Lenas Telesis: 1991 NCHA Super Stakes Champion

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Super Stakes History Spotlight

Lenas Telesis, ridden by Doug Jordan.

Lenas Telesis came to the 1991 Super Stakes with some unfinished business. Shown by Doug Jordan for California real estate developer Jimmie Rogers, the bay stallion had won the semi-finals of the NCHA Futurity with 221 points and was co-reserve champion of the Memphis Futurity, but a major win had eluded him.

 “We were really fortunate to win the semi-finals in the (1990) Futurity, and I felt like we were really ready in the finals,” said Jordan, who had won the 1990 NCHA Super Stakes Classic riding Cols Lil Pepper. “But when I drove out (in the finals), the first move the cow made was hard and quick, and Telesis faded off quick. It kind of surprised me, but I really liked the way he recovered and handled everything after that. I felt I could have done better, but there’s always another time.”

Lenas Telesis finished eighth in the NCHA Futurity, but earned a shot at the 1991 Super Stakes championship title, when he won the second go-round with 219 points, and split fifth place in the semi-finals.

“It was basically a 215 or 216 run,” said Jordan of Lenas Telesis’ semi-finals performance. “But the very last cow was extremely tough and my horse was ready for her.”

Smart Play, the first horse to work in the Super Stakes finals, set the mark with 216 points and kept the lead until Lenas Telesis, who drew deep in the second set, went to the herd.

 “I didn’t go in there aggressive because they were judging low and being critical of any kind of mistake, so I went in conservative,” Jordan said. “I just wanted to go in and have a clean run and let him do his thing. It worked out well. It’s not every day that a 217 wins the deal, but the cattle weren’t helping us much either.”

The Super Stakes win was worth $48,637 to Lenas Teles, who earned a total of $142,430 during his show career.

Smart Play, the 1990 NCHA Futurity reserve champion, owned and shown by Terry Riddle, claimed the Super Stakes reserve championship with 216 points. Terry Riddle had won the 1990 Super Stakes aboard Foxie Merada for Chuck Drummond.

The 1991 Super Stakes was not Jordan’s first success. In 1988, just his third time to be entered in an NCHA Futurity, the 26-year-old relative newcomer won all four go-rounds, one of only two riders to ever do so. Riding Cols Lil Pepper in a snaffle bit, Jordan showed the Colonel Freckles son to scores of 223 and 221.5 points in the go-rounds, 222 points in the semi-finals, and 221 points in the finals, where they tied Smart Little Senor and Bill Freeman. While Smart Little Senor won the sudden death work-off, the first in NCHA history, Bill Freeman was among the first that night to acknowledge Jordan and Cols Lil Pepper for their accomplishment.

“Doug Jordan was the crowd favorite and rightfully so,” said Freeman. “He did a splendid job showing his horse all week, and he has a fantastic colt. But luck wasn’t with him in the work-off.” It was Bill Freeman’s father Shorty Freeman, showing Doc O’Lena in 1970, who was the first rider to win all four NCHA Futurity go-rounds.

Bred by his owner Jimmie Rogers, Lenas Telesis was sired by 1970 NCHA Futurity champion Doc O’Lena. His dam Preliminary Plans was a daughter of 1976 NCHA Futurity champion Colonel Freckles and out of 1972 NCHA Futurity champion Gun Smoke’s Dream, by Mr Gun Smoke. Rogers also bred Smart Plan, the Smart Little Lena sired three-quarter brother to Lena Telesis, who Doug Jordan showed to place third in the 1994 NCHA Futurity.

In the summer of 1992, Jimmie Rogers sold Lenas Telesis to non-pro competitor Tom Mertle of Windsor, Calif., who showed the stallion successfuly on the West Coast to win non-pro championships in the 1993 Northwest Ranch Classic and the 1993 Big D Derby Classic. Mertle also stood Lenas Telesis at his California ranch, before selling him, in 2000, to Strawn Valley Ranch, Horton, Tex. In 2005, Lenas Telesis was purchased from Strawn Valley Ranch, by Buffalo Ranch, Fort Worth, Tex.

