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Picking a Good One: Caseys Pick

When Chad and Mindy Hubert's stallion, Cee Heart Taylor, died unexpectedly in 2015, they started looking for a stallion that would enhance the mare band they'd built up. 

After a visit to the 6666’s Ranch in Texas, they decided they liked what Sixes Pick added to his offspring, and started looking for a stud with those bloodlines. 

As it turned out, there was a palomino weanling stallion by Sixes Pick and out of See You in Vegas, less than a hundred miles from their Hereford, South Dakota ranch. 

Lis Hollman, who owns See You in Vegas, a full sister to Frenchmans Fabulous, a $2.2 million barrel sire, was raising the stallion for a gentleman in Colorado who had bought an embryo out of "Vegas."  

The Hubert's visited Hollman's ranch near Hot Springs, South Dakota, and liked the looks of the young stallion. "He was really quiet and he looked good. We wanted to think it over for a while and get him genetic tested. That came back clean. The following January we looked at him and he looked really good, and just had a real confident presence about him," said Mindy Hubert. That's when they decided to take him home. 

Hubert named the stud Caseys Pick as a tribute to his sire and his double-bred Casey's Ladylove dam. He's more affectionately known as "Pickles," which is also the barn name of his sire, Sixes Pick, the first ever AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Champion. 

A big percentage of the mare band they'd built up are daughters of Cee Heart Taylor (Tiv), and also go back to Catalena Boy, a son of Doc O’lena by Doc Bar. Doc Bar is on the pedigrees of 26 of the 35 horses that carried team ropers to the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.  

The Huberts had learned from experience that the best way to get a stallion's name in the public eye is to get good colts on the ground. They bred about 15 mares via AI to Pickles as a two-year-old, including outside mares, to get an idea of what his offspring would look like crossed on different types of bloodlines. They're expecting about 25 foals in 2019–about half from their own mares and half from outside mares, again via AI.  

"We're really excited about the foals that are out of daughters of Tiv," Hubert said.  "They're pretty-headed, with big hips and strong shoulders. His foals sold extremely well; it's an excellent return on his breeding fee."   

The foals they've halter broke are easy to work with, she added. 

Huberts sold all of his foals except one filly, Buena Pick, who they plan to promote. She is out of a daughter of Tiv, named Tivs Poco Lena, whose full siblings have earned around $10,000 in barrels and poles. 

Pickles has shown promise in the performance ring as well, qualifying for the 2018 AQHA World Versatility Ranch Horse Show in Open Ranch Trail, competing against much more seasoned horses. He was started, trained and shown by Ty Hansen, who has since started working as the head trainer for Copper Springs Ranch. The Huberts were unable to show Pickles at the World Show because it took place in the middle of a very busy breeding season. "He's already proving himself as a ranch horse. We might get him started in barrel racing as well, we'll just let him tell us what he's best at," Hubert said. 

The Huberts want to produce horses that are successful in whatever they attempt, whether the performance world or on the ranch. "Our goal with our own colts has been more about their versatility, good bone and trainability. A lot of people, including youth, have taken them on to do barrels and they really shine. That’s part of the reason we went with these bloodlines. Frenchmans Guy has sired a lot of proven barrel racers, and Sixes Pick is siring numerous Ranch Horse Champions.  A three-quarter sister to Caseys Pick, Frenchmans Pick, won over $33,000 in 2018 WPRA barrel racing." 

Huberts plan to nominate Pickles to several incentives, mostly for barrel racing, when his foals come of age. Hubert said color wasn't a consideration when they were looking for a stallion, but the palomino is a bonus. In fact, in 20 years of raising horses, they hadn’t raised one buckskin colt until this year. Out of the offspring born to Caseys Pick this year, mostly out of bay mares, half were buckskin. 

 

Whitaker makes history with rodeo’s Linderman Award

Nebraska cowboy Kyle Whitaker has done something that has never been done before. 

The Chambers, Neb. man has won ten Linderman Awards. 

The Linderman Award is a pro rodeo award given to the cowboy who wins at least $1,000 in each of three events. Of the three events, one must be a timed event (tie-down roping, steer wrestling or team roping) and one must be a roughstock event (bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, or bull riding.) 

Whitaker competes in the tie-down roping, steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding. 

He earned his first Linderman Award in 1997, when he was 21 years old, following in the footsteps of his dad, Chip, who won four Lindermans (1975, 77-79). His dad, who worked the same events as Kyle, laid the foundation for his son. "My dad taught me and took me to schools in all three of those events," Whitaker said. 

After he won the award in 1997, his goal was to win it three more times, to match his dad. After that, "it kept going from there." 

This year was the most difficult in the ten years (1997-98, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2015-2018) for Whitaker to qualify. Usually, he works to earn his $1,000 per event in the spring and early summer. This year, he didn't qualify in the saddle bronc riding till the fall.  

And this is the last year he'll try to win the award. He plans on quitting the saddle broncs. "Bulldogging is my main event," he said. "Every time I get on a bronc it's like, don't get hurt here. That's not a good idea to have in the back of your head when you're trying to make money." 

He's in his prime in the steer wrestling, he believes. "I still feel about as competitive as ever in that, and I have good horsepower. That's probably seventy-five percent of bulldogging, to have a horse you can get out (of the box) and get one caught in the right place." 

Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D., won the Linderman Award twice (2000, 2001) while competing in the steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding. 

His forte was the saddle bronc and bull riding but he had done some steer wrestling in college and enjoyed it. Those two years, he borrowed horses at rodeos, even Whitaker's a time or two, to steer wrestle.  

He had complimentary words for Whitaker. "He's a good hand and he has been forever, since I've been (rodeoing). He can do everything." 

For Bail, who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo twelve times, the Linderman Award is special. "It's probably one of my biggest wins," he said, "because you have to be able to do several events. It's pretty awesome. I feel it's like winning the world all-around" title.  

Trell Etbauer has won the Linderman four times (2008-2010, 2013) and has a strong admiration for Whitaker. "Kyle's done a heck of a job at it," the Goodwell, Okla. cowboy said. "He's a heck of a cowboy, a heck of an athlete." 

