By Blanche Schaefer; Photos by James Phifer of Rodeobum.com
November 4, 2017 — Perry, Gerogia — The 25th annual National Barrel Horse Association World Championship Show concluded November 4 as Rylee Elliott and Super De Shine raced to the Open 1D world title.
The duo from Williston, Florida, hit a barrel in round one. The 2013 mare by BHR Frenchies Socks and out of Kas Shes De Lucks by Super De Kas and her 17-year-old jockey found their rhythm in round two, posting a qualifying time of 15.291.
The former NBHA Youth World Champion almost turned out of NBHA’s pinnacle event after her main open horse was injured. Elliott’s decision to run “Shiney” instead paid off.
“It was very unexpected,” Elliott said. “[Shiney is] my 4-year-old futurity horse. My main horse Wee Feeling Special was out for an injury … and I wasn’t sure if I was going to go. I wasn’t expecting anything like this. I knew it was good enough that I could maybe win it, but it wasn’t good enough to be 100 percent. You just never know—they’re all such good horses, it’s just whoever gets their run that day.”
Elliott says the victory holds a special place in the win column because she raised Shiney from birth. Elliott thanked her mother and her sponsors for their support.
“She is homegrown,” Elliott said. “I used to run her mother, and I have her full brother I ran futurities on. I broke and trained her myself. She was an orphan; the mare died giving birth to her. She’s like my kid—I bottle-fed her, and she’s been 100 percent us from the ground up. Thanks to my mom, who has helped me with my horses along the way, and Oxy-Gen has been a huge part of my success. Alltech and McCauley’s Feed are big supporters.”
Christy Honsberger captured the 2D Open World Championship aboard Pursue De Kas with a 15.253, worth $4,453. The Meigs, Georgia, resident and “Taylor” ran a 15.275 to fall bottom of the 1D in round one. Their round-two 15.173 placed fifth in the 2D for $779 and qualified back to the finals. Honsberger joins her uncle, who won a title in 1993, in NBHA World Championship honors.
“I was ecstatic. I couldn’t come back and watch the end because I was so nervous,” Honsberger said. “[Taylor] has been a really good, solid horse. I wanted to just be smooth and clean and let all the rest fall into place. I thank my mom for giving him to me, my friends and family for being my biggest supporters, and my No. 1 supporter, my husband Billy—I can’t thank him enough. I praise God, because it’s all because of Him.”
In the 3D, Kalie Rutledge and First Down Concorde claimed the title in 15.756 to earn $3,742. The duo posted a middle-2D time of 15.466 in round one to qualify and hit the lucky spot in the short go to lock down the 3D world title.
“He abscessed, and I wasn’t going to run him but decided to take my chances, and someone said ‘Well you could luck out and win the 3D,’” Rutledge said with a laugh. “What are the odds of that happening. As long as he’s willing, we’re going to go on and see what we can do.”
The Warner Robbins, Georgia, barrel racer has been running at the NBHA World Championships for five years.
“It’s a good experience; I like coming here, it’s a big show and everybody is always pumped about it,” Rutledge said. “Thanks to Big Indian Feed and Tack.”
SRS Perfect Gal is only 5, but the pretty grey mare already has a world championship to her name. Hannah Rideout piloted the mare to a 16.249 in the final go-round to seal the title and take home $3,032. Rideout says she was most pleased with her horse’s consistency—a 16.357 in round one to place fifth in the 4D for $531 and a 16.434 to fall middle of the 4D in round two.
“I’m in shock still; it’s unbelievable,” Rideout said. “We didn’t have the runs I was hoping for. We’ve had some third barrel issues, but we stayed consistent all week, so I was happy with that. I’m hoping the next couple years we come up here we’ll be a little bit higher. Overall, the way she took everything I’m surprised because she’s a nervous horse in general, and she did really well so I can’t complain.”
Heidi Jo Dawson found out the day before the finals that her father, Dirk Henry Aissen, had passed away. With the urging of her family and knowing her father would have wanted her to run, she decided not to turn out of the final go-round. It seems as though divine forces had a hand in her first NBHA World Championship aboard Skips Gold Moocha. Dawson rode her mare “Xena” to a 16.78 to win the 5D world title for $2,321.
“Overwhelmed, the least to say, with everything that happened. I lost my father yesterday and my son is up in Heaven, so I dedicate the championship to them,” the Elkhorn, Wisconsin, barrel racer said. “At this point, there was nothing I could do when I got home, and I know my dad would have said, ‘You drove all this way from Wisconsin, you stay there and go for it.’ I was a state director running my state show in 2012 when I lost my son, so that was hard too, but tragedy is sometimes on your side.”
For complete results, visit nbha.com. Be sure to read our complete coverage with full interviews and contestant stories in the January 2018 issue of Barrel Horse News. Blanche Schaefer is associate editor of BHN. Email comments on this article to [email protected]