Lenas Telesis’s sire record includes 201 NCHA, NRCHA, and NRHA earners of $3.3 million. His richest money earners are Ivory Telesis LTE $166,882 and Mr Tele San LTE $105,219. But Teles Lies LTE $93,206, bred by Cody Hedlund out of a Mr San Peppy daughter, and trained and shown by Cody’s father, Rock Hedlund, has perhaps captured Lena Telesis offspring’s greatest claim to fame, through her Metallic Cat son, Meteles Cat LTE $433,565, shown by both Cody and Rock, and her WR This Cats Smart daughter, Teles Bout This Cat LTE $230,047, the 2011 NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro champion with Cody Hedlund.

Doug Jordan was inducted into the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame in 2000, and gradually over time, he and his wife Amy have transitioned from competitively training cutting horses to a successful program of working with horses and riders of all backgrounds and disciplines to improve their skills.

Foxie Merada: 1990 NCHA Super Stakes Champion

Monday, May 18th, 2020

Super Stakes History Spotlight

Foxie Merada, ridden by Terry Riddle.

The tougher the cattle the better, at least as far as Terry Riddle was concerned, when he showed  Foxie Merada to win the 1990 NCHA Super Stakes. Foxie Merada, a Freckles Merada daughter owned by Chuck Drummond, Pawhuska, Okla., came through the Super Stakes go-rounds and semi-finals with respectable scores, then turned on the burners in the finals.

Working third in the second bunch, she handled her first cut with ease. Then Riddle drove out a cow he had marked as a stinger, when the cattle were being settled. “The second cow was a real testy kind of cow,” he noted. “That’s what I needed to cut this mare on, something that will really try her. She can handle a bad cow. She’s not going to do anything the cow doesn’t do, so the tougher it is, the better she shows.”

Foxie Merada scored 222.5 points for the Super Stakes win, and the Doc O’Lena son, Si Olena, shown by Kathy Daughn for Arrowhead Ranch, claimed the reserve championship with 222 points.

Drummond, who missed the finals while recovering from surgery, concurred with Riddle on Foxie Merada’s style. “This horse can move really quick,” said Drummond.  “On just a soft cow, she’s so quick, she can stop it before it moves. She’s got to have something that makes her go over there and do some hard stuff, for her to look pretty.”

Foxie Merada, out of Foxie Doc, by Doc Bar, was bred by Terry Riddle in partnership with Joe Ayres. When the partnership was dissolved, Riddle kept Foxie Merada, then sold her to Chuck Drummond, in December of her 2-year-old year.

“Terry had just started her on cattle when I bought her,” said Drummond, a third generation rancher, who became involved with the sport of cutting in 1983. “I went more on Terry’s recommendation than anything else, but I liked the way she was built and I liked the bloodline.”

Foxie Merada was a three-quarter sister to the Freckles Playboy gelding Playboy Bee Jay, trained by Terry Riddle and shown by Jim Milner to win the 1987 NCHA Non-Pro Super Stakes, among other limited age events, and to place fifth in the 1989 NCHA Non-Pro World standings, and earn $255,691. Riddle, who had campaigned and stood Freckles Playboy, and bred and showed Freckles Merada, out of 1975 NCHA Futurity champion Lenaette, had shown Freckles Merada’s full sister Shesa Playmate, the 1982 NCHA Derby champion owned by Riddle and Ayres, and saw many similarities between her and Foxie Merada.

“I could see she was a whole lot like Shesa Playmate,” said Riddle. “She always wants to be real tight on a cow, and that’s the way Shesa Playmate was.”

At the time of the 1990 Super Stakes, Drummond had high hopes for a full sister to Shesa Playmate. “We hope she’ll be a contender in the Futurity,” Drummond said of Playboys Mom, by Freckles Playboy out of Lenaette. “She might be better than Foxie, but she sure is going to be every bit as good.

