal.”

After Mulberry, Gerhart bred Crystal to Snorty Lena, a son of Shorty Lena and out of a Peppy San Badger mare. The stallion belonged to the ranch she and her husband lived on.

“They turned out to be really good colts,” Gerhart said. “I kept thinking I was going to keep one of them for myself. Everyone told me they weren’t going to be fast enough or they’re not going to make barrel horses. I should have listened to my gut because they did go on and make really nice horses.”

The two foals, Whippersnappersnorty and Back Forty Snorty, were both performers in their own right. Whippersnappersnorty, a gray mare with the signature De Streaker head, was a pro-rodeo money earner with Martha Reeves and currently has three foals. Her oldest foal is a 2-year-old by Confederate Bullet and two yearlings by Reeves’ stallion No Pressure On Me. Back Forty Snorty, a gelding, became a top roping horse, making the finals at the AQHA World Championship Show in the senior tie-down roping and earning World Show qualifications in heading and heeling as well.

Gerhart’s last foal out of Crystal was by Sticks An Stones. Unfortunately, the colt died from a lung infection while at his mother’s side.

“We were having trouble getting her in foal,” Gerhart said. “She had a torn cervix, so we’d get her in foal and she’d slip. I had my two little kids, and we weren’t in a position where we could do embryo transfers. It also wasn’t as common back then as it is now. So, I sold her to Danny Ray.”

Crystal went on to produce three foals via embryo transfer. The first is the Designer Red gelding I Know I Can 2, a futurity winner under the saddle of Talmadge Green and an AQHA World Championship Show barrel racing finalist and pro-rodeo money earner with P.J. Burger. Burger remembers the gelding fondly—“He had a heart of gold.”

VF Famous Streaker, a gelding by Famous Gold Coin, was winning rodeo checks summer 2017 with Tiffani Sonnier. Crystal’s last foal is VF Streakin Freddie, a son of VF Famous Freddie, that currently stands at stud at Ray’s Victory Farms in Ada, Oklahoma.

Much to Gerhart’s regret, she never found a horse similarly bred to Crystal.

“Over the years, I’ve tried to go back and find more by that stallion,” Gerhart said. “There weren’t very many of them. I kept thinking I could find a maternal sister, but there was nothing.”

Stevi Hillman and MCM Imasharpguy winning 2017 Cheyenne Frontier Days
MCM Imasharpguy, the 2017 Cheyenne Frontier Days Champion with Stevi Hillman, displays the signature style of his dam Mulberry Canyon Moon and granddam De Streaker by Osage Streaker. Photo by Ty Stockton/Bobwire-S

The Last of the Lineage

The 1974 Thoroughbred stallion Osage Streaker was a son of Thermos, a lackluster runner on the track that found his way into many Quarter Horse bloodlines as breeders tried to add extra stamina to gain the stakes distance of 440 yards. Osage Streaker ran in 12 races and lit the board on three trips with just one victory, earning under $2,000. In the breeding shed, he sired just 46 Quarter Horse foals from 1980 to 1987.

Equi-Stat, which started tracking barrel racing records in the early 1990s, only has two horses for the stallion— Meadors’ Streaker and Plain Fred, who belonged to Martha Reeves.

Although she never rodeoed on “Fred” because he didn’t eat or drink well on the road, Reeves loved the gelding.

“Fred was awesome,” Reeves said. “I got him when he was 6 and ran him until he was 20. We had to put him down at 24.”

While finding horses sired by Osage Streaker was difficult, it was nearly impossible to find something with Crystal’s maternal line. She was one of just two foals out of her dam Go Stuff Too, a AA daughter of the stakeswinning Go Man Go son Four Forty King. Crystal’s brother was listed as a stallion with the AQHA but never sired any foals, according their records.

Go Stuff Too was out of Beckham Bar, a daughter of Back Court. A son of Three Bars (TB) and out of Table Tennis, Back Court is a full brother to Rapid Volley, who produced Perks, the dam of leading sire Dash For Perks.

Beckham Bar had 14 foals and 10 went to the track, earning $60,062. Her best colt was the stakes-placed gelding Gold Stuff, who had the 300-yard track record at Trinity Meadows, the now-defunct track west of Fort Worth, Texas.

For history buffs, Beckham Bar was out of Miss McIvy, who was bred by Audie Murphy. World War II’s most decorated hero-turned-Hollywoodmovie-star owned both Miss McIvy’s sire, stakes winner Mackay Boy, and her dam Poison Ivy, a daughter of Joe Reed II.

