Junie Wood 229-point NCHA Super Stakes champion

Monday, April 21st, 2014

“When everything is really fast, but it’s still slow, it’s brilliant. And that’s what is was tonight for two and a-half minutes,” said John Mitchell, following his 229-point win aboard Junie Wood in the 2014 NCHA Super Stakes.

“Runs just work at times and this one really came together. It was outstanding breakneck speed, but everything was still clean and you could see everything clean.”

John Mitchell marked 229 on Junie Wood to win the Super Stakes.

Mitchell’s only concern was at the end of the run, when the cheering crowd drowned out the sound of the buzzer. “I didn’t know, so I just kept cutting,” he said. “Once it gets really good and you get it capped off, then you don’t hear the buzzer.”

It was the first Triple Crown event win for Mitchell, although he is an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider and an all-time leading open money earner, with over $3 million, and has placed second and third many times in Fort Worth.

Junie Wood, by Nitas Wood, is owned by Glade Knight, who purchased her following the NCHA Futurity, where she was Non-Pro Champion under Craig Crumpler, whose son Josh had trained her. Homegrown Junie Wood is also a full sister to the dam of Woody Be Tuff LTE $351,063, sire of 2012 NCHA Futurity co-champion CR Tuff Hearted Cat.

“She is a special horse for sure,” said Mitchell, who pointed to Junie Wood’s speed and cow sense as two of her best attributes. “If you have the speed she has without as much cow as she’s got, you’ll miss the cow. It is amazing that she can go that fast but still read a cow.”

Mitchell made his first mark in Will Rogers Coliseum as third-place finalist aboard Bobs Smart Chance, in the 1998 NCHA Futurity, shortly after he went to work for Glade Knight’s Slate River Ranch, Weatherford, Tex. At the same Futurity, Mitchell also won the Open Limited championship and placed as an Open finalist on Playdox.

“It’s another dream,” said Mitchell of his 2014 Super Stakes win. “The first dream was that first year, after (Glade) hired me. I was a kid from Australia and he gave me a chance. We had three in the finals that year and nearly won it, and here we are again.”

Mitchell struck out on a new venture several years ago, but is now back in the fold at Slate River Ranch.

“I’ve been fortunate to get to ride a lot of good horses for Glade over the years,” said Mitchell. “And it’s outstanding that I’ve just gone back to work for him. He took this risk and was going to send this mare (Junie Wood) to my place, because I was still working for myself. He said, she’s yours and you take her and we’re going to show her together. And then a week later, we put the deal together for me to go back to work for the ranch.

“I got a lucky break tonight and got to win on her, but she’s Glade’s to show. We talked today about how we double up, but I told him, if anyone gets off this one, it will be me.”

Knight, an NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame member and hospitality industry owner, has earned nearly $700,000, on horses mainly trained by Mitchell.

Mitchell was also a finalist (13th) Saturday on Playin N Fancy, bred by Slate River Ranch and out of Playin N Fancy Smart LTE $338,236, the 2008 NCHA Super Stakes Open champion under Kory Pounds, bred by Knight.

Junie Wood’s score of 229 points was the third highest ever scored in the NCHA Super Stakes. Sunettes Dually, ridden by Matt Gaines, holds the record with 231 points; Third Cutting, with Boyd Rice, scored 230 points in 2009.

Boyd Rice showed CR High Brow Letha, sired by High Brow Cat and owned by Center Ranch, to place fourth in the 2014 Super Stakes with 219 points.

Reserve champion Some Kinda Highbrow

Austin Shepard.

Some Kinda High Brow came into the Super Stakes Finals as a handicap favorite after his 221-point win in the Semi-Finals, and 436-point high cumulative go-round score. And he did not disappoint the fans with a 222-point performance as the second horse to work in the Finals.

“I always knew he was a nice horse, but I didn’t know he was capable of this, until I started showing him,” said Shepard who rode NCHA Futurity champion High Brow CD to score 227 points and share the 2008 NCHA Super Stakes championship win with Playin N Fancy Smart, owned by Slate River Ranch.

“I was partners with Todd Quirk on him and tried to sell him at last year’s Derby, but no one bought him. Then I let Cade show him and he got along so good with him that I bought Todd out of the partnership.”