Playboys Mom, also a full sister to Playboys Angela, reserve champion of the 1988 Super Stakes Classic, was never shown, but she left her mark as a broodmare. She produced earners of over $1 million, including Playin Stylish, champion of the the 1999 Super Stakes under Kathy Daughn. Playboys Mom’s offspring were also champion producers, including Moms Stylish Babe, dam of 2017 NCHA Open Horse of the Year Moms Stylish Player LTE $410,692, winner of both the 2016 NCHA Super Stakes and the 2016 NCHA Derby.

In the spring of 1990, Chuck Drummond also began pasture breeding a young stallion he purchased on Riddle’s recommendation two years earlier, during the 1988 Super Stakes. Docs Stylish Oak, by Doc’s Oak out of Docs Stylish, would usher in a new era with Drummond-owned and bred mares, and would introduce “Style” into the cutting horse lexicon, as well. And that is a whole other story.

Peppy Star Rio on the cutting edge

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Super Stakes History Spotlight

Peppy Star Rio, ridden by Gary Bellenfant.

She is officially MNY Peppy Star Rio in the registry of the American Quarter Horses Association. But in 1989, when she won the NCHA Super Stakes, she was Peppy Star Rio, the first horse conceived via embryo transfer to win a major event.

Shown by Gary Bellenfant, and the first cutting horse owned by  Mike and Nancy Young, of Baird, Texas, Peppy Star Rio came to the 1989 Super Stakes fresh from the finals of the Gold & Silver Stakes, where she had tied for fourth place. The red roan daughter of Phantom Peppy had also impressed judges and spectators during the 1988 NCHA Futurity, where she placed second with 219.5 points in the semi-finals, but lost a cow in the finals.

In the first two go-rounds of the Super Stakes, Peppy Star Rio earned matching scores of 219.5 points, to tie Peppy Star Gem, under Paul Hansma, with a high average. A 219-point score in the semi-finals placed her in rich company for the finals, which included the NCHA Futurity champion Smart Little Senor and reserve champion Cols Lil Pep.

Peppy Star Rio drew seventh to work in the second set of cattle, so when Clays Little Peppy and Buster Welch scored 222 points midway through the first set, Bellenfant knew they had their work cut out for them. Just a few months earlier, Bellenfant had won the Memphis Futurity catch-riding Clays Little Peppy for Welch, who was recuperating from surgery.

Peppy Star Rio and Bellenfant had finished tenth in the Memphis Futurity, but the Super Stakes was another story. Working three cows with gusto and grit, Peppy Star Rio delivered a 225.5-point performance worth $55,479. Clays Little Peppy was the reserve champion, and Smart Chic Olena, shown by Bill Glass; Dual Pep, under Pat Earnheart; and Docs Peppy Gem, who had won the Super Stakes Non-Pro Finals with George Stout, tied for third.

“I’ve never had one quite like her,” Bellenfant said, following the Super Stakes award ceremony. “She’s so small and frail looking, I bet she doesn’t weigh 800 pounds, and for her to move as hard and strong as she does, she just amazes me. I don’t think she’s even 14 hands, and she packs me like I wasn’t even there. She’s been that way from the start.

“The only thing that I noticed different about her in the finals was that she really let me ask her for a lot without it bothering her. Usually, she’s so sensitive that you have to be careful or you’ll get her jumping too far or too hard.”

Peppy Star Rio was one of five 1985 embryo transfer foals bred by Crawford Farms, Carrizo Springs, Texas, out of Docs Star Chex, by Doc Bar. Prior to 2004, only one foal per year produced by the transfer process from an individual mare could be registered with AQHA, and it was Peppy Star Rio who Crawford Farms selected for registration.

“Crawford Farms had owned Phantom Peppy, and Peppy Star Rio was supposedly their Futurity pony, when we bought her,” said Mike Young. “We respect Gary Bellenfant’s opinion and we thought it would be a good investment.”

Phantom Peppy, an unshown full brother to 1977 NCHA Futurity champion and leading sire Peppy San Badger, had died following the 1987 breeding season, and was not paid up for the 1989 Super Stakes. But the Youngs, who had purchased Peppy Star Rio in November 1988, paid to subscribe him, in order for Bellenfant to show her at the Super Stakes.

