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What horses the Top 15 rode. Dedicated to the memory of Jens Fancy Rapper

This article was originally published in the March 2006 issue of BHN.

What does it take to make it to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR)? For some ladies in the Top 15, it was one hot ride. For others, it was a couple of really nice horses.

Members of the Top 15 were asked to name the horses they earned money on in order to qualify for, or rode at the 2005 WNFR. Only horses on which the Top 15 rode and won rodeo money on during the 2005 season appear in this article.

By the numbers

The Top 15 earned money on a total of 34 different horses. Of those 34, 32 were registered Quarter Horses; one, Jens Fancy Rapper, ridden by Shali Lord, is a registered Paint horse; and one, Molly Powell’s Minnie, is a grade pony (14.2 hands or less).

The overwhelming majority were geldings. Joining the 21 geldings were 10 mares and three stallions.

The average age, as of 2006; was 11. The majority of horses were between the ages of 9 and 13.

The youngest horse to earn a WNFR qualifying check was Jud Little’s · 5-year-old Flitin Firin Cash, which won a rodeo for Kassie Mowry. The youngest horse to run at the WNFR was Randy and Sue Rist’s Blazin Jetolena, 7, ridden by Melanie Southard.

The oldest horses to qualify for the WNFR were June Holeman’s AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year Sparky Impression and Southard’s Nutt It Bar. Both are 17.

Where they come from

Of the 34 horses, 20 were either raised, trained or finished by either the rider or a family member. The remaining 11 horses had training and/or success with others before finding their WNFR partner. Of the 11, the majority were purchases, while a few, namely three, were borrowed.

Two-time World Champion Kelly Kaminski raised Rockem Sockem Go (Rocky), a son of Mito Wise Wrangler. She purchased his dam, Easy Crimson, a daughter of Easy Crimson, in foal for a mere $500.

Kelly Kaminski hugging horse Rocky
Photo by Kenneth Springer

Linda Vick purchased the Sixarun gelding Running Episode (Hollywood) as a sight unseen prospect from Twila Kappele, Guthrie, Okla., because of his barn name. Vick grew up in Hollywood, Calif.

Vick also earned money on her younger Sixarun gelding, Mamas Sixarun, at a few circuit rodeos. She claimed “Morna’s Boy” from a race at Los Alamitos.

Hollywood, 10, is out of Mane Episode by Bold Episode, while Mamas Boy, 7, is out of Harrys Moma (TB), by Bold Ego.

Shali Lord bought her sensational SX Docslider (Slider) from Kirby Thiel in December 2004. Thiel, formerly of Belle Fourche, S.D., purchased Slider from Jamie Farlee, Whitewood, S.D., who had started the gelding on the pat­tern. Slider, 14, is by Doc Bruce out of Qualms Treat by Tough Nigger.

Lord also borrowed Elton and Lita Russell’s black and white stallion Jens Fancy Rapper (Hank) in May. Hank, an all-around APHA performance champion, is by Rapped With Class (PT) out of Tontos Fancy Pants (PT), by Tonto Zero Bar (OH). Trained for barrels by Gayla Schaffer, Hank won a couple of rodeos for Lord and was her main mount for the Northwest run.

Tragically, Hank broke a bone in his pastern during the Tuesday morn­ing practice at the WNFR. Lord was hoping to run Hank in two rounds as both a thank you to his owners and to rest Slider. Hank was euthanized after veterinary surgeons determined that Hank would need multiple sur­geries to be sound enough to stand at stud. He was just 10.

Denise Adams bought Fun Jet (Funny) in the spring of 1998. Although Adams doesn’t know who actually started Funny, at the time of Adams’ purchase, Marchetta Garrett, Hempstead, Texas, was running Funny for her owner Jimmy Bowen. Funny is one of five Jet Of Honor offspring to qualify for the WNFR. She is out of Fun Forever, by Mr Blue Raider, a son of NFR sire Winken Wayne.

four of the Top 15 barrel racers from 2005
Photos by Kenneth Springer

Sherry Cervi won money on three different horses in 2005. Her main mount was BC Tmman, 13, by Rebel Dasher out of Coxes Major Streak, by Streakin Six. Cervi origi­nally owned Tinman in a partnership with Ed Wright, but bought the geld­ing out right during his futurity year.