Cade Shepard, 12, Austin’s son, showed Some Kinda Highbrow as a non-pro semi-finalist in the NCHA Futurity and as a non-pro finalist (14th) in the 2014 Augusta Futurity. Austin also qualified Some Kinda Highbrow for the Super Stakes Open Gelding finals.

“This was the first time that I’ve shown him in this arena,” said Shepard, a leading NCHA open money winner and an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider. “He just kept getting better and better. I never knew he would be this kind of a horse, but he is definitely a show horse.”

Kristen Galyean wins NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Finals

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Kristen Galeyean on ZR One.Kristen Galyean used to favor a Harley, but now her favorite ride is a ZR One. In particular, ZR One, the Peptoboonsmal son that carried her to a 223-point win in the NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Finals on Saturday, April 19.

“He’s been good every time I’ve shown him,” said Galyean of ZR One, who she showed to win the 2014 Arbuckle Mountain Non-Pro Derby in February. “I knew if I could get three good cows in front of him, he would give me a shot to do really good. But tonight he stepped up to another level.

“He did some things tonight I didn’t expect. Extra stuff like Harley used to do. On the first cow, he got on his belly and he’s never done that before. He felt awesome.”

ZR One had already earned a buckle for Galyean last week with a reserve championship in the NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Gelding Finals, where Galyean claimed the championship on Im Reydioactive, who also carried her to tie 16/17 in the Non-Pro Finals.

Kristen and her husband, NCHA Hall of Fame trainer Wesley, who won the 2004 NCHA Futurity on Spots Hot, purchased ZR One as a weanling at the Waggoner Ranch Dispersal Sale in 2010, where they also bought the colt’s dam, That Catomine, by High Brow Cat.

“Matt Gaines had shown That Catomine and she had incredible talent,” said Kristen. “We were looking for a broodmare for our program and she seemed perfect with the way she is made and her breeding and athletic ability.

“She was so strong with her stop, but she could get up and get out. And ZR One is the same way. He stops and freezes, but he can get out quick. Some horses struggle when they stop that big, but he doesn’t.

“We gelded him really late in his 3-year-old year. It was a tough decision, but he needed to be gelded. Once we did, he started betting better and better, and has shaped into a phenomenal horse.”

Galyean won the 2010 NCHA Derby Non-Pro on Harley, sired by Spots Hot and trained by Wesley. It was Kristen’s first win in Will Rogers Coliseum. It was also just her second season of riding cutting horses, although she had shown pleasure horses from the time she was five.

“I feel I have gotten a lot better in the sport than I used to be,” she said. “It used to break me down pretty hard mentally because I was used to being able to perfect what I did. And you can never perfect this. All you can do is prepare and hope you get a situation that you can handle well. That was a really hard lesson for me to learn.”

The Galyeans, who have a one-year-old daughter, Gracelyn, live in Ardmore, Okla. Kristen works for her family’s Tulsa-based Jim Glover Chevrolet dealerships weekdays and catches up with her riding on weekends and at shows, where she practices on Harley, That Catomine, and Some Like It Hott, who she showed to win the 2011 Abilene Spectacular Non-Pro.

Reserve champion Cody Hedlund

Cody Hedlund

Cody Hedlund and Meteles Cat.

Cody Hedlund, 24, Weatherford, Tex., scored 219 points to take reserve on homebred Meteles Cat, a three-quarter sister to Teles Bout This Cat, the horse Hedlund showed to win the 2011 NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Finals.

“To me this run felt better than the one I had won it on,” said Hedlund. “After the first two cows, I knew I had a run going and I wanted to keep the tempo up and not spend time in the herd, so I cut my third cow as quick as I could.”

Hedlund had also been an NCHA Futurity Non-Pro finalist (24th) aboard Metallic Cat-sired Meteles Cat. Teles Bout This Cat LTE $208,196, by WR This Cats Smart, and Meteles Cat, are out of Teles Lies, shown by Cody’s father, Rock Hedlund. Cody also rode Teles Bout This Cat to place fifth in the 2010 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Finals, and to later win seven championships.