Peppy Star Rio would continue to reward the Youngs in 1989, with a win in the NCHA Derby, as well as placement in four other limited age events. She as also the leading 4-year-old money earner of 1989, and later, as a broodmare, produced six NCHA earners of $316,975, including the Shorty Lena gelding Bayou Shorty (DNA), who won the 1996 NCHA Derby and the 1998 NCHA Super Stakes 5/6 Classic under Bellenfant, for the Youngs.

In addition to his NCHA Super Stakes and Derby championships aboard Peppy Star Rio, and the NCHA Derby win with Bayou Shorty, NCHA Riders Hall of Fame inductee Gary Bellenfant, also won the 1995 NCHA Futurity with Peptoboonsmal, and the 2019 NCHA Futurity riding Metallic Rey Mink.

Aglows First Rio shone in 1988 Super Stakes

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Super Stakes History Spotlight

Bill Riddle on Fannin Sugar.

“It’s a storybook ending,” said Bill Riddle, after capturing the 1988 NCHA Super Stakes championship aboard Aglows First Rio and the 1988 Super Stakes Classic with Fannin Sugar. He also placed third in the Classic on Poco Quixote Rio, the gelding he had shown to win the famous 1987 Gold & Silver Stakes, with a winner’s purse of $1 million.

In 1977, Bill Riddle had given up a nine-year teaching career to follow the path of his brother Terry Riddle, the trainer who had shown Freckles Playboy as 1976 NCHA Futurity co-reserve champion. Bill’s first major win came in the 1981 NCHA Derby on Docs Otoetta, sired by Doc Bar and owned by Albert Paxton.

By 1982, Riddle had become head trainer for Crawford Farms, in Carrizo Springs, Texas, where he showed Freckles Aglow, the dam of Aglows First Rio, as reserve champion of the 1984 NCHA Derby Classic. Aglows First Rio, by Doc’s Hickory, and Poco Quixote Rio, by Doc Quixote, were both bred by Crawford Farms and both 3-year-olds in 1986, when Riddle moved to Fredericksburg, Texas to put together a show string for Fares Ranch.

Poco Quixote Rio and Aglows First Rio were among Fares Ranch’s first acquisitions in 1986, along with 3-year-old Holidoc and 4-year-old Laney Doc, both sired by Doc Quixote, and 3-year-old Fannin Sugar. In addition to Poco Quixote Rio, Aglows First Rio  and Fannin Sugar, Riddle would show Laney Doc for Fares Ranch, as reserve champion of the 1986 NCHA Derby, and Holidoc, as winner of the West Texas Futurity and to third place in the Gold & Silver Stakes.

By 1988, Bill Riddle had earned over $2 million in cutting competition and ranked among the sport’s all-time leading riders. With the advent of pari-mutuel racing in Texas, however, Issam Fares, a Lebanese financier who raced Thoroughbreds internationally, decided to turn his Fredericksburg facility into a race training operation. Riddle, who had agreed to make the switch with Fares, anticipated that the Super Stakes might be his last time to show as a cutting horse trainer.

A week before the 1988 Super Stakes, Fares Ranch held a complete dispersal of their cutting horses. It was Tracy Miller, Trabuco Canyon, Calif., who purchased Aglows First Rio for $62,000 at the Fares dispersal, and when the Doc’s Hickory daughter scored 222.5 points to win the Super Stakes, Miller collected a $58,141 winner’s check. Following the Super Stakes, Aglows First Rio, also third-placed with Riddle in the 1987 NCHA Futurity, continued a successful show career with Miller in non-pro limited age events, as well as with Frank Craighead in open, and retired with $197,002.

Bingo Hickory, shown by Rusty Carroll for H.L. Albright, scored 221 points for the Super Stakes reserve championship and $51,182. Carroll and the Doc’s Hickory son would go on to claim reserve championships in the 1988 Breeders Cutting, as well as the 1989 Gold & Silver Stakes, and earn $178,132.

