• Dennis Moreland Tack

Daily Chatter

Mississippi Cat cool with 225

Saturday, March 13th, 2010
Vick Etheridge and Eddie Braxton.

Vick Etheridge and Eddie Braxton.

It seemed fitting for a horse named Mississippi Cat to win one for the home team in Jackson, MS with a rousing 225-point performance.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled. He mesmerized everybody in the buildling,” said Mississippi Cat’s owner, Vick Etheridge, after he and rider Eddie Braxton accepted the championship trappings.

“Eddie loves him and I think it’s mutual. It was a match made in heaven.”
Mississippi Cat, a 5-year-old son of High Brow Cat, was also a finalist in the $10,000 Novice division.

“I showed him first in the $10,000 finals and cut some pretty wild cattle,” said Braxton. “He never really did come down. It was like he was a different horse.”
Braxton and Mississippi Cat won the $3,000 Novice go-round with 221 points.
“He’s always stopped really hard and moved his front end really good, but he’s starting to develop that crouch,” Braxton noted.

“A lot of horses can read a cow, but this horse can get inside a cow’s mind. He kind of plays with a cow. He’s a lot of fun.”

Etheridge purchased Mississippi Cat as a yearling at the NCHA Futurity Sales and Ray Smith started him. Both Etheridge and Braxton have shown him in the finals of major limited age events, and Etheridge will show him here this week in the $20,000 Non-Pro and the $15,000 Novice Non-Pro.

Dees Mr Charles, champion of the $10,000 Novice on Wednesday, scored 218.5 points as $3,000 Novice reserve champion under Sam Shepard.

“He’s a very consistent horse. That’s his strong point,” said Shepard, who shows the 5-year-old Its Just About Me son for Edley and Sue Hixson.

“He’s a big, strong gelding and he always gives you everything he’s got.”
Dees Mr Charles qualified for Sunday’s Open Finals with 218 points – the second highest score from the go-round.

Dana Summerford

Dana Summerford

Summerford claims $10,000 Amateur

In a field of 28 riders, it was first and second all the way. Dana Summerford, Flackville, AL, first to ride in the $10,000 Amateur Finals, won the championship with 216 points, and Marla Royer, second to the herd, claimed reserve with 215.
“It scared me to death,” said Summerford of her Final’s draw on Oh Cay Belle.

“She’s real gritty and usually I get real excited when they tell me the cows are bad because that’s her strong point. If I can get them cut, she can hold them.”
After her performance, Summerford took Oh Cay Belle to her stall and was surprised upon her return to the arena to see that she was still in the lead.

“I was just as nervous afterward as I was before,” she admitted.
Summerford missed her closest challenger, Marla Royer, who immediately followed her and scored 215 on Lets Reys Cain.

“I didn’t think my score would hold,” said Royer, who maintained her edge for reserve, with 215 points, through the last rider.

This was the first championship win for Oh Cay Belle, a 10-year-old daughter of Oh Cay Quixote, conditioned for Summerford, by Mike Legg.

Marla Royer, Carencro, LA, rode  Lets Reys Cain, by Dual Rey.

“We were just going to take it easy and cut off the top and that’s what we did,” said Royer, whose 7-year-old gelding is a full brother to Halreycious ($227,459) and Reydiculous ($142,703), out of Stylish Play Lena,  the earner of $265,000.

Photos by Jill Dunkel.

Dees Mr Charles wins $10,000 Novice

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Sam Shepard

Dees Mr Charles and Sam Shepard scored 221.5 points yesterday to win the $10,000 Novice Eastern National championship for Edley and Sue Hixson of Deridder, LA. Snazzy Easter Bunny, ridden for Mike and Libby Bowman by Austin Shepard, was reserve champion with 220 points.

“It’s nice to return the favor because he’s done it to me on several occasions,” said a smiling Sam Shepard about the win over his son, Austin.

Snazzy Easter Bunny had won the go-round handily with 224 points. But Sam Shepard knew that Dees Mr Charles, open gelding champion of the NCHA Super Stakes, was up to the task in the finals, if he cut the right cattle.

By the time Dees Mr Charles rode to the herd, as the 13th draw in the last set of cattle, Shepard wondered if there were any “money” cows left to cut.

“The cattle were getting really scarce at that point,” said Shepard. “Our favorite had just been cut and of the other two, my help liked one, but didn’t like the one that I liked.

“I cut the one that everybody liked first and it was a pretty good cow. Then the one that I liked was standing there chewing her cud, so I thought I’d give her a try.”

The second cow worked so well that Shepard held her until the buzzer.

“At that point, I didn’t know anything else to cut,” he said. “With 20 seconds left, Austin started yelling, ‘Stay hooked. Don’t quit.’ And it helped me make up my mind to stay with it.”

Five-year-old Dees Mr Charles, by Its Just About Me, was reserve champion of the 2009 Southern Futurity under Shepard and has earned over $70,000.

Snazzy Easter Bunny scored 220 points for reserve to push her lifetime earnings to over $140,000.

The 6-year-old daughter of Smart Sugar Badger was bred by the Bowmans, who live in Simpsonville, KY.

Libby Bowman showed her to win the 2008 Southern Futurity Amatuer division, and Austin Shepard rode her as reserve champion of the 2009 Tunica Classic and placed third with her in the 2010 Augusta Classic.

“She showed a lot of talent early on and she’s got a lot of grit to her,” said Mike Bowman, who showed the mare’s mother, Oh Cay Shez Snazzy, as fifth place finalist in the 2002 NCHA Eastern National Championships, where Zeke Entz rode her as reserve champion of the $10,000 Novice. Oh Cay Shez Snazzy earned $95,000 during her career.

“We consider ourselves pretty dang lucky for small-time breeders,” said Bowman, who noted that a recipient mare presented them with Snazzy Easter Bunny’s first foal, a High Brow CD colt, just seven days ago.

Banner year

The NCHA Eastern National Championships, presented by 6666 Ranch of Guthrie, TX, has returned to Jackson, MS, marking the largest turnout in the event’s 25-year history.

A record 1,128 contestants will compete for more that $450,000. Entries are up 24% from last year’s total of 909.