Two For Two
Steinhoff and Green; Two-Time NBHA World Champions
Article and Photos by Kenneth Springer – Published in the September 2002 issue of Barrel Horse News
It’s two for two.
Newly crowned National Barrel Horse Association Youth and Teen World champions Tanya Steinhoff, Vinita, Oklahoma, and Michael T. Green, Pelzer, South Carolina, are two-time world champs. In the NBHA, repeat championships are rare, considering that of the 44 youth/teen world titles presented since 1993, only three individuals have earned more than one.
Prior to the July 29- August 3 running of the 10th annual NBHA Youth/Teen World Championships, only Bonnie Hall, Lebanon, Tennessee, held the distinction. She earned back-to-back Youth World titles in 1994 and 1995 aboard Fancy Cissadella when the Youth World was still held in conjunction with he NBHA Open World Championships in Augusta, Georgia. On Saturday night, August 3, it took Steinhoff only 14.858 second to completely duplicate Hall’s record of two consecutive World championship and Green 14.757 seconds to become a two-time World champion.
After a record-shattering 2001 NBHA Youth/Teen World Championship, the 2002 version was even better. In the Youth Division, with $6,600 in added money, 486 entries paid a $100 entry fee for an opportunity to compete for part of the $40,620 purse. In the Teen Division, with $13,400 added, 977 entries paying a $100 entry fee swelled the total purse to $81,790. Total payout, distributed in 240 checks written by NBHA National Show Manager Sherry Fulmer, amounted to $122,410.
A truly international event, the 2002 NBHA Youth/Teen World Championships, sponsored by 4 Star Trailers of Oklahoma City and the Jackson, Mississippi Convention and Visitors Bureau, drew entries from 40 states, Canada, Panama, France and Italy. The diversity was reflected in the distribution of World championships, with the eight titles going to eight different states.
Steinhoff, 12, took the Youth 1D World title back to Vinita, Oklahoma, with the 2D going to Kristie Johnson, 13, Tomball, Texas, the 3D to Paul Eaves, 12, Lonedell, Maryland, and the 4D to Brianna Donnell, 7, Rosemary, Tennessee.
The Teen 1D title, 4 Star Trailer, Tex Tax Saddle and Gist buckle went home to Pelzer, South Carolina, with Green, 15, while the 2D went to Brittany Steinhauer, 16, Folsom, Louisiana, the 3D to Sara Lamb, 17, Macy, Indiana, and the 4D to Amanda Hope, 14, Wilmington, Ohio.
“I love the Youth/Teen World Championships,” said NBHA Show Manager Sherry Fulmer. “It scares me to death to think about it, not because of the work, but the responsibility of having that many young people at an event for a week. But the reward comes in seeing the happy faces on those kids who seem to have such a good time.
“I think it was good move to add a day to our show and start it on Monday rather than Tuesday. It kept the days from being so long and it gave people an opportunity to do some things in the evening. Everyone seemed to enjoy the Monty Roberts clinic on Wednesday night; there wasn’t an empty seat in the coliseum. and, of course, the Finals are always exciting in Jackson. I love to see those kids during the opening when they give a big wave when their name is called out and the spotlight shines on them.”
Having won the 2001 NBHA Youth World title in Jackson, Steinhoff and her 15-year-old gelding Nate Shilabar (“Hot Shot”) were heavily favored to do it again. They certainly didn’t disappoint. Setting the pace in the first go-round of the Youth, Steinhoff clocked a 14.754 for first-place money of $903. Because of her fast pace, only five times shared the 1D Youth first go payoff. A letter-perfect 14.682, the fastest time of 3,166 runs, earned Steinhoff $735 for first place in the second round.
In the finals, Hot Shot rocked the first barrel, but it didn’t go over. With the other tow barrels clean, her time of 14.858 was her slowest of the week, but still held for first place and the 1D Youth World championship paycheck of $1,474.
“It was scary when I brushed that fist barrel,” said Steinhoff. “I had to play it safe for the rest of the run, because I didn’t want to hit any barrels.”