Fannin Sugar, also purchased at the Fares Dispersal, by Ken and Wanda Jackson, scored 223 points with Riddle for his Classic win. The Son O Sugar colt had been purchased by Fares Ranch for $50,000 at a dispersal sale in 1986 and was shown by Riddle as a semi-finalist in the 1986 NCHA Futurity.

Playboys Angela scored 221.5 points for the Classic reserve title under Terry Riddle for Tony Langdon. The Freckles Playboy daughter, out of 1975 NCHA Futurity champion Lenaette, was bred by Terry Riddle, and shown by him and non-pro rider Langdon, to earn $131,010.

Bill Riddle, currently the lifetime earner of more than $4.5 million, stayed with Fares for several years following the 1988 Super Stakes, but came back to cutting and the NCHA, where he has contributed much to the success of the Association as a director, committee member, and president. He is also among a distinguished group of cutters who have been inducted into both the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame and the NCHA Members Hall of Fame.

1987 Super Stakes: Dry Clean presses new record

Monday, May 4th, 2020

Super Stakes History Spotlight

Dry Doc, ridden by Tom Lyons.

In 1987, Dry Clean , shown by Tom Lyons, earned a record 227 points and became the first gelding to win the NCHA Super Stakes. In addition, reserve champion Oak Mist, shown by Tara Stark, marked 226.5 points. The previous record of 222 points had been established by Docs Okie Quixote in 1984, and it would be 14 years before Dry Clean’s 227-point record was surpassed – by Sunettes Dually and Matt Gaines in 2001.

Owned by Tom and Sue Ryan, Weatherford, Texas, and out of of Snip’s Cherie, by Smoke 49, Dry Clean was sired by Dry Doc, whose full brother, Doc O’Lena, was the leading sire of 1983 NCHA Triple Crown winner Smart Little Lena. Dry Doc, the 1971 NCHA Futurity champion under Buster Welch, had also sired Dry Dot, who had earned over $100,000 in the 1982 NCHA Super Stakes, as Non-Pro champion and third-place Open finalist under J.E. Jumonville, Ventress, La.

At the time of his 1987 Super Stakes win, Tom Lyons was just two years away from NCHA Hall of Fame status, and had a list of accomplishments that included the 1973 NCHA Futurity championship on Doc’s Marmoset; back-to-back World championships on Doc N Willy and Doc’s Marmoset, in 1980 and 1981; the 1986 NCHA Super Stakes reserve championship on Miss Silver Pistol, as well as championship wins in the Gold & Silver Stakes and the NCHA Breeders Cutting. Following the Super Stakes, Dry Clean and Lyons would also claim reserve championships of the 1987 NCHA Derby and the 1987 TQHA National Stakes.

Oak Mist, 1987 NCHA Super Stakes reserve champion, sired by Doc’s Oak and owned by REJ Enterprises, Westlake, Texas, was bred by Boyd Summerhays, Sandy, Utah. Out of Misty Pop, by Pop Up out of Raz Miss Taz, Oak Mist was a three-quarter sister to the Doc O’Lena son Tuff Lena. Tuff Lena, an earner of $9,693, sired 22 NCHA earners of $271,768, including Tuffs Junie. Tuffs Junie is the dam of earners of over $1.2 million, including 2014 NCHA Open Horse of the Year and 2014 Super Stakes champion Junie Wood LTE $525,774, as well as of  of Woody Be Tuff LTE $351,063, the sire of earners of over $4.3 million, including 2012 NCHA Futurity Open co-champion CR Tuff Hearted Cat.

In 1987, the NCHA Super Stakes also marked its seventh anniversary with the addition of the Super Stakes Classic for 5-year-olds, which would segue into the Super Stakes 5 and 6-Year-Old Classic.

