The Outside Circle: Johnny Smith, Kentucky Derby, events and stolen saddles |

The Outside Circle: Johnny Smith, Kentucky Derby, events and stolen saddles

I saw the scout swallow as I was choring this morning. There’s always one that comes ahead of the main group and I’m always delighted to see it arrive. I’ve loved watching the aerial skill of the barn swallows my whole life. Whether dive bombing cats or catching bugs, they are amazing. I remember riding across the meadows on early summer mornings to ride bog lines and check stock and the swallows would be swooping back and forth just ahead of my horse, grabbing the bugs that flew up as we passed. I also remember verbally blistering the hide of one of the kid’s friends for shooting a barn swallow with a BB gun. I’ll bet he never did that again, at least at our place. He ended up a fighter pilot in the Air Force, so maybe the flight of that swallow was taken up by him to make up for it.

By now you’ve probably heard that the voice of the cattle business, Johnny Smith, has gone silent. He passed away May 7 at age 66. I always listened to him whenever he addressed an issue on the radio as he had such a grasp of situations and wasn’t afraid to say what he thought. My respect and admiration for Johnny led me to suggest to him several years ago that he ought to run for Governor. He responded that he didn’t think he was crooked enough (his words, not mine!) and wasn’t a lawyer, so didn’t think that would work. I still contend he would have made a good one. Johnny will be missed by all who knew him, as well as those who listened to his report from Ft. Pierre Livestock. He was a very fine man and a great example of rolling up your sleeves and doing something to make changes. His full obituary is elsewhere in this paper and is definitely worth reading. My condolences to his family.

The Kentucky Derby was once again won by a longshot when Animal Kingdom, going to post with 20-1 odds, won it with daylight to spare. The favorite, Dialed In, ran eighth and never got out of the main pack. Animal Kingdom is sired by the Brazilian horse Leroidesanimaux and out of the German-bred mare Dalilicia (don’t feel bad, I couldn’t pronounce his sire either). He was a $100,000 yearling at Keeneland in 2009, so wasn’t exactly a catch colt. His jockey was John R. Velasquez, trainer Graham Motion, and he’s owned by Team Valor International. He’s slated to run in the Preakness, barring some change in his status before the 21st. I always cheer hardest for the underdog, so will be cheering for him in the second leg of the Triple Crown. In the Derby, second place was won by Nehro with Mucho Macho Man coming in third.

At the 2011 BBR World Finals Barrel Horse Sale on April 30, a three-year-old chestnut mare by Frenchmans Guy brought $25,000. She is out of Dr Ladylove, a daughter of another great northern plains sire, Dr. Kirk. She no doubt has a career laid out in the barrel futurities and derbies.

I just got this in today’s mail, so need to add it to my column to beat the due date of the 20th.

Coming up on June 4 at noon is the Clifford “Pops” Marshall, Sr. Memorial Wild Horse Race/Bull Riding at the Keith Whipple Arena, Rosebud, SD. There’s great money up for this, and should be a rip-roaring good time. If you’re wanting in the Wild Horse Race, contact Sandy Murray at 605-828-2057; if bull riding is more your thing, contact Sheri Knox at 605-828-1659. If you just want general information, call Owen Marshall at 605-828-2039.

That same weekend is the Cheyenne River Roundup Ranch Rodeo and Ranch Horse competition in Edgemont, SD. The Ranch Rodeo is a superbly run WRCA-sanctioned event and will have a bunch of outstanding working cowboy teams (all of these guys even have rope straps on their saddles!) vying for cash and prizes. For Ranch Rodeo information, call Wyatt VanEaton at 605-890-2369 and for Ranch Horse competition info call Tim Schaak at 605-484-9714. Beautiful location, exceptional facilities, various vendors (they could use more), and no admission! Take your family and have a great weekend.

On June 12, the $500 added WPRA Breakaway Roping will be held during the Nutra-lix Barrel Daze Barrel Race in Miles City, MT. This is co-approved with the Badlands Circuit, too. Contact person is Lana Tibbetts, but I wasn’t given a phone number. Most of you breakaway folks know how to get ahold of her though, I’m sure.

The South Dakota Paint Horse Club-sponsored Black Hills Trail Ride will be held June 24-26. Riders come from all over the U.S. and even Europe for this beautiful ride. Held near Custer in the Black Hills, the scenery is breathtaking and camping is great. Contact Sharon Karp at 605-754-6415 or e-mail: You can also visit for more information.

There will be a Cowboy Dressage Clinic with Jack Brainard at the VM Diamond Ranch arena at Upton, WY, on June 25-28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Jack Brainard is a world renowned trainer who has moved into the cowboy dressage realm in recent years. He was featured in the March/April issue of America’s Horse. You have to reserve a spot in the clinic by May 20 and the fee is $700, non-refundable. Send your check to Virginia Vanderpool, 570 Dry Creek Rd, Upton, WY 82730. You’ll need to bring horse and riding gear, lunch, drinks, snacks and your favorite horse. Local contacts are Gini Vanderpool at 307-465-2390 or Steve Langer at 307-468-2445. You can check out Jack Brainard’s Web site at This is an opportunity to work with the best in the business!

The College National Rodeo Finals will remain in Casper, WY, another 10 years, thanks to a contract extension. This year’s CNFR will be June 12-18. Also, the NIRA Alumni Reunion will be held June 17-18. Check out that Web site at

The Nebraska High School Rodeo kids should know that they need more photos for the state finals program book. You can e-mail them to Jeanne Morgan at Have your moms get right on that!

This is a long way from here, but the way folks travel, I thought it was relevant. I also thought it was a lowdown deal. Someone stole four of Kristie Peterson’s saddles, including three of her NFR saddles, years ’96, ’97 and ’98. There were also tools and some other items stolen from their place near Durango, TX, but those saddles are the most identifiable. Keep your eyes open and if you see or hear anything about them, contact Jordan Briggs at

At the Woodlakes (CA) Lions Rodeo, steer wrestling had Les Shepperson, Midwest, WY, tied for third. He also placed second at the Mother Lode Roundup at Sonora, CA in the ‘doggin’.

At the Chisholm Trail Stampede, Duncan, OK, steer wrestling had Dru Melvin, Tryon, NE, second, while Cort Scheer, Elsmere, NE, won the saddle broncs.

Guymon (OK) Pioneer Days Rodeo Final results show a four-way tie for fourth in the barebacks with Joe Gunderson, Agar, SD, taking part of that money. Todd Suhn, Hermosa, SD, won third in the steer wrestling average, Louie Brunson, Interior, SD, won first in the saddle broncs with an 87-point ride on Frontier’s Let Er Rip, while Seth Glaus, Rock Springs, WY, won the bulls on Powder River’s Hustlin’ with an 85-point ride.

At the Minnesota Horse Expo Rodeo, the barebacks had a tie for first with Ty Breuer, Mandan, ND, taking part of that; Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, MN, taking third; and Joe Gunderson taking fourth. The steer wrestling was won by Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, NE, and the saddle broncs were won by Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, SD, with Jeremy Meeks, Belle Fourche, SD, in second.

Well, that winds up the circle for this week. The grass is looking good and the creeks are running, so, I’m looking forward to a good summer. Send me your news and results. You can also find me on Facebook to share information.


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