Cervi also collected checks on her family’s stallion, PC Frenchmans Hayday (Dinero ), a full-brother to Kristie Peterson’s four-time World Champion French Flash Hawk (Bozo), by Sun Frost out of Caseys Charm, by Tiny Circus. Dinero, 11, also helped several heelers qualify for the WNFR and finished third in the voting for the AQHA/PRCA Heel Horse of the Year.

Cervi also picked up a few checks on Ima Tiger Toole (Tiger), a gelding she bought from the Johnson family, Tomball, Texas, in the spring of 2004. Tiger, 8, was trained by the Johnsons and ridden by Troy Crumrine as a futurity horse. Cervi purchased the gelding, by Jody O Toole out of Miss Alleyton, by Smooth Johnny, af1 she catch-rode the gelding at the Speedhorse Gold Cup Derby.

Sheri Senor Estrada bought 1 B Kat (Ali) off the track as a year-old. Ali, 11, is by Dool Authorized out of Easy Looker, Extra Easy. Incidentally, Estrada and Ali qualified for the 2005 Finals in just 30 rodeos.

Eight years ago, Liz Pinkston found Speedy Doc Holiday (Doc) when her friend, Donna Dugosh, Jourdanton, Texas, asked her to care for her horses while she went skiing; Dugosh had Doc, who was originally trained by Jerry and Sandy Files, Carbon Hill, Ala., on consignment. Pinkston fell instantly in love with the gelding and bought him with the help of her father, Ralph Bradford.

Almost two years ago, Pinkston purchased High On Holme (Jed). Add Waddell, Ruby, S.C., had trained and campaigned the gelding for Judy Galindo, Fort Mills, S.C. Pinkston left Jed with Waddell for extra seasoning and then started running him in March 2005.

Doc, 16, is by Golden Oak Holiday out of Speedy Memo by Humbolt, while Jed, 9, is by Holme At Last out of Sissyisonahigh, by On A High.

Brittany Pozzi picked up her main mount Sixth Vision (Stitch) through a tip from her hauling partner Lara Jane Hyde’s college roommate Shy-Anne Bowen. Bowen’s grandfather, Sonny Suttle, had been training the gelding since he was 2. Pozzi picked him up in late 2003 on the eve of her first NFR qualification. Stitch, 9, is by WPRA World Champion sire Streakin Six and out of the Dash for Cash daughter, Dream N Win.

Pozzi also picked up Marvins Wonder (Potato Chip) in June 2004 from Dugan Kelly, whom she was dat­ing at the time. Potato Chip, the 2003 AQHA/PRCA Heeling Horse of the Year, was trained for roping and bar­rels by Darrel and Michelle Hicks, Stephenville, Texas. Potato Chip is by Magnolia Bar Jet, a double-bred Magnolia Bar stallion, out of Bandino Miss Misty, by Bandino Reed.

In 2005, Pozzi bought the gelding Shotgun Wrangler (Shotgun) from Rena Grissom after the Lawton Okla., rodeo in August. Shotgun, 15, is by Shoot Yeah out of Miss Thirsty Twist, by Rocket Wrangler.

Brittany also earned money with Renegade Bug (Renegade) early in the year before selling the gelding. Renegade, 10, by Coup De Kas (TB) and out of Joyous Bug, by Bugs Alive. In 75, was owned by Rex Nelson, Kinston, N.C. Add Waddell, and Alona James, Ada, Okla., rode the gelding for Nelson until he was sold in the winter of 2003 to Angela Ganter, Abilene, Texas who sold him to Pozzi in March 2004.

Talina Bird’s Maskeo Melody (Mooney) was purchased by her grandfather Jimmy Bird at the Heritage Place Sale as a yearling in 1991. Bird helped break the daughter of Moon Lark out of Maskeo Baby, by Maskeo Lad, and her grandfather trained her for barrels.

2 of the Top 15 barrel racers from the 2005 WNFR
Photo by Kenneth Springer

June Holeman purchased Sparky Impression (Sparky) from Sheryl DeGroft about five years ago. By Barnone Impression, Sparky is out of Sokota Sparky, by Sokota Babe. Holeman liked the fact that Sparky went back to Mr Bar None, because she had success with that bloodline. DeGroft was using Sparky as a breakaway horse and had started him on the barrels. With a little finishing touch from Holeman, Sparky was winning open amateur rodeos as well as making a name for himself in the WRPA.

