Three newcomers earn Horse of the Year honors |

Three newcomers earn Horse of the Year honors

The 2012 American Quarter Horse Association/PRCA Horses of the Year were announced on Oct. 4, and the list is comprised of an intriguing mix of repeat winners and newcomers.

In the newcomer category, Trevor Brazile’s Lite My Dynamite “Sic Em” took home honors as the top team roping heading horse. It was not only a first for Sic Em but also for the 16-time world champion, who had never had a team roping horse take the honor.

Joining Brazile as proud first-time owners of Horses of the Year were Les Shepperson and Chance Kelton.

Shepperson’s Dillon’s Dash “Dillon” took the award for best steer wrestling horse after helping the Midwest, WY, cowboy to his second Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification and the first in four years.

“I always thought he was a good horse, but it makes me feel even that much better to know that other people think he’s real good also,” Shepperson said of his 20-year-old teammate. “I have a lot of confidence in him and he does great in any kind of setup, so it’ll be nice to be on him in Vegas.”

In addition to Shepperson riding Dillon all the way to the Wrangler NFR, another high-profile bulldogger, three-time World Champion Luke Branquinho, also rode the horse for most of the 2012 season.

The steer roping horse honors went to Chance Kelton’s White Hot Ike “Bullseye.” After trying to team rope on Bullseye a few years ago, Kelton decided it was time to switch events and his move paid off in a big way.

“He was a good team roping horse, but he just didn’t quite have the speed that a fella needs to win in PRCA rodeos,” Kelton said of his 15-year-old horse.

Both man and horse only converted to steer roping just a few years ago, and Kelton is very proud that a horse he trained from the time it was a yearling has become the best steer roping horse around.

“The steer roping just so happened to fall right into his suit and he didn’t have to do anything but be strong and solid every time, which is what he does,” he said.

The repeat champions included Jade Corkill’s heeling horse Fine Snip of Doc “Cave Man,” who won for the second time in three years, and Clint Cooper’s tie-down roping horse Eightys Sport “Sweetness,” who won for the third consecutive year.

While Cave Man was ridden only by Corkill, Sweetness had a much busier year. Cooper and Trent Creager – who both finished in the top 30 of the final unofficial world standings – rode Cave Man, as well as Wrangler NFR qualifiers Cory Solomon and Houston Hutto.

Mary Walker’s horse, Perculatin “Latte,” was named the best barrel racing horse. It is the first award for both rider and horse.

The annual awards are voted on by the top 25 contestants in each timed-event category. F