Athena Puddy Cat, 2000-2014

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Athena Puddy Cat died on Monday, January 13 following surgery three days earlier to remove an intestinal endolith. The 14-year-old stallion, owned by Jim Bilbrey, Pikeville, Tenn. and standing at EE Stallion Station in Whitesboro, Tex., developed complications following successful removal of the endolith at JEH Equine Hospital in Whitesboro, on Friday, January 10, according to EE Stallion Station manager Steve Adams.

“He never really presented any symptoms, he just went off of his feed a little bit and wasn’t quite himself,” said Adams, who took Athena Puddy Cat to JEH Equine Hospital on Monday, January 6, for a medical workup and observation. “With most horses, if something like that is going on, they are in a lot of pain. But he wasn’t at all.”

On Thursday, January 9, when Athena Puddy Cat had not improved, he was taken to Animal Imaging in Irving, Tex., where an MRI revealed a large endolith in his colon. “They estimated it was nine inches across and that is just what it was when they removed it,” said Adams. “It was certainly the largest one that I’d ever seen.”

Athena Puddy Cat, by High Brow Cat and out of Athena Accent, by Doc Athena, was bred by Bryan and Julie Stewart, Mesquite, Tex. and purchased by Bilbrey in utero along with his dam. Brad Mitchell trained the colt and showed him for Bilbrey as a semi-finalist in the 2003 NCHA Futurity and to fifth place in the Augusta Futurity. In February 2004, Bilbrey sold Athena Puddy Cat to Suzanne Thomas, Savannah, Tenn., who showed him successfully in non-pro limited-age events, while Mitchell and later Neil Roger continued to show him in the open division.

Athena Puddy Cat concluded his show career at six with official NCHA earnings of $213,029. Bilbrey acquired him from Thomas in 2007 to stand him to the public. Athena Puddy Cat began his official stud career at EE Stallion Station in 2008. Prior to that, in 2005, he had sired six foals, five of which were trained. All five of that first crop became money earners, including major winners Itawtathenapuddycat $291,460; Athena Nuff $102,571; and Lost Wages Cat $86,446.

At the 2013 NCHA Futurity this past December, three Athena Puddy Cat offspring made their mark in Non-Pro competition. Highly Tempted with Brad Rogers and One Man Wolfpack under Kelle Earnheart were Non-Pro finalists earning $26,475 and $20,037, respectively, and Meradas Puddy Cat won the Non-Pro Ltd. championship for 14-year-old Sheridan Clark. Puddy Lil Puppy also won the the Amateur championship for Marco Sacchetti, and Spitfire Kitty was an Amateur finalist under Marty Davis.

In addition to their official 2013 NCHA Futurity earnings, 10 Athena Puddy Cat geldings also earned a total of $28,434 in the EE Ranches, Inc. Gelding Incentive.

“I was on my way to jury duty, when Steve called to tell me that Athena Puddy Cat had died,” said Jo Ellard, owner of EE Ranches and EE Stallion Station. “I was just sick about it. This was his first big foal crop (4-year-olds of 2014). They were so impressive at the Futurity and he was booking a lot of mares for this year.”

According to Ellard, Athena Puddy Cat will be buried in a place of honor next to the turn-out at EE Stallion Station.

By Sally Harrison

Sweet smell of success for Flynn at Abilene

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Ashley Flynn

Ashley Flynn, Weatherford, Tex., won the Abilene Spectacular 4-Year-Old Non-Pro and $10,000 with 218 points on Thursday, January 9, while Brad Rogers and Armando Costa Neto tied for reserve with 215 points. Julie Hansma placed placed fourth with the third-highest score of 213.

Flynn, was riding Cow Scents, by High Brow CD, who carried her as a semi-finalist in the NCHA Non-Pro Futurity. Costa Neto, of Weatherford, Tex., was aboard Ms Regret, also by High Brow CD, while Rogers, Madill, Okla., rode Precious Metallic, by Metallic Cat.

Hansma, showed Dually Hansma, by Dual Pep, out of Capoo, a daughter of Hicapoo, who was bred by Julie and Paul Hansma. Hicapoo is the dam of SDP Hydriven Hicapoo, by Hydrive Cat, who Julie Jarma showed on January 10, to win the Abilene Spectacular 5/6 Year-Old Non-Pro and $10,000 with 218.5 points. Julie Hansma’s daughter, Cade, was reserve champion with 216 points on Chucks Little Pepto, while Lindy Ashlock placed third with 215.5 points on Quejana Starlena.