“I wanted to do good on (Meteles Cat) because I think he is one of the best horses that my dad has trained,” said Hedlund. “I want to do the best I can to showcase the fact that he trained this horse.

Rock and Landy Hedlund, Cody’s parents, live in Acampo, Calif.

Big Time for TGI Playtime

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

TGI Playtime and Skip Queen

TGI Playtime, shown by Skip Queen for Carroll’s Cutting,Weatherford, Tex., scored 223 points on Friday, April 4 in Fort Worth, Tex., to claim $37,295 and the NCHA Super Stakes Classic win. Creepy Crawler, shown by Luke Huggins for Buster Quirk, and Short N Smooth, with Jason Clark for Darren Blanton, tied with 222.5 points for reserve; each collected $29,266.

“Skip set the pace early on and made everyone come chasing him,” said Clark, who also showed Katz Flash, a go-round leader and the last performer in the 25-horse field, to score 216 points.

TGI Playtime, by One Time Pepto, drew second to work in the first set.

“There were a lot of really good horses and several great horses that could definitely step up and win on any given day,” said Queen. “So it was pretty nerve-wracking to to sit through 23 more horses.

“The mare had been good all week and was definitely on her game tonight. We were able to get good cows cut, in good spots, and they kept the momentum going.”

TGI Playtime tied four other horses, including Katz Flash, with 218 points, the third-highest score in the Semi-Finals. Queen also showed Dirt In Da Skirt, owned by Carroll’s Cutting, to earn the seventh-highest cumulative go-round score (434.5), but was eliminated by a cow in the Semi-Finals.

This was Queen’s fourth NCHA Super Stakes win. His first two wins, in 2006 and 2007, were as a non-pro on Sister CD, who was a 4-year-old in 2006. In 2008, Queen initiated his open career with a win in the Super Stakes Classic, once again riding Sister CD, an all-time leading money earner of $833,214 under his trainer, Paul Hansma, and Skip and his wife, Elizabeth.

Bred by Carroll’s Cutting and trained by Queen, 5-year-old TGI Playtime was open champion at the 2013 The Non-Pro and reserve champion of the 2013 Abilene Spectacular. She also captured reserve titles this year in the NCHA Eastern Nationals and the Augusta Champions Challenge.

“Her eye appeal and her stop, those are definitely her strong suits,” said Queen. “She is so athletic and has the style to go with it that she can make points, when she’s not doing a whole lot. Then she can  get physical, when she needs to.”

Skip and Elizabeth Queen, who live in Allendale, S.C. and maintain a cutting facility in Weatherford, Tex,, are both members of the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame.

Creepy Crawler

Luke Huggins

Luke Huggins had one thing on his mind, when he rode eighth to the herd on Creepy Crawler, in the first set.

“I didn’t want to disappoint Austin,” said Huggins, 27, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Austin Shepard, who won the 2008 NCHA Super Stakes on High Brow CD, and the 2006 NCHA Super Stakes Classic on Widows Intentions, who like Creepy Crawler, is sired by Widows Freckles.

“That was the best I have ever done (at Will Rogers), but none of it is because of me. It’s Austin. I just caught-rode for him and did what he said to do.”

What Shepard and Huggins’ other helpers told him to do, as his run developed, was to stay hooked to his second cow, which he did, until the the buzzer.

“We cut two cows in the Semis and it worked,” said Huggins, who scored 217 points on Creepy Crawler in the Semi-Finals on Monday, then captured the co-reserve title with him on Thursday, in the John Deere Limited Finals.

“Austin won this cutting (with Widows Intentions) on two cows and I thought about that during the run. That was the first horse I ever got ready for him. Cade, Austin’s son, was just a baby, and Stacy (Shepard) couldn’t get the horse’s ready for him, so he asked me. I’ll never forget because I was loping on the wrong lead and Austin had to explain what a lead was to me.”

Six-year-old Creepy Crawler was an open finalist with Shepard this year at the Augusta Futurity, and placed third with Huggins in the 2013 Breeders Invitational Limited Open. Owner Buster Quirk has also placed with the gelding in amateur competition.

Short N Smooth

Jason Clark and his father, Don

Six-year-old Short N Smooth gave Jason Clark and Darren Blanton a scare following the NCHA Semi-Finals, where he had tied Jay Moss Cougar with 219 points for the win.

