The Outside Circle: Blister beetles, Cowboy Class, Smart Chic Olene dies

Jan Swan Wood

No updates on the rain in the area as there’s still not enough of it, accompanied by too much lightning. I’ve talked to people in Colorado, Nevada, Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming and it’s the same story everywhere. On a positive note, nearly everyone’s rangeland firefighting skills have been honed to a fine edge.

Everyone I know is working to get hay laid in for the year and it’s going to be scarce. Something I’ve observed in several places many miles apart is the prevalence of blister beetles near and in alfalfa fields. It sure has me concerned, as they can prove fatal for horses when ingested. They are about a half inch or so long and have a slender, grayish-black colored body. I’ve seen the beetles in both dryland and irrigated fields, so, be watching and really look at that hay closely before buying. Find a picture of one so you can be sure of what you’re seeing.

There’s good news about the Ranching Heritage Breeders show in Rapid City, SD set for Aug. 30. Brandon Black of AQHA has announced several more classes have been added. The new Cowboy Class will really be ideal for the working rancher to be able to show their top horse against their peers for a sweet $1,000 purse. Besides that class, there will be Open, Limited Open, Non-pro, Amateur and Novice Amateur classes. Entry deadline is Aug. 15, so get online for a form at or call Brandon Black at 806-378-4387. In a pinch, I will even email you one.

In case any of you Ranching Heritage Breeders haven’t done so, contacting the buyers of your horses over the past four or five years and encouraging the participation in this inaugural class would be a nice idea. They might not be aware their horse is eligible.

I made a booboo on the name of the Jr. High School Finals by calling it the Wrangler Jr. finals. Wrangler used to be a major sponsor, but that sponsorship has been taken over by Cinch. Just wanted to clarify that.

If you are serious about going on the St. Jude Ride on Sept. 15, you need to let Sally Rall know that you want a participant envelope. Call her at 605-890-1425 to get one or to get more information on this wonderful charity ride. It’s held in beautiful Custer State Park in SD, and benefits St. Jude’s Children’s hospital.

One of the all-time great performance sires has died at age 27 in Texas. Smart Chic Olena had a major impact on the reining, cutting and working cowhorse world. In his own career, he earned $113,504 in cutting and $15,361 in reining. His impact was as a sire, though, with his 896 performing offspring earning of $11.9 million in the three disciplines. His get often had his distinctive markings of splashy white on the face and a little roan in the flanks and a “coon” tail. He was by Smart Little Lena and out of Gay Sugar Chick by Gay Bar King.

The Calgary Stampede has wound up for another year and fabulous purses have been distributed. No longer part of the PRCA, Calgary is still the “go-to” rodeo for professional contestants because of the money earning potential. For example, Wade Sundell, Boxholm, IA, won the saddle broncs and was handed a sweet $100,000 check. Also pulling substantial checks were saddle bronc riders Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, SD, Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, SD, and Chet Johnson, Douglas, WY; barrel racers Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD and Britany Fleck, Mandan, ND; steer wrestlers Jake Rinehart, Highmore, SD, Todd Suhn, Hermosa, SD, Jason Miller, Lance Creek, WY, and Dean Gorsuch, Gering, NE; and bareback riders Steven Dent, Mullen, NE, Jessy Davis, Power, MT, and Kelly Timberman, Mills, WY.

In PRCA action, Jess Tierney, Hermosa, SD won the All-Around at Laramie, WY’s Jubilee Days with checks pulled in team roping and steer roping. Louie Brunson, Interior, SD, was second in the saddle broncs, Justin Scofield, St. Lawrence, SD, was third in the tie-down roping, and Ardie Meier, Timber Lake, SD, won the bulls.

A call from a friend in Wyoming yesterday reminded me to remind you that horses can be vaccinated against rabies. He was describing symptoms his horse was showing and I immediately thought of rabies, as the symptoms matched. He had vaccinated this horse, however, so, it wasn’t rabies. He’ll find out what it is at the veterinarian’s, I’m sure, but at least won’t have to face the nightmare of treatments and the euthanasia of the horse on account of it. He had ridden the horse the day before and handled his mouth while bridling him, so, it was a very real risk, had he not been vaccinated.

It’s time to wind up this circle and head for the shade, so, we’ll talk more next week. Stay cool and keep praying for rain.