Jarma’s winnings increased SDP Hydriven Hicapoo’s official lifetime earnings to nearly $85,000. SDP Hydriven Hicapoo’s dam, Hicapoo, earned $446,712 with Paul Hansma.

Cade Hansma also won the 5/6 Year-Old Non-Pro Ltd. championship on Chucks Little Pepto, by Its Just About Me and out of NCHA Horse of the Year Little Pepto Gal, the earner of $490,951. Cade also showed Chucks Little Pepto as champion in the $100,000 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro division of the 2013 Pacific Coast Futurity and was reserve champion of the $35,000 Non-Pro 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro division of The Non-Pro, as well as reserve champion of the Pacific Coast Futurity Non-Pro Limited.


Friday, January 10th, 2014

In an article posted December 30, I incorrectly stated that 2013 NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year Reyzin was the only NCHA Horse of the Year sired by a Horse of the Year. In fact, LHR Smooth Jamie May, by Smooth As A Cat, is the only Open Horse of the Year (2010) to be sired by an Open Horse of the Year (Smooth As A Cat in 2005). While Reyzin is the only NCHA of the Year from the first crop of an NCHA Futurity champion, and one of three Non-Pro Horses of the Year sired by an Open Horse of the Year. Reys Dual Badger, 2006 NCHA Open Horse of the Year, sired Kelle Earneart’s 2010 and 2012 NCHA Non-Pro Horses of the Year, Badgers Perscription and Dual with Style, respectively. High Brow CD, Reyzin’s sire, won the 2007 NCHA Futurity and became Open Horse of the Year in 2008.

My apologies to the connections of Smooth As A Cat and Reys Dual Badger. Here is a link to the corrected article.

Futurity champ Dual Smart Kitty strikes again

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Clay Johnson and Dual Smart Kitty

Dual Smart Kitty, already leading money earner from the crop of 2010 with her $200,000 championship win in the NCHA Futurity, increased her lead on Tuesday with a 225-point victory in the Abilene Spectacular. The win paid $20,000, in addition to $10,000 that the Dual Smart Rey daughter received as a stallion incentive bonus.

Clay Johnson, who shows Dual Smart Kitty for Rusty and Shelley Simpson, Nemo, Tex., now has talented mare pointed toward the Tunica Futurity, at the end of January.

“I lucked into this mare,” said Johnson. “When I went to work for Jeremy (Barwick) after the Super Stakes, he had her pretty much ready to go. I just held her together.” Barwick, an NCHA Open world champion and earner of nearly $1.5 million, turned over the reins of his training operation to Johnson last May, when he and his wife Candace became the owners of Western Bloodstock Ltd. sale company.

Lloyd Cox showed RW Rockin as reserve champion with 221 points; Sannman and Beau Galyean placed third with 218 points.

Monty Johnson, Weatherford, Tex., who owns RW Rockin, was a finalist on the Dual Rey daughter and earned $22,101 in four divisions of the 2013 NCHA Futurity, including the champion’s title in the Non-Pro Senior. Bred by Walton’s Rocking W Ranch, RW Rockin is a full sister to 2009 NCHA Futurity champion Rockin W out of NCHA Horse of the Year Boon San Kitty.

Lloyd Cox also showed Johnson-owned horses Reyvelation, who tied for fourth in the 4-Year-Old division, and Creedence Clearwater, who tied for fifth in the 5 & 6-Year-Old division. Kathleen Moore’s mare Shez Sinsational, fourth in the 5 & 6-Year-Old finals was shown by Cox, as well.

In addition to placing third in the 4-Year-old aboard Sannman, for Galyean and Fults, Beau Galyean was a finalist on Cat Garrett, Reys Over Denver and Red Metallica for Alvin and Becky Fults, and on Abra Cat for Danielle Irlbeck. He also rode Cattalou as a 5 & 6-Year-Old finalist for Curtis Chester.

5 & 6-Year-Old Open

Michael Cooper rode Rose Valley Ranch-owned JJS Catless Merada to a 222.5-point win in the 5 & 6-Year-Old division. Sired by Cats Merada, out of an unshown Smart Little Lena daughter, JJS Catless Merada was reserve champion of the 2013 Cotton Stakes with Cooper and won the Arbuckle Mountain Open Limited with Paul Waters.

Cooper was also a finalist in the 5 & 6-Year-Old Finals on Rose Valley Ranch’s Ruby Tuesdays Jewel and The Finch, as well as Redman GB, owned by James and Gail Hooper.

He Bea Cat, 2012 NCHA Futurity Co-Champion, owned and bred by Jim Crawford, was reserve champion with 221 points under his trainer Tarin Rice. Rice also showed the High Brow Cat son in 2013 to win the Cattlemens Derby and the Southern Futurity, as well as the Cattlemens Derby Gelding division.

