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Foster wins second $20K Non-Pro title

Friday, March 19th, 2010
Diane Foster with Smart Cinch Olena

Diane Foster with Smart Cinch Olena

Diane Foster, a special ed teacher from Harrisburg, IL, cinched the $20,000 Non-Pro championship with a 222-point performance Monday, on Smart Cinch Olena. Foster and her gelding also won the title in 2008.

“The more aggressive I am, the harder this horse works,” said Foster, who benefited from the help of trainer Zeke Entz during the show, and tied for the second-highest score of the go-round with 216 points.

Foster, who used to show reining and reined cow horses, switched to cutting after Smart Cinch Olena demonstrated a talent for the sport.

“His mama was a cutter and he was so much better at the cutting part (of the reined cow horse) that I decided to switch over,” said Foster, who has owned the 11-year-old Smart Chic Olena son since he was three. Rick Jackson trained the horse that was shown by Dell Bell as reserve champion Senior Cutting Horse at the 2007 AQHA World Show.

Foster and Smart Cinch Olena are also entered in the $50,000 Amateur and Non-Pro go-rounds.

Zac Knowles, Springfield, TN, claimed reserve of the $20,000 Non-Pro with 217 points aboard Glows, the horse he rode to place third in the 2008 Eastern National Senior Youth division.

“I knew I had a good horse and a good shot to do well,” said Knowles, 20, a student at Western Kentucky University. Glows, a 9-year-old gelding by Smart Lil Ricochet, was shown through limited age events to earn over $220,000 by then non-pro rider Skip Queen. Knowles has owned Glows since late 2007.

Middleton takes $15,000 Novice/Non-Pro

Lauren Middleton

Lauren Middleton

Lauren Middleton, Flora, MS, who won the Eastern National Non-Pro championship on Widows Freckles, when she was 15, topped a strong field, including her future mother-in-law, Kelle Chartier, to win the $15,000 Novice, Non-Pro with 219 points.

“It was tough and there weren’t many good cows, but he’s such a good horse and smart about a cow, so I was pretty confident,” said Middleton of Cees Little Poo, an 8-year-old gelding by SR Instant Choice, who she showed as reserve champion of the 2008 NCHA Classic Challenge Non-Pro Limited and as a finalist in the Southern Futurity Non-Pro Classic.

This year’s Eastern National Championship has been somewhat of a family affair for Middleton, whose future brother-in-law, Scott Chartier, won the $2,000 Limited Rider championship earlier in the week. Lauren and Scott’s brother, Cullen, are getting married this year, on October 16.

Kelle Chartier, mother of Scott and Cullen, as well as trainer R.L. Chartier, and wife of trainer Randy, scored 215 points to tie with Swiss native Constance Jaeggi and Jason McClure, Hayesville, NC, for the reserve championship.

Chartier rode 7-year-old Miss Rey Hickory, by Dual Rey; Jaeggi was aboard Explicit Lyrics, by CD Olena; while McClure rode SS Shooting CR Cat, by High Brow Cat.

McClure, 25, was reserve champion of the 2007 NCHA Non-Pro Futurity on Jaebars Miss Quixote.

“I got really lucky and cut clean and they were real good cows,” said McClure, who raised and trained 5-year-old SS Shooting CR Cat, one of 22 cutting horses that he owns.

Jaeggi, 19, a freshman at Texas Christian University, who rides with trainer Chubby Turner, was 2009 NCHA Rookie of the Year. She and Explicit Lyrics were also finalists in the $20,000 Non-Pro division on Monday.

“She’s the princess in the barn,” said Jaeggi of Explicit Lyrics. “We just click.”

Robert Fullwood

Robert Fullwood

Fullwood wins $5,000 Novice/Non-Pro

Robert Fullwood, Como, MS, scored 218 points for the championship win in the $5,000 Novice/Non-Pro. Marcy Blanchard, Bebe, TX, claimed reserve with 216 points on Lena Dulces 004, by Dulces Smart Lena.

“My second cow was scary, but I think that’s where my points came from because she had to run and stop,” said Fullwood of his performance on 6-year-old Colored Child, by Playdox.

Fullwood, owner of a construction and landscape business, was co-champion of the 2008 Eastern National $50,000 Amateur championship riding Playdox Honey, also by Playdox.

Photos by Rebecca Overton.

A Track Runs Thru It takes Open

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Catch riding for $10,000 Novice champion Sam Shepard, Brett Davis claimed the Open Eastern Nationals championship Sunday with 222 points aboard A Track Runs Thru It.

Brett Davis

Brett Davis

“She’s got a big heart. I just stepped on her and showed her,” said Davis of the DJ Tracker daughter, owned by Terry Pigg, Collinsville, AL.

“The second cow was not as good as we thought he (woukd be) and we had to work the whole pen to hold it. And when I cut my third cow, I had over 30 seconds left. They paid me for degree of difficulty.”

Davis has won every division of the Eastern National Finals, including the Open division on Son Of Olena in 2001.

