Colorado horse rises to the top, taking home honors from 2016 BHSS Ranch Rodeo |

Colorado horse rises to the top, taking home honors from 2016 BHSS Ranch Rodeo

As part of the 2015 $50,000 All-Around Performance Horse Ranch Rodeo, in Fort Worth, Texas, Dustin Bowling and Beaulah Lil Heaven compete in the Iron Man Competition, individually loading a steer in the trailer. Courtesy photo

Good breeding, regular use makes for a top ranch rodeo horse

by Savanna Simmons

Many of the horses viewed in action at Western States Ranch Rodeo Association Ranch Rodeos are ranch horses, not show horses. Cowboys often do not have exorbitant time to constantly tweak the training and skills on their ranch horses simply because there is work to be completed.

WSRRA requires that members are working cowboys; their horses are generally working animals as well.

Being awarded best amongst these great ranch horses is no small feat. Beaulah Lil Heaven, owned by Dustin Bowling of Agate, Colorado, captured the Top Horse Title at the Black Hills Stock Show 2016 Ranch Rodeo.

“I was pretty shocked we won just because there are so many teams,” Bowling said. Twelve teams compete in the short round, meaning there are 48 horses with which to compete.

Bowling commends the anonymous judges for remaining unbiased.

“There were darn sure good horses we were going against. Being from Colorado, people tend to lean toward people they know, so I thought it was special they looked at horses themselves instead of, say, this guy is from Rapid City,” he said.

The pair earned a saddle from Triple R Tack, a custom Derner grazing-port bit engraved 2016 BHSS, and a BHSS-embroidered horse blanket for Beaulah’s effort and skill. This is not the first saddle Bowling has received; he has earned one for winning the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Finals and several rodeoing throughout the years, he said. This one is different, however.

“To win something like this saddle is way more special to me just because it not only shows what I can do, but what I’ve trained my horses to do,” Bowling said. “We’re to where someone else notices what my horses can do.”

The 8-year-old, cutting-bred mare stood out amongst the other horses in the short round of the ranch rodeo. Bowling said Beaulah showed her colors in the double mugging, an event in which two teams compete simultaneously to rope a steer and tie three legs to remain tied for six seconds.

“She worked really good in the double mugging. I think the reason she kind of caught the judges’ eyes is one of her best qualities is she’s so ground broke,” Bowling said. “The other team kind of ran into her and she stayed. I also heeled a steer on her and she worked really good.”

Bowlings’ team Cowboy till Death, with the help of Beaulah, earned fourth place at the ranch rodeo. Fifty-four teams competed in the long round of the ranch rodeo; the top ten teams returned for the finals round and were joined by last year’s winning team and the Central States Fair Ranch Rodeo winner.

Bowling bought Beaulah as a three-year-old from Betsy Mecom and daughter Lannie Mecom of Bar Nothing Ranch in Avondale, Colorado. He has purchased and meshed well with other horses from them, he said.

“I’ve bought other horses from her and worked for them for a little while too,” Bowling said. “I got to know their broodmares. I bet I’ve bought six or seven horses from them.”

Bar Nothing Ranch Foreman J.T. Schalla said Bowling has done a great job with Beaulah.

“He’s promoting the horses in a different manner than us. We do mostly roping and cutting and [Bowling] is taking them in a slightly different route with ranch rodeo and jackpot team roping.” Schalla said. “He’s darn sure making people aware of them and has done a great job with her.”

Beaulah Lil Heaven boasts strong cutting bloodlines with famous names on both sides.

Bowling said, “My really good heel horse in college was a Docs Budha so that’s why I fell in love with this mare.”

“She’s bred extremely well on her daddy’s side: Heaven’s Little Lena, by Smart Little Lena and out of a full sister to Peptoboonsmal,” Schalla said.

Beaulah’s dam is out of the cutting greats as well. “We’ve raised a lot of good horses out of her mother. She is Docs Budha and Ms Roan Freckles. We showed her at the futurity in cutting and won money. She goes back to Colonel Freckles.”

Bowling took Beaulah to her first ranch rodeo three years ago as a five-year-old and his team has qualified for the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Ranch Rodeo Finals multiple times.

“I rode her at WRCA Finals the last two years,” Bowling said of Beaulah, “and the first year I rode her there was the first time our team won WRCA finals.”

Bowling and Beaulah could also be spotted at the WSRRA Finals last year.

Bowling calls his roan mare quirky.

“She’s real sensitive as far as messing with her ears or being pet,” Bowling said. “She has an attitude, but she’d rather be doing a job than being pet. She knows when there’s work to do.”

Beaulah has had formal training but since purchase has been advanced exclusively by Bowling.

Her cutting bloodlines show through; she loves it, he said.

“She was in training to be a cutter for a little bit,” Bowling said. “On the ranch, I’ll work her on cattle replicating cutting.”

Bowling has also “started hauling her to team roping jackpots and started picking up heeling and sorting cattle,” he said. “They’re two of her favorite jobs now.”

As for Beaulah’s future, Bowling will keep ranch rodeoing and roping on her, he said. He may also breed her down the road.

“There’s a couple studs in mind I would consider breeding her to,” Bowling said. Ranch rodeo teammate “Kyle Spitz raises quite a few horses and has a High Brow Cat palomino stud; I might breed her to him.”

Bowling plans to stay within cutting horse bloodlines.

“She’s a mare and I might as well stick with those bloodlines,” he said. “I might as well try to breed her and get my own string of horses going from her.”

Bowling is a self-employed grass-fed beef producer and works for Producer’s Livestock Auction.

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