Click here for complete results with sires and dams.

Billy Howard Ware – 1952–2014

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Billy Howard Ware passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, January 3, 2014. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, in June of 2013, and fought a courageous battle, remaining optimistic until the end.

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Ware was a National Cutting Horse Association director for Louisiana and successfully trained many of his own non-pro aged event finalists. It was during this time that he developed a friendship with the late Bill Freeman, who pulled on him by his friend that Ware enjoyed recalling.

One day, while they were working together, Freeman asked Ware to do him a favor and work an older horse he had in training, so that he could watch and critique the horse. Without fanfare, Freeman handed the reins of a sorrel stallion to Ware, who mounted and headed to the herd, unaware of what was about to happen. Only when the horse made his first “trademark” moves on the first cow and Ware heard the cheers and laughter from Bill and his crew did he realize he was riding the great Smart Little Lena.

Ware, a life-long resident of Rayville, Louisiana and award-winning sales manager for White Ford Lincoln in Winnsboro, La., is survived by his wife of 38 years, Sara Walters Ware, daughter Erin Ware, daughter Anna Ware Berg and son-in-law Marcus Berg, mother Billie Himel Ware, brother Jerry Ware, and mother-in-law Joy Maxie Walters.

Services will be held on Monday, January 6, 2014, at the First Baptist Church-Rayville with Dr. Eddie Wren officiating. Burial will be in the Rayville Masonic Cemetery under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home, Rayville.

Bill Collins, 1924-2013

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Bill CollinsNCHA Hall of Fame Member Bill Collins of Sherwood Park, Alberta passed away peacefully December 31, 2013 with his family at his side, at the age of 89 years.

Collins was born into a ranching family in Alberta, becoming a livestock dealer in the 1940s. In 1945, he started a successful rodeo career, winning four Canadian Calf Roping championships. In 1955, some ranchers asked him to help out with a cutting demonstration they were putting on.

“It started right there and then,” Collins recalled in 2001. “And I’ve been at it ever since.”

An all-around horseman, Collins offered English as well as Western training and by 1958, he had 70 head in his barn, half of each type.

“I used to ride jumping horses to help the kids and school them,” he said. “I was too busy to operate a place successfully, but it had to be done. I tried to hire people, but in the English field, you can find somebody who can teach well, but they couldn’t ride a horse very well. Then you’d find some who were good horse trainers, but they could not teach.”

Collins cut his teeth with another cutting/jumping enthusiast – and Hall of Famer – Don Dodge, and also spent time with Buster Welch, Shorty Freeman, Pat Patterson and Matlock Rose.

“With all of those people behind you, you can’t help but do well as far as being able to help people become successful riding and showing. They helped me get good horses for these people to ride. It takes the horse to make the person.”

By the 1960s, he was helping cutters across Canada, and in Australia, Germany and Great Britain. In 1962, he gave cutting instructions to England’s Prince Phillip which eventually led to the Royal Cutting Horse Tour in Great Britain in 1964.

He won the Canadian Cutting Horse Futurity twice and was inducted into the Canadian CHA Hall of Fame in 1987 and the NCHA Members Hall of Fame in 1995. He was also the first Canadian to be inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association’s Hall of Fame.

When Bill and Pearl Collins moved to Calgary in 1974, he vowed to have cutting included at the Calgary Stampede.

“She did the paperwork and the announcing, and I got the judges and the cattle and a place to do it,” he remembered. “After a couple years, the exhibition board got behind it and since then it’s just come on steady.”

Collins’ enthusiasm for the sport has helped cutting spread around the world.

“There’s a lot of people, men and women both, who have an interest and a little bit of cowboy to them,” he said. “Whenever you can spark that interest and help them along, it means a lot. When they’re getting started and they have a little success, then they’re on their way.”

Bill Collins is survived by his wife of 39 years, Pearl Collins; his children, Russell and Billie-Lynn of Vancouver; Philip (Shannon) of Calgary and their children, Liam, Declan, and Baillie; his sister, Martha Christie of Invermere and her children, Paula-Marie, Nat, Phillip, and Carla-Jo; his stepson, Gary Coleman of Sherwood Park and his children, Benjamin and Jessica; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Arrangements for a Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. Donations in memory of Bill Collins may be made to a charity of one’s choice or to the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Bill Collins Youth Scholarship Fund.

To send condolences or to share a memory, tribute or photo, please visit


A Reyzin in the sun

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Mary Ann Rapp with Reyzin and Phil.