Winning the 2002 NBHA Youth World Championship is the second leg of a Triple Crown gaol Steinhoff set at the beginning of the year. Her first goal was accomplished in May when she won the Josey Jr. World in Marshall, Texas. Winning the Youth title at Jackson was No. 2. Her final goal is to win the NBHA Open World Championship in Augusta, Georgia.
“My ultimate goal is for Breyer to do a model of Hot Shot like they have Scamper,” said Steinhoff. “There is not a better hors in the world than Hot Shot. I love him and I would like the honor for him, because he is such a special horse.”
Steinhoff celebrated her 12th birthday while in Jackson and enjoyed a birthday party and two trips to the local water park. But her greatest memory was winning the Steve Truax Award for running the fastest time and the AQHA Best of America’s Horse in the 1D, because she feels both awards honor and recognize Hot Shot more than her.
“He needs all the fame and glory, not me,” said Steinhoff.
Steinhoff also spent some time meeting the contestants from Panama and Italy.
“I know they didn’t always understand me, but we had fun,” said the perky seventh-grader.
“As always, I had a lot of people helping me this week. Carl Sabin, my horseshoer, Dr. John Marcotte, the vet, Grandma Crews, Aunt Taye, Peyton Raney, Horse Pak, Ortho Equine, Double C Tack and Roy Ball, who feeds everything at home while we’re on the road. And of Course, I couldn’t do any of this without my mom, dad and sisters. My mom and I pray before every run and God is the first person I thank when I finish my run. I owe everything to Him.”
Steinhoff is one to keep setting goals. For 2003, she hopes to qualify again for the NBHA Youth World and make it three in a row.
The Horse Whisperer, Monty Roberts would give Youth 2D champions Kristie Johnson a gold star. She runs her 15-year-old mare, Little Miss Victory (“Little Count”), without using spurs or a whip. On top of that, the teenage mare runs without shoes.
Johnson planned to run her good horse, Get Swinging Lady, at Jackson until the mare was injured on July 4. A cut on her knee required 80 staples and 40 stitches and many weeks of recuperation.
“I pulled Little Count out of the nature to compete on her here,” said Johnson. “So I was extra proud of her and the way she ran. She got faster on every run she made.”
Johnson will long remember 2002 in the NBHA, since, along with her Youth World title, she earned the Cowboy NBHA National Youth 1D title in Abilene, Texas, riding a borrowed horse, JD Dunnit.
With her money won at the NBHA Youth World, Johnson plans to pay for a yearling she recently purchased at the Sam Houston Yearling Sale in Huntsville, Texas.
A year of frustration turned to fame for Youth 3D Champion Paul Eaves at Jackson, Mississippi. At one time or another, both of his barrel racing mounts have been crippled. When his good mare remained lame for over seven months, his parents, Russell and Joyce Eaves, bought Bank On Cimmeron (“Top”), the 9-year-old gelding that took him to his recent NBHA Youth World Championship.
“My parents both Top for me, because he was a finished barrel horse as well s a finished roping horse,” said Eaves. “I rope with my dad. He’s a header and I’m a heeler. I couldn’t barrel race until a few months ago, after we bought Top, so winning this competition is the highlight of my year.
“My run in the finals was good, but I came out wide on my second barrel. It slowed me down about a tenth of a second from my preliminary run, but it put me right in the money. This is my fist year in the NBHA and my first year to come to the NBHA Youth World, but I look forward to coming back.”
Brianna Donnell, the Youth 4D World Champion and her unregistered pony, Sassy, had to make up in heart what they didn’t have in size. Standing only 50 inches tall, Sassy runs the barrels as if she were 15.2 hands tall and weighed 1,200 pounds.
A three-year member of the NBHA, Donnell has competed twice at the Youth World, with the four-hour drive from her Tennessee home an easy trip. When she returns to school at the end of the month, she’ll show her second grade class at Tipton Rosemark Academy what a real World Champion barrel racer looks like.