It will be a long time before someone else wins ten Linderman Awards, for several reasons. 

Etbauer points out that working three events requires a contestant to hustle to prepare and compete. "Usually, at a lot of rodeos, the steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and tie-down roping are back to back to back. So you have to get horses ready before the rodeo, have everything booted up and ready, so you can run from one event to another." 

Rodeo has grown financially as well, Whitaker said. "Now, it's to the point where the events are so competitive and the financial incentive to make the (Wrangler) National Finals Rodeo and do well there is so great, that almost everybody specializes in one event." The shrinking rural population makes a difference, too. "There are fewer people growing up on ranches now. If you grow up on a ranch, you're more likely to be able to ride a bucking horse and rope," and thus be able to work two different categories of events.  

Not only has Whitaker won the award a record ten times, but he is the only man to have won it four consecutive years. His dad, Phil Lyne, and Etbauer have won it three consecutive years.  

The Linderman Award was named after Bill Linderman, a pro rodeo cowboy who won six world championships: two in the all-around (1950, 1953), two in the saddle bronc riding (1945, 1950), and one each in the bareback riding (1943) and steer wrestling (1950). He died in a plane crash in 1965.   

The award began in 1966; there were two years (1994, 1996) that there were no qualifiers.  

A Nebraska High School Rodeo Association award has been named after Whitaker and The Fort Western store. The Fort Western Whitaker Award is given to a cowboy who has amassed a minimum of twenty points in each of three events. Like the Linderman, one event must be a timed event and one must be a roughstock event. The winner receives a trophy saddle and a $500 scholarship from the Fort Western Stores.  

 

 

 

From humble beginnings come great things: Genuinelil Moonshine

Unless a stallion owner is handed down the business, complete with three or more well-bred, well-built, well-mannered, already-advertised stallions, 10 to 20 broodmares that are the perfect fit for aforementioned stallions, a large indoor arena set up for the training discipline of choice, and alleys lined with stalls with lush, clean shavings, and a staff to feed, groom, and care for the ample herd, they likely start from humble roots. This may involve gathering up a new mare when an opportunity presents itself and often settling for a mare that is sound in structure and temperament, but perhaps has a scarred leg from her youth, as well as putting their eggs all in one basket, so to speak, by owning and breeding usually only one or two stallions. Teal Koller's breeding program fits the latter description. 

Her 2014 bay roan AQHA stallion Genuinelil Moonshine, dubbed "Huck", is the center of Teal's business and efforts, flanked by eight mares and several outside mares. While happily married and on her husband Matt's family ranch, Teal is left to her own devices more often than not while Matt, a lead forestry technician at Black Hills Fire Use Module, is gone fighting fires spring through fall. 

"Most of the fire season, not only am I a horse care taker, I'm also basically a single parent as well. Not totally, because I have support from Matt, but I bought the stud horse because in the beginning. I thought he could be an income to my family on top of riding colts." 

Originally from Utah, Teal had established herself in the area as being a fine trainer to send colts for starting or horses for finishing, but by moving to South Dakota two years ago, she put herself in a position of starting over with outside training horses, outside mares to breed to Huck, and day-working opportunities.  

"I think her horsemanship has really evolved even over the last few years," said Teal's friend and mentor Brett Sabey. "When she became a young woman, she started thinking about horsemanship and not just riding. She worked really hard at placing their feet or their body. She hasn't ever been afraid of work, but she really did hunker down." 

Last summer, she was able to finally gain some momentum, perhaps a little too much. 

"Last year, I ran myself near to death. Breeding season was way more intense than I ever imagined it would be," Teal said. "I had four outside colts all the time—three of them were roundpen colts—so from now on, I'm not taking roundpen colts." 

In addition to her seven mares eligible to breed to her stallion, Teal has a list of outside mares penciled in for Huck's 2019 breeding season, and she hopes to add collecting to the process and eventually offer frozen semen, taking the pressure off of both Teal and Huck. 

"It's really time consuming. I can't have plans, can't go anywhere, mostly because I don't know when the public is going to bring a mare in," Teal said. "You have to be available all the time. It sounds hunky dory, but it's not an easy job to do, but it doesn't last forever." 

Having an intense passion and a horse she adores helps drive Teal and keep her one-woman show rolling. Huck, a son of Utah stallion Lil Lena Moonshine, a grandson of High Brown Cat and great grandson of Smart Little Lena, is Teal's go-to ranch horse, and she has also started him on the barrel and pole patterns, used him for mounted shooting, headed out of the box, pasture roped of him, heeled on him in a branding pen, and showed him in a few casual pleasure classes. She often chooses to cross her cow-bred stallion on running-bred mares to get the ultimate versatile horse. 

"I hope to take him to a few barrel racing futurities next year, but that's not my long-term plan," Teal said. "Futurity isn't necessarily as important to me; I want something that is solid. If he isn't ready for them, I won't go." 

When she acquired her stallion in 2015, Teal was a single mom with a three-year-old daughter and Huck was a skinny yearling, recommended by Sabey, who owns Huck's sire. 

"It had always been a dream to raise babies. Brett called me one day and told me about Huck, and told me the people who raised him wanted to sell him," Teal said. "He was underweight, but I could see his frame and the eye on that horse was just unbelievable." 

Having ridden and loved two of Huck's sisters and his dad, Teal went with her gut and traded riding a few colts for the stallion. She made the decision early on, however, that if he didn't prove to possess a sound mind and excellent conformation, he would end up a gelding.  

"Really, with that stud colt, we weren't really sure if he was something she would want to keep for a stud. He was little and runty and a little underweight, but he sure had the chance to grow up and be fancy," Sabey said of Huck. "I think he dang sure lived up to her expectations." 

Luckily for Teal, he meets and beats her high standards for conformation, athleticism, and a kind heart and easy temperament and passes the same great qualities, and his color, on to his babies. 

"His babies seem to be like him, gentle, smart, willing," she said. "They retain information so well. I love him as far as brains go. He has really good feet, good bone, a giant heartgirth, and a ton of heart." Huck is a favorite mount for Teal's six-year-old daughter Isabella. 