The 1987 NCHA Super Stakes Classic featured a stellar field that included 1986 NCHA Super Stakes champion Delta Flyer, with Kenny Patterson; 1986 NCHA Derby champion Peppy Lena San, under Bill Freeman; 1986 NCHA Derby Non-Pro champion Pams Moon Bar (with Tooties Lyons), shown by Tom Lyons; and 1986 NCHA Super Stakes reserve champion, with John Tolbert.

Playboy Olena, sired by Freckles Playboy and shown by Faron Hightower, for Wayne Long, Decatur, Texas, set the standard for future Super Stakes Classic finalists with a winning score of 228.5 points. Pams Moon Bar, by Boon Bar, and Peppy Lena San, by Peppy San, would tie for the reserve championship with 227 points. It would be 31 years before Metallic Rebel, with 229 points, under Beau Galyean in 2017, topped Playboy Olena’s record.

John Tolbert 1954 – 2020

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020
John and Clayton Tolbert in 1995.
Sally Harrison photo.

NCHA received word on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, that NCHA Hall of Fame Rider John Tolbert, 64, Andrews, Texas, has passed away.

Tolbert’s many accomplishments as a trainer include the 1993 NCHA Futurity championship win on Bobs Smokin Joe, and the 1985 NCHA Super Stakes co-championship on Boons Sierra. He also claimed two NCHA Futurity reserve championships, in 1984 on Boons Sierra, and in 1991 on Mr Peponita Flo, and was champion of the 1988 PCCHA Futurity on Lenas First Patent.

Tolbert grew up in Goliad, Texas and studied Range Science Management at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. It was while breaking colts at the famous Scharbauer Cattle Company, west of Midland, that Tolbert attended the Stock Show and Rodeo in Odessa, Texas.

“It was one of the first big cuttings that I’d ever seen,” he remembered. “We got to see all of the greats, but Matlock (Rose), in particular, I never will forget. He was riding (NCHA World Champion) Peponita. I had heard about him and about Peponita, but just watching him warm that horse up was one of the highlights of my life. I will never forget that day. I never got to ride any horses that he trained, but after I got to cutting, I learned a lot just by watching him.”

Tolbert joined NCHA in 1978 and became professional in 1981. He realized his first major success in 1984 with Boons Sierra, and although he never had an opportunity to show a horse trained by Matlock Rose, he did show Peponita’s son, Mr Peponita Flo, in the 1991 NCHA Futurity, where they were narrowly defeated, 224 points to 223.5, by Little Tenina and Greg Welch.

In addition to his 1993 Futurity win with Bobs Smokin Joe, Tolbert also showed the Bob Acre Doc gelding, owned by Ping Gough, to win the 1994 Abilene Spectacular and to claim the reserve championship in the 1994 NCHA Derby.

“It’s really fun being associated with a guy that’s a real cowboy,” said Graham, Texas rancher Gough, after the NCHA Futurity win. “John is a real cowboy and a real horseman.”

Details and arrangements are pending.

Jerry Louie 1934 – 2020

Monday, April 27th, 2020

Longtime NCHA member, Jerry Louie, 85, Chico, Calif, passed away due to an apparent heart attack on Saturday, April 25; according to

Raised on a farm in Kingman, Kansas, Jerry Louie enjoyed success mainly at West Coast events, as well as at the NCHA Western Nationals, and worked tirelessly to support the sport that he fell in love with at a California club cutting in 1981.

“When I went to a cutting the first time, I saw something that was special, and it has had a major impact on my life ever since,” said Louie, who was a three-term (nine years) NCHA Executive Committee member, as well as a Regional Director for nearly three decades. He also worked on many of the NCHA standing committees, including the Promotion and Development Committee; the Budget and Compensation Review Committee; and was chairman of the Non-Pro Committee.

As an NCHA Bronze Award winner, some of Jerry Louie’s proudest moments came as winner of the 2006 Pacific Coast CHA Non-Pro Cutting Stakes, riding Playitagun; winner of the Big D Derby 5/6 Non-Pro on Little Commander Dry; winner of the NCHA Breeders Cutting Amateur on Jokerlena; as well as a third-place finish on Jokerlena in the 1990 NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Classic.

Details for memorial are pending.