It was a turn of fate that made Green a two-time NBHA Teen World Champion. His fist NBHA World title came in 1999 in Memphis and was well planned. He borrowed the great bay gelding, Red Man Bay, to win the 1D youth World Championship. This year, he had a last minute change of horses.
He originally planned to ride his dad’s former champion futurity horse HL Sprite. But an eye infection, that at the last inured required surgery, put Green on Proper Rebel, the 9-year-old gelding that has put Green’s uncle, Talmadge Green, among the top Open winners for 2002.
Owned by Gracie Welch, Prescott, Arizona, Proper Rebel is the product of Green’s training program, having progressed up the ranks from futurities to open competition under the careful had of Green.
Because of the last-minute surgery on HL Sprite, Green had to run Proper Rebel “cold turkey” at Jackson. The pair looked as if they’d been a team forever.
Green removed the burden of qualifying for the Teen finals quickly when he posted a 15.193 to place eighth in the first go-round. Upon the recommendation of his uncle, Talmadge, Michael T. elected to ave his horse and not run in the second go.
“I know Rebel pretty well,” Talmadge said. “Michael T. could have run him in the second go, but I told him that Rebel usually came back stronger on his second run and that it could be the run that wins the second go, or wait and win the whole thing. I told him if it were me I wouldn’t run him until the finals. I think he made the right choice.”
A quick study in barrel racing, Green realized that Proper Rebel required less handling in the turns and needed fewer cures to do his job than some barrel horses he’d ridden. A lesson well learned, he posted a 14.757 in the Teen finals to win the World Championship and a $2,731 paycheck.
A 10th-grader at Loren High in Pendleton, South Carolina, Green enjoys playing football, where his size turns from disadvantage in barrel racing to advantage on the playing field.
“I felt like I was gonna have a good run in the finals.” Green said. “It was kinda weird. And everything happened so fast I don’t remember much about the run except that it was fast and i was in and out before I knew it.”
It was like history repeating itself when Brittany Steinhauer earned the NBHA Teen 2D World Championship riding the sorrel gelding, Reds Go Go Too. The stout gelding, now 14, started out under the saddle of famed futurity trainer and champion Kim Landry, Starke, Florida. It was in 1993 that he took her to the first of three Old Fort Days Futurity Championships when he was only 4. The win was worth $61,044.
A decade later, Reds Go Go Too is still giving it all he has to win championships.
“He gives everything he has every time he runs,” Steinhauer said. “This was my second Youth World show and it’s great. I love the week of being with everyone. It was exciting and fun.”
A ninth-grader at Covington High School, Steinhauer enjoys basketball, baseball and snow skiing when not riding her horses. She started running barrels when, one day, her sister Heather made her make a run.
“I loved it and I want to always barrel race,” said Steinhauer who had never won a saddle before Jackson.
Sara Lamb was all smiles when her 12-year-old mare Smilin Gal earned her the 2002 NBHA 3D Teen World championship.
“My first barrel was awesome in the Finals,” said Lamb. “She always runs wide on the second and third. I was very glad they stayed standing.”
Smiling Gal was purchased by Lamb’s mom, Reba Mongosa, with some problems. After turning her out for almost two years and raising some babies, Smilin Gal was started back this year.
“We are not asking her to run yet, just to stay calm and do it easy,” said Lamb. “That’s pretty much what she did at Jackson.”
Amanda Hope, Teen 4D World Champion, was listening attentively when Monty Roberts spoke on Wednesday night. She chose to throw her whip away after listening to his advice and it worked.
“I didn’t qualify on my first run,” Hope said. “I didn’t use a whip in the second go or the finals and won the 4D on my last two runs, which paid me $2,045. I have to say thanks Monty Roberts.”
Hope has owned her world champion barrel horse, Willie B Money, since he was 5. He’s now 8 and ready to take her into her first year of high school competition, as she entered high school as a freshman this fall.
“Willie was raised by John Spencer and is out of his mare named Bar Honey Money and sired by my dad’s stallion,” she said. “We bought him when he was 3 and it took me about a year and a half to train him on barrels.”