Nine-year-old A Track Runs Thru It, by DJ Tracker and trained by Guy Woods, was an Open and $10,000 Amateur Eastern National finalist in 2008 with Shepard and Pigg.
Oh Cay Starlight, a 7-year-old son of Grays Starlight, scored 219 points as reserve champion under Eddie Braxton, riding for Susan Dunne, Clinton, NC. Braxton won the $3,000 Novice on Thursday with Mississippi Cat for Vick Etheridge.

Sam Shepard, placed third in the Open on Dees Mr Charles, who he showed earlier in the week to win the $10,000 Novice championship and the $3,000 Novice reserve title for Edley and Sue Hixson.

$2,000 Limited Rider

Scott Chartier

Scott Chartier

Scott Chartier scored 217.5 points to win the $2,000 Limited Rider championship on Wild Start. Last September marked the first time that the 22-year-old had shown since his days in the Junior Youth division.

Seven-year-old Wild Start, by Hesa Smart Start, is owned by Scott’s  father, Randy Chartier, who placed eighth in yesterday’s Open finals aboard Nita Playmate.

“I showed at the Congress (in September) for the first time and I was everywhere and really rough,” said Scott. “I was a little nervous today, but I was more excited.”
Randy Chartier showed Wild Start as reserve champion of the 2008 Eastern Nationals $3,000 Novice.

Scott’s brother, R.L. Chartier, head trainer for Wrigley Ranches, won the 2008 NCHA Futurity Limited Open on Hay Maker.

Jamie Moore, 18, Saint George, SC, earned 216.5 points and the Limited reserve championship on BSR Cat, a 7-year-old son of High Brow Cat, and earner of over $75,000, trained by Matt Gaines.

“He is awesome – that is the main word,” said Moore of BSR Cat, owned by her father, George Moore, who showed the horse as a non-pro and amateur finalist in major limited age events.

Jamie showed BSR Cat for the first time at the 2009 NCHA Derby where she placed as a finalist in the Senior Youth.

“Yesterday in the Youth I had an awesome run going and I kicked up more horsepower than I could handle and my foot came out of the stirrup, so I was a little shaky going into today,” Moore admitted. “But I was very happy today because I love this horse.”

Cody Hedlund #1 Senior Youth

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Cody Hedlund, 19, made the most of the  opportunity to ride Ray Baldwin’s major limited age event champion CD Boonsmal in Jackson.

Cody Hedlund

Cody Hedlund

Yesterday, Hedlund and the 7-year-old son of CD Olena scored 223 points to win the Eastern National Senior Youth championship. It was Hedlund’s first Youth title, although he was a Senior Youth Scholarship finalist at the 2009 NCHA Summer Spectacular riding Redneck Yachtclub, owned by Phil and Mary Ann Rapp.
Cody, the son of trainer Rock Hedlund, is a student at Weatherford College and works part-time for the Rapps.

“I didn’t want to chase anything, so I cut in the middle of the pen and tried to cut soft and not take myself out of the cutting,” said Hedlund, who had won the go-round with 219 points.

Cheyenne Johnson, 15, Pine Level, AL, claimed the Senior Youth reserve title with 217.5 points scored on Freckles Blue Jewel, as the next-to-last rider in the last set.

“I was really nervous because usually the cows get really tough towards the end,” said Cheyenne. “But it really felt awesome. My horse has never felt so good.”
Six-year-old Freckles Blue Jewel, by Duals Blue Boon, had belomged to Cheyenne’s mother, Erin.

“I hated this horse because I always had to get her ready for my mother and she was really obnoxious as a baby,” said Cheyenne. “But we’ve really bonded this year and I trust her so much, I just love her to death. now.”

Cheyenne qualified for the 2005 Eastern National Junior Youth with Jazzy Little Dry. In 2008, she placed as reserve champion on Freckles Blue Jewel and also qualified with the blue roan mare in the $10,000 Amateur division. Last year, the pair qualified for the finals of the Senior Youth Cutting at the NCHA Derby.

Matthew Dedden

Matthew Dedden

Junior Youth

Matthew Dedden, 12, Burlington, KY, showed A Cat Named Sue to a 223-point victory for the Junior Youth championship title.

“I knew going in to the finals that I was going to have to be strong and work the cattle as much as I could,” said Matthew, a sixth grade student, who also plays basketball and runs cross country.

“I went in and ‘power cut’ to hopefully get a higher score.,” added Matthew. “That’s my term—I find one cow in a herd and push straight toward them and don’t think about anything else.”

A Cat Named Sue is a 10-year-old gelding sired by High Brow Cat.

Garrett Hampton, 10, Rogersville, MO, was the Junior reserve champion with 216 points on Dullays Drifter.

“I really didn’t like my second cow, but other than that everything was good,” said Garrett, who placed 14th in the 2008 Eastern National Junior finals riding Jelly Tracks.
Duallys Drifter, a 10-year-old sired by Dual Pep, carried Garrett as a 2009 NCHA Derby Youth finalist.

“He’s a stud horse, but he acts like a gelding,” said Garrett. “I ride him almost every day.”

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.