Later the year that Teal got Huck, she also got two mares that were a good cross for Huck, a 2005 mare by the name of Im Eye Candy and a 2013 mare RGR Lucky Jewel.  

"I have run across a few trades to get to some of the mares I have now. I've found deals on well-bred horses that someone isn't getting along with for whatever reason," Teal said. "One of my good mares was my using horse, and now she's out in the broodmare pen." 

She has since expanded her band to include eight total mares over the past three years with names on their pedigress like Dash Ta Fame, Chicks Beduino, The Signature, Dash for Cash, Streaking Six, Sophisticated Cat, CD Olena, Genuine Doc, Special Effort, Colonel Freckles, Peppy San Badger, FDD Dynasty, and Corona Cartel. 

"I guess my ultimate desire is to try to produce quality horses that are good for any and every task but also easy for anyone to get along with," Teal said. "In picking the mares I own, disposition rated just as high as pedigree and conformation." 

Teal has primarily advertised her stallion and his babies on Facebook, and thus far, she has been able to sell his offspring as weanlings ranging from $2,500 to $3,500. 

Beaches and Brahmas: Luis Lahoz started team roping career in Dominican Republic

Luis Lahoz appears to be a typical professional rodeo athlete. The black glove tucked in his belt, a Fastback rope looped through his arm, and his tall Quarter Horse, carefully brushed and topped with a Stray Star custom team roping saddle give away his trade. To a stranger, the only mystery about Luis is the origin of his slight Spanish accent. "Most people just think I'm Mexican," he says. The difference between Luis and most team ropers in the Great Plains area is that he learned to ride a horse and swing a rope on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. He is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  

Luis's experience with horses begins one generation back. His father, Hector (originally from Puerto Rico), competed in polo in the United States. Hector, his wife, and baby Luis lived in Rapid City for two years while he competed.  

After an injury, Hector sought a new discipline in the equine business. Luis says, "He ended up having shoulder surgery. After that, he went back to play but it wasn't the same so he had to give it up."  

The Lahoz family moved back to the Dominican Republic and became involved in the American Quarter Horse Association. Hector adapted well to all disciplines, as he was an experienced horse trainer. "He's always been a horseman," says Luis. "He's done it all." Riding reining horses was the next step for Hector and Luis. 

Hector works for Provimi France, a Cargill company and the leader in animal nutrition in France and the Dominican Republic. Luis's mother, Lissette, works in risk analysis for the Dominican Republic national government, and regulates the import of animals and food to the country. His sister, Isabella, will graduate high school next year and plans to come to the United States to pursue a degree in business. Luis is appreciative of his parents and says, "They've made a huge impact in me. Both of them are hard workers. They pursued what they wanted so they've always been behind me. Even when I've had bad days."  

Luis was successful in the AQHA Youth Division while he was in the Dominican Republic. "We had a team that went to the AQHA Youth World Cup for two or three years. We went to places like Texas, Canada and Germany."  

The family slowly became involved in team roping. "I started roping probably seven years ago," says Luis. "We have our personal roping at our house right before Thanksgiving every year. It started as a little backyard roping for my birthday and my uncle's. It kept getting bigger and bigger. The last two years we've given out trailers and qualifications to the World Series Finals in Las Vegas."  

The Dominican Republic is 18,000 square miles of coastland and agriculture, sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Major trades include coffee, sugar, rice and dairy cattle, but the cattle population is not ideal for team ropers. The import of Quarter Horses from the United States is simple, but importing Corriente roping steers proves to be too much of a risk, so the local ropers make do. "We had one longhorn steer get brought to the island and we are growing our own. When we started, we were roping brahmas. Steer-wise it's getting better," explains Luis. Luis's passion soon outgrew the hobby-style roping in his island home. He says, "The only way I could rope and go to school was in the States." Connections in the equine world helped to get him there. Luis says that Carl and Karen McCuisition of Oklahoma trained horses with Hector and judged reining competitions on the island. Their nephew, JW McCuistion, was the assistant rodeo coach at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado in 2013. Luis attended Otero for a year before transferring to Northeast Texas Community College. He graduated with a degree in farm and ranch management with a minor in animal science.  

From there, Luis lived with Jace Melvin in Texas before moving to Blunt, South Dakota. Jace's sister and her husband, Jenny and Brent Belkham, took Luis under their wing for the summer of 2018. Luis had the opportunity to compete in Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association rodeos as well as local professional rodeos. Luis extended his appreciation to the Belkham family and says, "They didn't have to do any of the things they did for me but they still did. I really appreciate everything."  

Luis gained several "lifelong" friends, including Chance Jandel and JD Kirwan, both of South Dakota. Luis and Kirwan made a winning team over the summer as the pair won Hettinger, North Dakota, placed at Isabel, South Dakota and Gordon, Nebraska amateur rodeos. 

Though he has no set plans, right now he's living in Stephenville, Texas, looking forward to furthering his roping career. He considers that home now, but returns to the Dominican Republic for the annual Thanksgiving roping and is preparing for the World Series Roping Finale and a winter spent in Wickenburg, Arizona, competing in jackpots. He hopes to return to South Dakota next summer and rope professionally in the Badlands Circuit.  

While he's made a lot of friends and has better opportunities to rope, there are two things he really misses about the Dominican Republic–his family, and easy access to the beach.  

 

Wall to Wall Champions: Small South Dakota town supports youth in and out of the arena

There must be something in the water in Wall, S.D. Or maybe it's in the dirt—arena dirt—because a lot of youth rodeo champions hail from the area. 

Or maybe it's because of the people the youth are surrounded by in Wall. 

Several Wall kids have done very well in the 4-H, junior high, and high school ranks, as well as a number of other youth rodeo opportunities. 

Saddle bronc rider Cash Wilson is the National High School Rodeo champ, as well as the Little Britches Rodeo World champion.  

Tee Merrill has qualified for the Junior NR twice, the National Junior High School Finals twice, is a four-time event champ at the S.D. Junior High School Finals, a state 4-H goat tying champ, and has been to the Little Britches World Finals several times.  

