From bronc to Breyer model, this lil’ buckskin’s done it all.

By Tanya Randall, originally published in the October 2007 issue of BHN

In 1991, Peyton Raney traded a horse for a little buckskin gelding, registered as Nate Shilabar, who had previously been run through the Cleburne, Texas, livestock auction. She was hoping the little gelding would make her a nice rope horse.

Little did she know that the little bronc she dubbed “Hotshot” would one day become one of the greatest barrel horses in the history of the sport. With help from the likes of Ed Wright and the late Bob Ruffin, Raney turned her high school breakaway horse into a dream-making barrel horse.

After dominating the north central Texas barrel racing circuit, Raney jumped out and bought her Women’s Professional Rodeo Association card in 1997. She entered 91 rodeos and placed at 50. Reminiscent of his ornery nature that found him in the Cleburne sale in the first place, Hotshot bucked Raney off a couple of times during the season, forcing her to turn out of a few rodeos.

Hotshot carried Raney to the 1997 WPRA Resistol Rookie-of-the-Year title, and the two finished the year sixth in the world standings with $60,782.

In 1998, they were off to a great start, winning the San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo. Unfortunately, Hotshot pulled his anterior cruciate ligament in his right hind leg and was out for most of the year.

Raney decided to take another track in 1999. Rather than hauling the wheels off her horse and taking a chance on bad rodeo ground, she got choosey. That resulted in $30,343 in Equi-Stat earnings and $20,974 in rodeo earnings for a total of $51,317. She earned nearly as much as her rookie year, but didn’t travel across the country to do it.

Hotshot’s style and 14.2-hand size was catching the eyes of numerous parents of aspiring barrel racers. Whitney Wells was the first youth rider to take a crack at Hotshot. She had the fastest time of the 2000 Josey Jr. World, but hit a barrel in the finals to win the event.

Later that year, when Raney missed the check-in for the Sweepstakes at the World Futurity, she decided not to waste the trip and offered Hotshot to Tanya Steinhoff, who was running in the youth. The 9-year-old from Vinita, Okla., won the qualifying round, but hit two barrels to win the event.

"Hotshot" Nate Shilabar's statistics graphic

The following year, Raney continued to let Steinhoff run Hotshot at the larger events. Steinhoff and Hotshot picked up their first NBHA Youth World Championship. Although fallen barrels kept them out of the final standings at the NBHA Open Finals, Steinhoff and Hotshot put the barrel racing community on notice when they won the entire first division of the second round.

Knowing how Hotshot likes the smaller setups and seeing an opportunity too profitable to pass up, Raney loaned Hotshot to fellow professional barrel racer Janet Stover. With her good horse, Gotewin Bo, injured, Stover was in desperate need of a horse. After running Hotshot at four regular season rodeos, picking up $6,000 in the process, Stover headed to Las Vegas.

Stover and Hotshot won four rounds and set an NFR single event earnings record of $126,934. While Stover left Vegas with the 2001 World Championship, Hotshot headed for his new home in Vinita.

Garry and Debbie Steinhoff had long wanted to purchase Hotshot for their three girls – Tanya, Tyrney and Taylor. The $85,000 price tag was steep, but no amount of money could buy the gelding now.

With Tanya aboard Hotshot, the pair earned titles from coast to coast. Some of their many wins include a 2002 NBHA World Championship, a 2002 NBHA Youth World Championship, a 2002 American West Finals Championship, a 2002 Josey Jr. World Championship, and 2002 Mega 4D Championship, as well as numerous other NBHA and event titles.

The duo started out well in 2003 and had amassed more than $19,000 before trouble struck. Hotshot was placing, not winning. Something was definitely wrong. Hotshot was diagnosed with a partial suspensory ligament tear in his left hind leg.

When the Steinhoff’s tried to bring him back in August of 2003, he bucked for most of his run at the Oklahoma City Summer Shootout. The Steinhoff’s decided he needed more time.

A year later, Tanya once again ran Hotshot at the Shootout, but the decision was made to hand the reins over to Tyrney, who was smaller and lighter.

Hotshot’s victories with Tyrney include a 2004 NBHA World Championship, the 2005 Josey Jr. World Championship, a 2006 NBHA Youth World Championship, and a 2006 Mega Championship among others.

In 2006, youngest daughter Taylor experienced the thrill of earning checks aboard Hotshot. However, Tyrney remains his current rider.

Hotshot’s success has transcended the barrel racing world. In 2007, Hotshot was honored with a Breyer model horse in his image.

Today, the buckskin wonder continues to win and draw checks against barrel racing’s best, having recently won the Mega for the third time. As far as retirement goes, the Steinhoffs say Hotshot will let them know when he’s ready.


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