A Boone

When longtime futurity player Michael Boone of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, was perusing ads for 2-year-olds on the Internet, he stumbled across a very intriguing horse—a gray daughter of leading sire Marthas Six Moons and out of De Streaker.

Boone loved Marthas Six Moons, having had several successful futurity horses by the stallion including 1999 Old Fort Days Futurity Champion Marthas Smoothover.

“A lot of people don’t like them, and I can understand why,” Boone told Barrel Horse News in 2008 when interviewed as 2007’s leading owner of futurity horses. “The mares are really gritty and hard to get along with, but once you get past that, I think it kind of helps them.”

The 2-year-old had toughness and grit in spades thanks to her mother, who ironically was the clincher on the deal. Just as Moseley had done when she purchased De Streaker, Boone purchased Mulberry Canyon Moon in part because she was related to Hesa Classy Osage.

“I remember how good that horse was back when Larry Stevens had it,” Boone said. “I figured between the Marthas Six Moons and Osage Streaker, I had a pretty decent shot.”

After starting Mulberry on the pattern, Boone sent the mare to Troy Crumrine in June of her third year. The team topped all the charts in 2007, winning the $100,000 LG Pro Classic Invitational, the All-American Quarter Horse Congress Sweepstakes and Run For The Bucks Open Slot Race.

Mulberry later sold to Matt and Bendi Dunn of Bismarck, Missouri, and after a successful aged-event career, embarked on two journeys to the National Finals Rodeo with a rider who could appreciate the mare’s hard, quick turns—after all, she had experienced something similar at the birth of her professional career.

Angie Meadors and Mulberry Canyon Moon
Mulberry Canyon Moon and Angie Meadors compete at the 2010 National Finals Rodeo. Photo by Kenneth Springer

A Streaker Returns

When Meadors took Streaker off the rodeo road, he ended up at the Jud Little Ranch and was ridden by Little’s daughter, Mattie.

“I won [National Barrel Horse Association] Dixie Nationals on him,” Mattie Little Jackson said. “He was a cool horse; a lot of fun.”

Streaker died and was buried at Little’s ranch in Springer, Oklahoma. He rests in Little’s cemetery of champions beside his hauling partner Flaming Mite (“Dunny”).

“I told Jud when Dunny passed, I wanted to bury them side-by-side,” Meadors said. “They’ve got headstones with their pictures on them. It’s pretty cool.”

Much like the people who admired her gelding, Meadors also tried to find her next Streaker.

“After I rode Streaker for a while I looked for that breeding, and like [Gerhart] was saying, you just couldn’t find it,” Meadors said.

Ironically, the bloodline found her when Mulberry came to her barn.

“Honestly when I first got to ride her, I didn’t put two-and-two together,” Meadors said. “I did feel some similarities. Mulberry—there is no horse in this world that can turn a barrel and leave like that horse. Streaker—I don’t even know how to describe it—you can watch the videos and just see how he could come around the barrels so fast. It was so easy for him.”

Mulberry carried Meadors to the 2010 and 2011 NFRs. Sadly, the only 2010 rodeo earnings Equi-Stat has for Mulberry are from the NFR, as it wasn’t until 2012 that money was reported for all the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuits. Meadors fondly remembers her multiple go-round wins at the NFR as some of her favorite runs, but she also takes pride in the first run Mulberry made to the left barrel first.

“The first place I took her was to [Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas],” Meadors said. “I had just switched her to the left a week or two before, and I was like ‘OK, I’m going to go try this and see if it works.’ She won it with a really fast time. That was the first time I felt like I had finally gotten her figured out.”

Now on the road with her husband, Meadors is watching the style that evolved from her beloved Streaker continue to win at the highest levels as Stevi Hillman is doing with Sharpie.

“To watch Sharpie run today, it’s just crazy,” Meadors said. “It’s amazing how those horses have that quickness in the turn and can leave so fast.”

For the Ages

As years pass, De Streaker’s name will disappear from the leading dams list to become a footnote to her daughter’s blue-hen status. Mulberry Canyon Moon, too, will disappear from the leading horses list. She’ll take her place among the industry’s dams as her offsprings’ natural-born turning style continues to fascinate just as Hesa Classy Osage did all those years ago.

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2 Comments

  1. As I was reading this article… I just knew this had to be the work of Tanya Randle; and indeed when I got to the end of the article there was Tanya’s name.
    I was enthralled with the article since I own a son of Mulberry. So much in that article that I did not know.
    I thank you greatly for all the research, clear back to Table Tennis.
    Thank you!
    Scottie

  2. Debbie Myers Reply

    Great Article Tanya!
    Loved watching Mulberry-She was one of those Great Ones❣️
    Thanks,
    Debbie Myers

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