Burk Blasius was the 2018 4-H State Rodeo Junior All-Around hand, and his older brother Blair finished second in the flag race; their younger brother, Jace, also competed.  

Kipp Cordes went to the state 4-H finals in four events and finished the year third in the breakaway and reserve all-around. His little sister Piper finished the year as state 4-H breakaway champ and reserve all-around, and their youngest sibling, Gatlin, also qualified for state 4-H finals.  

Cowgirl Trista Reinert was the state 4-H all-around reserve champion.  

And the list goes on.  

Matthew Heathershaw was the 2018 state junior high tie-down roping titlist and won second place in the breakaway roping at the state 4-H Finals, and his older brother Malcom won the steer saddle bronc riding at the state junior high finals two years in a row and tied for fifth at the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo this year.  

Emilee Pauley, through her high school years, won the breakaway roping once, was rookie of the year her freshman year (2015), and won the all-around title three times. Her sophomore year, she finished eighth in the nation in the goat tying. In 4-H rodeo, Pauley won the goat tying in the junior girls division. And her older sisters, Mazee and Mattee, have lists of accomplishments just as long.  

Four Wall youths have qualified for the Junior NFR in Las Vegas this December: sisters Libby and Brooke Diedrichs, Tee Merrill, and Wynn Schaack; Brooke and Wynn have qualified for the semi-finals for the American next February.  

So why so many rodeo athletes with accolades in Wall? Residents say there are several factors. 

Wall has held play days since the mid-1980s, says Mary Williams, a long-time Wall Rodeo Booster Club member. The play days are held four Thursdays in July, for kids ages 0 to 18 years old, and include an announcer, judges, and concessions. About sixty kids participate each play day, and parents are involved, too. "If you have a kid in it, you're going to help," Williams said. "You might flag barrels this week and next week you might be setting up poles or holding a goat."  

Play day events include the barrels, poles, breakaway, goat tying and team roping, and according to another Wall resident, Lori Shearer, there has never been a year in the last thirty-plus when there weren't play days. "It makes me pretty proud to think that when someone is done (chairing the play days), there's someone ready to take over," Shearer said.  

Wall, population 800, boasts one of the nicer rodeo arenas in the area. An outdoor facility, it has two arenas, a grandstand, new concessions building, new bathrooms, and "ample parking for contestants and spectators," said Brett Blasius, president of the First Interstate Bank in Wall and father to Blair and Burk. "We have a facility that is second to none in western South Dakota," he said. Just this year, they redid both arenas with steel pipe and nearly new bucking chutes. "It's very, very nice. We're a community of 800 people, so we're pretty proud of it."  

The town hosts a variety of rodeos: a high school practice rodeo and a regional rodeo, a 4-H rodeo, and a South Dakota Rodeo Association event there. "We get a lot of activity at the arena because of the quality of the grounds," Blasius said. 

Funding for some of the projects at the rodeo arena comes from the First Interstate Greater Wall Foundation, a community foundation that awards grants to non-profits within Wall and the surrounding area.  

It takes people to make things work, and the people in the Wall area support the kids. The area boasts many rodeo contestants, including those who have done well at the circuit and national levels: brothers JJ, Ryan and Cory Elshere, and Mike Heathershaw, among others. They bring their kids and their expertise and help the young ones practice. Heathershaw, a former saddle bronc rider, has brought in steers for the younger boys to practice steer saddle bronc and bareback riding, and Mike and his wife Anita bought a bucking machine. "I don't know how many kids have been out there, in our shop, riding the bucking machine," Anita said. "We've even had college kids show up to ride it."  

Anita Heathershaw, a teacher at the Wall school and mother to sons Matthew and Malcom, said there's a contagious "winning attitude" in Wall, "that you're going to give one hundred percent. The kids have learned if they want to do well in rodeo, they have to practice, and our kids do. Most of these kids will have other sports practice after school for several hours, and then, in addition, will go home or to the rodeo arena to practice their rodeo events, too."  

Expectations are high in Wall, she believes. "You're expected to do well and practice hard. If you want to win, you know you have to practice." It rubs off in the other sports, too; the Wall High School football team is ranked first in the state, and Wilson, the National High School saddle bronc champ, was the anchor on Wall's 2018 State B champion medley relay team and placed fifth at state track in the 400 meter race, as well as playing football, basketball and wrestling.  

Rodeo athletes seem to do well in other sports, says Emilee Pauley, a 2018 graduate of Wall High School with numerous rodeo accomplishments. She teaches younger kids how to tie goats, and says that rodeo kids are good at sports. "Most of the kids who rodeo are competitive in team sports. That's because rodeo teaches you to be a competitor, to win, to have the determination to get it done." She played high school basketball, and "I wasn't the greatest but I worked hard. My work ethic came from rodeo." This past summer, Pauley won the state high school goat tying, cutting, and all-around titles.  

The school has a banner with rodeo champs listed on it, Pauley said, and "you don't go to many other schools and see" banners like that.   

The town supports its rodeo kids, says Blasius, "and we see it in more sports than just rodeo. But it is our western heritage here, and we're proud of it. We realize that we're a small community, and we realize we're fortunate and not every community can experience it to the level that we do. We're very proud of that." 

Williams, as she volunteers at the rodeos and play days as part of the Booster Club, loves to look out over the grandstands and see the grandparents and great-grandparents watch their kids. "There is solid support for rodeo in our area, and it's deep rooted. It's cool, very cool."

Remembering Smoothie: Myers family look to their young stallions after losing A Smooth Guy a year ago

A year ago, the Myers family said goodbye to hopes and dreams, to the beginnings of another AQHA mogul, A Smooth Guy. Smoothie, a 2005 buckskin sired by the Myers' own Frenchmans Guy, was all that Bill and Deb could hope for in a stallion: almost-perfect conformation, balanced, smart, with a great disposition. He was put down at the age of 12 after fracturing his hock in six places while playing in the pasture. 

While the Myers have several very promising stallions to fall back on, plus Frenchmans Guy. the foundation of their program, it doesn't temper the sting of losing all that the Quarter Horse community would gain from "Smoothie." 