What could be more fitting than to honor Mary Ann Rapp and 2013 NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year Reyzin on New Year’s Eve, exactly one year after they began their journey? In addition to winning the prestigious title, Rapp and her homegrown High Brow CD daughter also scored a number of “firsts” in the process.

Phil Rapp, Mary Ann’s husband, rode Waco Bend Ranch’s great mare Dont Look Twice to claim Horse of the Year in 2011. With Mary Ann’s title, the Rapps became the first couple to ever earn individual NCHA Horse of the Year awards.

LHR Smooth Jamie May is the only Open Horse of the Year (2010) to be sired by an Open Horse of the Year (Smooth As A Cat in 2005). But Reyzin, with lifetime earnings of $215,725, is the only NCHA of the Year from the first crop of an NCHA Futurity champion, and is one of three Non-Pro Horses of the Year sired by an Open Horse of the Year. Reys Dual Badger, 2006 NCHA Open Horse of the Year, sired Kelle Earneart’s 2010 and 2012 NCHA Non-Pro Horses of the Year, Badgers Perscription and Dual with Style, respectively. High Brow CD, Reyzin’s sire, won the 2007 NCHA Futurity and became Open Horse of the Year in 2008.

“I had her at the (NCHA) Futurity, but made some mistakes in preparation,” Mary Ann recalled about her first show experience with Reyzin. “She’s funny about noises. I tried a few things that didn’t work and I also loped her too much.

“Then I showed her at Silverado on December 31 (2012) and she was really incredible, and we started out in January with a bang.”

Reyzin and Rapp earned $12,000 and the non-pro champion’s title at the Abilene Spectacular in early January. It was first of five major wins for the year.

Less than a week after the Abilene, Texas show, Reyzin was in Georgia for the Augusta Futurity, where she placed sixth with Mary Ann and ninth with Phil in the open.

In early February, Reyzin and Mary Ann were back in Texas, where they won the Bonanza 4-Year-Old Non-Pro. Their next stop, in early March, was the Cattlemen’s Derby in Graham, Tex., where they claimed their third major win in three months. Two weeks later, still in the month of March, Mary Ann and Phil doubled up on Reyzin in the NCHA Super Stakes. Mary Ann placed sixth and earned $22,648 in the non-pro division; Phil claimed 15th place and $18,214.

Reyzin realized her biggest single-event payday in May in Tulsa, Okla., where Mary Ann and Phil again doubled up on her in the Breeders Invitational. Phil claimed the open reserve championship and $49,323, while Mary Ann placed fourth in the non-pro and earned $15,284.

June brought yet another win for Mary Ann and Reyzin in the Pacific Coast Stakes Non-Pro, while July saw the pair secure the non-pro reserve champion’s title in the NCHA Derby.

In August, Reyzin and Rapp claimed their fifth championship in the West Texas Derby, a noteworthy number alone, but especially relevant because High Brow CD won five championships, albeit open, at four.

“She was real trainable and cowy,” said Mary Ann of Reyzin, who she raised and took into her string of show horses at two. “Her mother was extremely cowy and, of course, High Brow CD was extremely cowy.”

Reyzin’s dam, Miss Reycine, by Dual Rey, earned nearly $120,000 as a five and six-year-old for Rapp, who purchased her at five from non-pro rider Robert Graves. Bred by Gail Holmes, Miss Reycine is out of the Smart Little Lena daughter Smart Pudden, who won the Gold Coast Classic and Abilene Western Classic in 1995 with trainer Ronnie Rice.

“Her mom had a really big move,” said Rapp, referring to Miss Reycine. “But she’d drop down in the middle of a turn and rocket across that cow. And it made it really hard for me to ride her.

“Reyzin wanted to do the same thing, but I thought, no, I lived through that once, I’m not doing it again. So I made her stay up as she moved across the cow and not drop down in the middle. She was real willing and wanted to do whatever I asked her to do. I just needed to teach her how to move.”

Rapp and Reyzin were honored for their achievements during the 2013 NCHA Futurity, where High Brow CD was making a splash with his second crop of foals, which included two champions (Ltd. Open and Unltd. Amateur), as well as two open finalists. It was a proud yet bittersweet moment for Rapp, who had sold Reyzin to family friends, Bobby and Lorie Gale, Conway, S.C., two weeks earlier.

“The Gales are going to get to enjoy Phil showing her next year,” said Rapp. “We were pursued pretty hard all last year to sell her. I wanted to keep her and Phil wanted me to stay on her and have an opportunity to win Horse of the Year.”


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