Melanie Southard purchased Nutt It Bar (Snickers) from Angela Ganter, who had purchased the geld­ing from Cindy Stone, Weatherford, Texas. Not long after the purchase, Snickers, a gelded son of Ponti Bar out of Nuggett Bar, bv Clabber Bar, underwent hock surgery, and with a little help from the late Gail Shanahan, Southard and Snickers were on their way.

With the help of her boyfriend’s family, Southard leased Koko Lynx (Kat), 10, for three months from Faye Lynn Jessee, La Vernia, Texas. Southard later purchased the 10- year-old gelding, by Bob O Lynx out of Fast Time Vena, by Fast Time Leo.

Southard also borrowed 2003 leading futurity horse, Blazin Jetolena (Jet), from his owner and breeders, Randy and Sue Rist, Tucson, Ariz. Randy started the son of Lenas Sugar Daddy out of Blazin Jennie Jet, by Jet Of Honor, on bar­rels, while Ryan Lovendahl cam­paigned the talented young stallion in aged events. In 2004, Jet got his ini­tial pro rodeo experience in the Northwest with Katy Bremmer.

Terri Kaye Kirkland raised all of her horses. All three – Classic Ali Cat (Ali), Cashinthedeckofaces (Ace) and Be A Lil Atom Bomb (Atom)-are out of April Bee Deck, a Pals Triffic Deck mare that Kirkland bought from Jon Ottun. Ali, 12, is by Classic Sunday Punch, while Ace, 11, and Atom, 10, are by Lil Easy Cash.

Molly Powell’s family raised and trained her main mount Ima Native Shadow (Shadow), by Speedy Trap out of Native Woman, by Naturally Tops. Earlier this year when Shadow, 12, was still out with an injury, Powell bor­rowed the super pony mare “Minnie” from Kari Ann Keeton, a youth rodeo competitor from Sealy, Texas.

In June, Powell also purchased Sittin Big (Ritzy) from Nancy Miller, Comanche, Texas. Ritzy, 9, is by the Miller family’s stallion Big As I Am and out of Sittin On A Ritz, by Cut Shot (TB). In just her fifth rodeo, Ritzy came through with the second­place finish at Glens Falls, N.Y., that helped qualify for Powell for the WNFR. Ritzy also saw action in one round at the WNFR.

At the WNFR, Powell rode 2005 Resistol Rookie of the Year Chani Payne’s mare Little Bit Princess (Princess). Princess, 9, is by Super Sense Amillion and out of Little Bit Ahead, by Gone To The Man.

Kassie Mowry’s two main rodeo horses were Jud Little’s mares Shebe Firin For Cash (Shebe ), 6, and Firewaters Cash (Ce Ce), 8, both daughters of Cash Not Credit out of the Fire Water Flit mare, Moon Fire Flit. Mowry also rode Flitin Firin Cash (Gin), also by Cash Not Credit and out of the Fire Water Flit daugh­ter, Gin N Firewater.

Toward the end of the season, she was able to ride her own horse, Cashyerchexsatthebar (Bailey), at a few rodeos as well as at the WNFR. Bailey, 12, is by Harbors Super Chex out of Had A Jo Dee, by Oregon Bar. Mowry sold the gelding after the WNFR to a young cancer survivor from Minnesota.

Mowry trained all of her WNFR hors­es except Firewaters Cash, which was trained by Kim Thomas, Ardmore, Okla.

At the WNFR, she also rode former aged event standout Flicka Bullion (Flicka), by leading sire Bully Bullion out of Another Flick Bug, by Lady Bugs Moon. Originally owned and started by Lynn Hamilton, Aurora, Colo., formerly of Wooster, Ohio, Flicka, 11, was campaigned as a futurity horse by Troy Crumrine and later sold to Southern Rose Ranch, which sold her to Edwin Cameron of Canada. Little purchased Flicka in a package deal which also included Less Return, another former futurity standout.

Paula Seay tried to sell her 2004 AQHA/WPRA Horse of the Year Krimps Ready To Go (Elmer) several times when he was younger. She had taken him on a trade for another horse because she thought he had some talent. Elmer, a 9-year-old geld­ing, is by Krimps Elmer out of Go My Go, by Go Dick Go. When it came time to sell him, no one wanted to pay Seay’s asking price so she kept him.

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