"That horse had a lot of personality and had done our family a lot of good," owner and breeder Bill Myers said. "We get pretty attached to our horses, especially ones we've had a long time, especially when you have so much hope and can see the future in a horse like him." 

When Smoothie was born, Bill had decided right away that he was something special. He was drawn to the young colt's conformation, matching to a T what they strive to produce at Myers Performance Horses, of St. Onge, South Dakota. When Bill started riding him, he liked him even more. 

"After we got to training and riding him, he showed us he was a superior athlete, very smart, and easy to train," Bill said. "He was just a real fun horse to be around and handle and have on our place." 

Smoothie began breeding mares as a three-year-old, so the Myers were able to witness his strength as a stallion. As hoped, he also passed those prized traits on to his offspring. If mares had slight problems, then Smoothie could improve them. Bill said, "He was one of the strongest in producing himself, very strong in producing his strongest traits." 

Longtime friend John E. Johnson agrees with Bill that Smoothie could strengthen mares and replicate himself, partly to do with all the promising traits the stallion gained from his mother, Docs Movida. 

"He was really quite different from Frenchmans Guy because of his mother. She had produced winners even before A Smooth Guy," Johnson said. "She is a daughter of Dry Doc, who was a cutting horse futurity champion and a product of Doc Bar and Poco Lena. Her mother was a daughter of Jet Smooth, a triple A AQHA champion, by Jet Deck, the best running cross. He had some of the greatest cow breeding and some of the greatest speed breeding, which may have been even more universal than Frenchman's Guy. And he was one of the stallions that crossed on any kind of mare to produce pretty babies, and people like to ride horses they like the looks of." 

Bill and Smoothie qualified to head at the World Series of Team Roping and Smoothie was awarded 2015 Future Fortunes Freshman Sire. In 2017, A Smooth Guy tied for third as the 2017 leading sire of prospects sold at auction with a $22,000 median, coming in behind his sire Frenchmans Guy in second and Dash Ta Fame in first. 

"The reason he got so popular is that he started out siring good horses right away. A couple of his babies went to the high levels right away," Bill said. "He has had a high percentage of winners for no more than he's had. The looks, conformation, and mind on them, it's the stuff the public wants." 

While in Arizona, Johnson said that Smoothie caught the eye of trainer Jason Hershberger, who showed him in the Sun Circuit in Scottsdale. 

"When I got him, he was already a trained rope horse, I just had to repattern him for horse show style, and he was so easy to train and work with and so good minded," Herschberger said. "He was so strong, so powerful, and super-fast running to a steer. He would let you control him and handle him. He probably rates way up there as one of the strongest and fastest rope horses I've ever been on, and he was just so good looking. I felt really fortunate when Bill asked me to show him." 

Even a year later, moving on from losing A Smooth Guy has been a slow healing process. 

"You don't understand why it happens; we just accept that's the way it's supposed to be. That's just God's plan," Bill said. "We're thankful we had him as long as we did. He still had a big influence on our program. It's kind of like losing a human; the sting goes away as time goes along, but it's still there. When you lose a horse like that, it's like losing part of the family." 

Bill and Deb have a couple of Smoothie's daughters that they plan to incorporate into their program, and they also plan to keep some of his coming crop this spring. 

"Bill and Deb Myers have, without a doubt, one of the strongest horse programs in America, not just South Dakota or the Midwest," Johnson said. "Bill is very particular about conformation, good mind, and trainability, and he found that in A Smooth Guy. He was a real loss, not just to Myers Performance Horses, but also the industry for how universal they were." 

Smooth N Famous is one of Smoothie's most winning offspring. The 2011 gelding owned by Tami Semas has risen to the top of area barrel horse standings with lifetime earnings of more than $200,000, winning the Colorado Classic Derby, 5-State Maturity, and Mesquite Championship Rodeo Series in 2017. 

She bought Smooth N Famous after losing another A Smooth Guy colt at a young age. 

"I loved him. He placed in every futurity we entered," Semas said of her colt. "I feel like A Smooth Guy horses are really good-minded horses that are user friendly to a lot of different types of riders, and they're pretty horses." 

While still offering cooled shipped semen from A Smooth Guy, the Myers have shifted their attention and hopes to their four young stallions, three of which are by Frenchmans Guy, and the other, Lucky Wonder Horse, is a son of First Down Dash. 

"We think a lot of them. They have all the good qualities A Smooth Guy had," Bill said. "We're breeding them and looking at their colts and liking what we're seeing at this point." 

Whether speaking of Frenchmans Guy, A Smooth Guy, or the outstanding stallion prospects coming up, Bill has been in quiet awe of the blessings he and his wife have been given. While he says sometimes he forgets just how special his horses are, there are frequent reminders of the impact their horses have had on the performance horse industry. 

"We don't really stop and think about it, it's just part of our program. We realize they're great horses and have all kinds of great accomplishments. Frenchmans Guy, probably because he has lived as long as he has, really had a huge impact in the horse industry. The length of his life has made him a household name and become a legend in the horse world," Bill said. "It's humbling to know we own him. Everything we have, we owe to them. The financial stability to be able to build our program is a direct result of those horses. A Smooth Guy was looking to have the same financial effect." 

At the age of 31, Frenchmans Guy, a grandson of Caseys Ladylove, is still healthy and living out his days at Myers Performance Horses, but the inevitability of losing him isn't far from their minds. 

"It won't be good at all. We're thankful he's lived as long as he has; that horse has been with us forever, but it's almost a sadder thing with A Smooth Guy because he was in his prime," Bill said. "Frenchmans Guy has helped a ton of programs; he's helped a ton of trainers. There are going to be a ton of people sad when he passes on." 

Frenchmans Guy was honored as 2018 Rodeo Animal Athlete during the Casey Tibbs Foundation Tribute Dinner early in November. He is ranked the number two barrel racing sire by Equi-Stat, behind Dash Ta Fame.  Equi-State reports he has 813 offspring who have accumulated more than $8 million in earnings in barrel racing alone.

Breeders improve performance with data-based decisions thanks to businesses like Robin Glenn Pedigrees and Equi-Stat

Thirty years ago, breeding performance horses wasn't much more than blind guesswork, but in the last 30 years thanks to databases like Equi-Stat and Robin Glenn Pedigrees, breeders can make more refined and solid decisions. Today, the results speak for themselves, thanks to these pioneers in the industry.  

For years, Robin Glenn knew there had to be a better way to produce sale catalogs for horses and in 1982 she started keeping her own extensive database covering western performance horse events. She felt that the traditional paragraph type pedigrees weren't good enough; her idea was to use racing-style pedigrees for performance horses. It took a while for the industry to evolve and it wasn't until four years later, after she produced a successful sale catalog for Carol Rose of Gainesville, Texas, that her idea started to catch on. Today, most major performance horse sales use Glenn's idea of using a more extended pedigree in their catalogs.  

In 1985, Zack Wood, the director of the National Cutting Horse Association, and William S. Morris III, founder of Morris Communications and owner of the Quarter Horse News got together and realized there was a need to track performance data so that it would not be lost. They created a database called Equi-Stat to house the major aged events and earnings, along with weekend events and earnings from the NCHA in a way that statistical data could be produced on the leading sires, dams, owners, riders, breeders and even shows or regions. It was also a database for the Quarter Horse News editorial department to use when writing articles that required statistical data. Now Equi-Stat keeps data on a wide variety of disciplines, including cutting, reining, reined cow horse, ranch horse, barrel racing, western pleasure, hunter under saddle, longe line and many more.  

"The original purpose of why it started was because that money was just being lost," says Temple Read, general manager for the Quarter Horse News and director of Equi-Stat. "No one was tracking it, and I think that was really the beginning of changing a lot of how the industry looks at performance-type events because of the knowledge in that database." 

At the time, nobody really knew that the cutting horse industry was a multi-million-dollar industry until they started tracking the performance data. Breeders soon found that having a database helped them discover what mares crossed best with what stallions, proven by how much money their offspring was winning. More detailed catalogs proved to add value to the animals, although some said too much information would hurt the horses. Both businesses are responsible for shaping the performance horse industry that is today.  

Databases are only as accurate as the information they carry, and both Equi-Stat and Robin Glenn Pedigrees are particular about how they receive data.  

"We keep anything that we can get our hands on as long as its provided to us in a complete format and it is official results," Read says. "We don't let people just call us and say, 'Hey I went to this barrel race and won this much.' We do it by show because we need to have accurate, factual information, so it has to be provided officially, whether by an association or producer that put on the event and it has to be a complete show, not just portions, with all payout and all entries." 

Although both businesses record data in similar capacities, they offer different services to the industry. Reports that Equi-Stat produces included Detailed Performance Reports for horse, rider, owner, show events, placings and earnings by year; Get and Produce Records including offspring with performance details or by summary of total earnings; and Magic Cross Reports pulled by sires, dams or maternal grandsires ranking the best crosses based on offspring earnings.  

No matter the parameter of the statistics needed, Read says that her staff can pull anything together for nearly any purpose.  

"We have a lot of people looking to purchase horses, people looking to breed horses or people looking to figure out regions of where shows are held and how much money is paid out in a region," Read says. "Anybody in the industry could have a reason to contact us, along with people that even produce and put on shows."  

Robin Glenn Pedigrees is similar in the statistical information provided to customers who order reports. The company offers performance reports that show earnings, placings and AQHA points earned for horses; produce reports give information for all AQHA foals, shown or unshown; best cross reports help breeders choose the best sires and dams for their breeding stock; and the FoalTracker provides weekly reports on a certain sire or dam's offspring. The other part of the company focuses on creating catalogs and pedigree pages, something Glenn has been passionate about since the beginning.  

For over thirty years both companies have worked to keep their records up to date and accurate, something Read says she is especially proud of, especially in today's world.  

"Say there's an event and two hours later you can go to the website or social media and see who placed and what they money was, but the problem with that is sometimes it's not correct and it's not official," she says. "We get the official results and we might not be the first ones up, but what you get from us is going to be as accurate as possible."  

The Right Fit: Getting a horse ready for sale

It's January in South Dakota. Odds are, the mercury has dropped below zero more than once in the last few months, and the horses have adapted appropriately, growing their own blanket to ward off the cold and snow.

But if you're planning to put that horse in front of an auctioneer, that fuzzy blanket may be standing between you and top dollar.

Roger Daly, owner of Roger Daly Horses in Aubrey, Texas, has been fitting horses for sales for decades, and has developed a routine that shows its value in the sale ring.

Daly works out of a 107-stall barn, where he fits primarily yearling and weanling Quarter Horse race prospects. The cold weather isn't much of a concern, but day length is a factor in hair growth, so he has to compensate for that to keep his horses slick-haired for sale day.

Feed

A good outside starts with a healthy inside, he says, so one of the basics is a good feed program.

Daly feeds his young horses straight alfalfa hay. Jeremy Barwick, who works in the same business, near Stephenville, Texas, usually feeds alfalfa mixed with some coastal grass hay. "We try not to feed feeds that are real high in starch," Barwick says. "You want a balanced diet."
Daly uses a high-fat supplement as a top-dressing, which helps put a good hair coat on them.

Keeping up with a deworming and vaccination schedule is also important to making sure the horses stay healthy and look their best.

One of the biggest mistakes Daly sees sellers make is not feeding their horses enough, especially young horses. "Feed that mare good, and do the same for the babies when you wean them. Have them up-to-date on vaccinations and worming. A little extra weight comes off when you ship them and they're under stress." He compares them to cattle that are being shipped. "You want them a little fat when you leave home, because they'll shrink when you ship them."

 

Exercise

Daly and Barwick both emphasize the importance of making sure the horse is fit and in shape before you head to the sale.

They work yearlings in a round pen for five or six days a week. "They need exercise, to sweat a little every day and build up some muscle tone," Daly said. "They need to lead good and walk good."

They figure it takes about 90 days to get a young horse to peak condition.

 

Hair

Practically speaking, a well-insulated, thick-haired horse is a good thing in northern climates in January. But when that horse is in the sale ring, people still want—and will pay more for—one that's slick-haired and shiny, said Johann Thomasson, who trained and sold three horses, one for himself and two for a client, at the Black Hills Stock Show last year.

"In the winter time, there's a lot of people who will complain about a horse being tight-haired up north, but everybody wants one that's slick and shiny and tight-haired," he said. A horse that has his winter coat on "just isn't going to look as attractive as a horse that's slick-haired."

If Daly is planning for a December sale, he likes to get the horses in starting in September, when days get short, and get them under lights for 16 hours a day. He uses sheets and blankets, as necessary, to keep their winter hair from growing in.

For those sellers who aren't equipped to provide the light and heat necessary to keep winter hair from growing, Daly says it's important to groom them daily to keep their hair shiny and lying flat.

Thomasson adds that a blanket and daily brushing can help keep winter hair in good condition and can make horse look more sleek and shiny.

 

Feet

Daly says one of the most important things in fitting a horse for a sale is making sure their feet are in good condition. That doesn't mean to call the farrier the day before you take them to the sale. It should be an ongoing process, keeping hooves trimmed and feet healthy, and it's best not to trim them right before the sale, just in case they are a little sensitive.

 

Grooming

Whether a horse has a winter coat or summer hair, it's vital to have it clean and well-groomed for sale day. Daly uses a rubber curry, brush and vacuum. He doesn't use any products to add shine to the horses, as a good feed program is a lot more effective at producing that healthy look.

 

Training

For Daly, who sells mostly young horses, the extent of training is to make sure they're halter-broke and desensitized to the chaos of a sale atmosphere. He makes sure they have plenty of practice loading and unloading, and are comfortable being led in and out of stalls and the sale ring. "I've shown some babies 80 times a day for two days in a row. They have to be physically fit to show well in those circumstances," Dalys aid.

For more advanced performance horses that will go through a preview before the sale, making sure they know their job is the most important part of sale preparation. Whether the trainer or the owner is showing in the preview, they should have practiced extensively and be flawless in their execution of the job they're doing. "You don't want to show everyone the bad things about your horse. Preview your horse in a manner that shows off the good things, in a smooth and correct way," Barwick says.

Barwick said he makes sure all the tack is good-quality, clean and in good working condition before preview day.

"Be professional. Dress professionally," Barwick says. "Have a nice blanket and a decent saddle. You're trying to sell your product."

 

Attitude

"The guys who are successful are perfectionists," Daly said. He's been friends with Thoroughbred trainer Wayne Lucas for a number of years, and has learned a lot from him, attributing much of Lucas's success to his drive for perfection.

"You want to use quality feed, quality hay, the best vet and the best horse shoer you can afford. In the long run, they'll make you money," Daly said. "Find the best people you can to work on your horse, with the most knowledge."

And always keep learning. At age 72, Daly still reads a lot and talks to other trainers and owners, hoping to continue to improve his skills. "I nose around and see what people are doing or using."

It's not an exclusive industry. Most people are in it because they enjoy it, and want others to enjoy it as well, Daly said. "Everybody's helpful to newcomers, and explains things. We try to help them the best we can."

He offers this advice to newcomers, "See what the guys at the top are doing, not the ones who are complaining or making excuses."

Daly has several employees, but he's still at the barn seven day a week, usually by 6:30 a.m. He tries to finish his day by 6 p.m. "We're very organized; everybody has a job."

Daly started driving a team of horses when he was 7 years old on a dairy farm, and has worked with horses all his life. "It really beats being on a dairy farm. It's similar, but a whole lot better."

Mare Power & Casey’s Ladylove

The quest for a top-selling horse begins long before that foal is born. In an industry where broodmares sometimes sell for less than the cost of a single stud fee, it's easy to get distracted by the top side of a pedigree.

But those whose names are attached to some of the top sires in the business know a mare can help or hinder a brilliant stallion, and that it truly does take two to tango.

Jeremy Barwick, a partner in the Brazos Valley Stallion Station, saw more than 2,000 mares come through the barn doors last year.

"I'm a big believer that the mare is probably 90 percent of the foal. You have to start with a mare that is conformationally sound. I really believe they have to look the part before they can be the part. If the mare doesn't look the part, she's not going to have a foal that does."

Barwick believes that even if the mare doesn't have a performance record, if the pedigree is sound and the conformation is there, the mare can produce standout offspring. "But if they don't have the conformation, it's going to be hard to produce that."

While conformation is the foundation of a foal, pedigree can be a good indication of what to expect. "What's worked in the past is going to give you a good shot at success," he says.

But he's not counting on "magic crosses" to consistently produce top-of-the-line horses.

"How often do you see full brothers and sisters that are equally successful? You might get one, but how often do you get another one?"

In his job he sees it a lot—a certain cross produces a great horse, so the owners breed the same mare to the same stud over and over. "You may have some good ones, but you're not going to repeat that one great one."

Rather than concentrating on breeding a specific stud to a specific mare, he sees more success in finding bloodlines that are complimentary, and matching those up. "I think you should always diversify, because there are always new, upcoming studs. Breed the very best with what's the best in your mare. Do your homework and look at what you're breeding to. You have to be open-minded."

At their stallion station they stand some of the top studs in barrel racing, cutting and reined cow horses, and see the best of the mares in those disciplines come through. When Barwick has input into the breeding decisions, he is completely candid about the mares that get bred, believing the end goal is always to produce get that's better than the sire and dam.

"There's a weakness in every horse and there are strengths in every horse," Barwick says. The ability to see both is essential for producing better horses. "The idea is to build on the weaknesses to make them stronger, and find the stallion that will help the strengths."

While he works with horses that have performance records in the six- to seven-digit range, with prospects bringing tens of thousands of dollars, he recognizes that not every segment of the industry is that caliber.

Whatever your budget, he says, the best advice he can give is to find the best mare you can, within your budget. That budget is going to vary based on your goals for the offspring, but it's not realistic to expect the stallion to fix the mare's flaws in the offspring. "If we're honest with ourselves, that probably works only about 2 percent of the time," he says. You're better off to find the mare with the strongest weaknesses, and a stallion that will improve them, keeping in mind that improvement may not happen. The key is to know what you can live with and what will accomplish your goals.

A Ladylove Story

When it comes to the power of a mare, few know that value better than the Loiseau

family.

"It is our belief that in order to promote a stallion, you HAVE to have good mares," said Lis (Loiseau) Hollman. "A great stallion will, in our opinion, do a lot to help an average mare. But a good mare will do a tremendous amount to help any stallion."

Frances Loiseau, Lis's mother, saw the potential in Casey's Ladylove when she was a two-year-old in a sale ring in Walnut Grove, Minnesota in 1963. Frances waved the winning number while her husband was outside, taking home the buckskin filly with appendix papers for $720 (about $6,000 today). Bred by Virgil Ningen of Porter, Minnesota and sold through Ted Faltinson's horse sale, the Loiseau family had Casey's Ladylove inspected by the AQHA in 1963 and she was officially registered as a Quarter Horse. More than 50 years later she was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame, based on the progeny she produced.

On the top side Casey's Ladylove can be traced back to Poco Bueno, and on the bottom side she was double-bred to Joe Hancock.

After seeing her potential in both the show ring, the Loiseaus bred Casey's Ladylove for the first time as a 3-year-old to Laughing Boy, an AQHA-registered grandson of Three Bars, a 1940 Thoroughbred.

That pairing produced four foals, one of which was Frenchmans Lady, who, at age 15, produced a palomino stallion by Sun Frost. They named him Frenchmans Guy. Today he's the number two barrel racing sire in history, with 813 offspring that have earned more than $8 million in barrel racing alone, according to Equi-Stat. He also made the list for roping sires*, coming in at number 57, with two offspring in that discipline that earned more than $10,000 each.

Of the fifteen foals Casey's Ladylove produced, three were by Tiny Circus. Two were geldings and the third was a mare, Caseys Charm. Caseys Charm was bred to Sun Frost, owned by fellow South Dakotan Pat Cowan, and the pair produced French Flash Hawk, "Bozo," who sold for $400 as a 2-year-old, but three world titles, three reserve world titles, five National Finals Rodeo average titles and four Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo titles later, he was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2018.

"We've seen time after time, crossed a lot of different ways, these mares produce stallion-quality colts and broodmare-quality fillies," Hollman said.

Today, three and four generations removed from Casey, six barrel horses at the 2018 WNFR—all mares–can trace their roots back to the buckskin mare from Minnesota. At the 2018 Calgary Stampede, 61 percent of the barrel racing money went home with barrel racers mounted on Casey's progeny.

"The common denominator in all these stallions is that their dams were daughters or granddaughters of Casey's Ladylove," Hollman said.

Part of the strength of the program today can be attributed to the eye for horses Frances Loiseau had, which she passed on to her kids. When her husband James died in 1977, leaving her with eight kids and a herd of horses, Frances made the decision to keep the mares and carry on the business.

"My mother was extremely particular," Hollman said. "She had a great eye for horses. She could look at a horse and say instantly whether she liked it. She either liked it or she didn't. Somebody once asked, 'How do you know if it's a good horse or not?' She replied, 'How do you know if a man is good-looking or not? You just know.'"

The family has never been afraid to make tough decisions when it came to keeping stallions and breeding mares. "We geld an awful lot of horses," Hollman said. "People would always ask, 'Why did you geld that horse?' My mother always said, 'The world needs good geldings more than it needs one more stud.'"

Those that remained stallions had to be outstanding in three areas: disposition, conformation and athletic ability. Their mares had to have solid conformation, a good mind and kind disposition. "We've had the advantage of having ridden, raised, trained and been around several generations of these horses. Chances are, our trainer has ridden their mother and grandmother," Hollman said.

While the mares carry a lot of strengths, it's the stallions that make usually make history, primarily because a mare's productivity is limited, compared to a stallion's. "Historically, a mare produced a foal a year, if you're lucky," Hollman said. "A stallion could breed dozens of mares a year. People promote their stallions, and justifiably so. Mares aren't in the forefront of advertisements and programs because they've only been producing one colt a year. That's perhaps why people didn't realize what a big part the mares played."

While embryo transfer has increased a mare's potential production, it's still limited. "For some mares, it's maybe doubled or tripled their production. Because of that I think it's easier to recognize a strong maternal line," she said. "There's more opportunity to capitalize on those maternal genetics than there was in the past because of embryo transfer."

Lis and her husband John have been raising horses for most of the 39 years they've been together, but they've decided it's time to slow down a little and see what else life might bring. Last year they had about 27 foals, but they sold eight broodmares on the Open Box Rafter sale this year, and plan to sell a few more at the same sale next year. "Not because we don't love it and want to keep doing it, but we're reaching a point where we need to back off," she said.

While the decision to sell some young mares was difficult, and she hates to part with any of them, she says it's gratifying to see how excited people are to get these maternal genetics.

"It really worried me to sell these mares, but it was great to see the homes these mares have gotten. There's no reason they shouldn’t be as successful as we were, because these mares continue to produce great performance horses, great broodmares and stallions generation after generation."

Of the eight mares that sold, the high seller was Oh La La Frenchgirl, bringing $34,000 and the low seller brought $15,500. Three 2-3 year old mares each brought between $25,000 and $33,000—a long way from a $720 filly in a Minnesota sale ring.

They're keeping all the mares that are age 14 or older, and will gradually retire them, so they aren't getting out of the breeding business completely.

"That's why we believe so strongly in the maternal genetics. You'll see that played out time and time again, not just with Casey's Ladylove, but with other great mares."

While the legacy may have started with Casey's Ladylove, it hasn't ended there. All eight of James and Frances Loiseau's children still own offspring of Casey's, and either breed them or perform on them.

*Equi-Stat has been tracking roping earnings for ten years, compared to 30 years for barrel racing.

Wrangler NFR 2018 Daily Round Results

Jump to results:
Bareback
Steer Wrestling
Team Roping (Headers)
Team Roping (Heelers)
Saddle Bronc Riding
Tie-Down Roping
Barrel Racing
Bull Riding

Bareback


Steer Wrestling


Team Roping (Headers)


Team Roping (Heelers)


Saddle Bronc Riding


Tie-Down Roping


Barrel Racing


Bull Riding

 

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