“He acted semi-colicky, so he spent two days with the vet. But he was bucking when we got him home and his blood work was all fine. He’s a gritty horse.

“I knew he was going to be good (in the Finals), but I was really expecting to do better on the other horse.”

Clark had been a leader throughout the go-rounds on Katz Flash, but drew dead last in the Finals, and had tough luck with the cattle.

Short N Smooth, by Smooth As A Cat, was trained by Paul Hansma, who showed him to place fourth in the 2012 NCHA Super Stakes, at the same time that Blanton placed fourth in the Super Stakes Non-Pro with the gelding, who has NCHA earnings of $196,291.

“He’s really electric,” said Clark of Short N Smooth. “You can feel all the way down to the bottom of his feet that he has ahold of a cow and is really anticipating all of the time. “He has so much integrity and is so big-hearted.

“He cuts every time, plus he has a huge stop and is so cowy. There’s nothing he can’t do.”

Clark placed third on Shesa Dirty Martini in the 2012 NCHA Super Stakes, where he also won the Novice division on the Hes A Peptospoonful daughter.

Non-Pro title for Amanda Standish

Monday, March 17th, 2014
Amanda Standish

Amanda Standish on Divas On Time. Hart Photography.

Amanda Purdin Standish of Baton Rouge and Divas On Time marked 218.5 to win the Non-Pro finals at the 6666 Ranch NCHA Eastern National Championships in Jackson, Mississippi on Saturday.

Cameron Thompson of Crossville, Tennessee and Tracker Jones, took the reserve title with a 216.

While Standish has been a finalist in Amateur, Limited Non-Pro and Novice Non-Pro classes 9 times at the Eastern Nationals, this was her first time in the Non-Pro finals, and her first championship there.

Other career highlights include reserve championships at the Breeders Invitational Divas On Time and at the Cotton Stakes with Pepto Stylish Babe.

Divas On Time is a 6-year-old mare bred by Rockin 5 Ranch by One Time Pepto out of Desires Cat, a daughter of half-million dollar producer Desire Some Freckles.

Career earnings for Divas On Time will tip $89,000 with her win at Jackson, along with finalist checks in the Open and $10,000 Novice, ridden by Austin Shepard.

Cory Lowery tops $50K Amateur

Monday, March 17th, 2014
Cory Lowery

Cory Lowery on JM Sky Mate.

Cory Lowery of Olive Branch, Mississippi, and JM Sky Mate marked 219 for a one-point win over Brad Barker and WH Smart Pepto in the $50,000 Amateur finals at the 6666 Ranch NCHA Eastern National Championships in Jackson, Mississippi, Saturday.

Lowery and JM Sky Mate were celebrating their second championship at the Eastern Nationals. Three years ago, they won in the $15,000 Amateur class.

JM Sky Mate is an 11-year-old gelding bred by Jeffrey Matthews by Smart Mate out of Sky Why, by Gallo Del Cielo. Along with a reserve championship in the $35,000 Non-Pro at Jackson, his career earnings will go over $60,000.

Lowery, who qualified for the Mercuria NCHA World Finals last year in the $50,000 Amateur class, also rode JM Sky Mate to win the $35,000 Non-Pro division at Tthe Non-Pro Cutting in 2012.

Chartier and Spoonful Of Tears rebound

Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Spoonful Of Tears

Lauren Chartier on Spoonful Of Tears.

One day after taking the reserve championship in the $15,000 Novice Non-Pro, Lauren Chartier and Spoonful Of Tears bounced back for a 224-point win in the $5,000 Novice Non-Pro finals at the 6666 Ranch NCHA Eastern National Championships in Jackson, Mississippi, Thursday.  CD To The Max and Michelle Reichart finished second with a 219.

Chartier bred Spoonful Of Tears by Hes A Peptospoonful out of Widows Tears, an earner of $92,000 that she rode in finals at the Super Stakes Classic, NCHA Classic Challenge, Southern Classic and Breeders Invitational, as well as the Eastern Nationals.

Spoonful Of Tears was a finalist in both Novice Non-Pro classes last year at the Eastern Nationals, as well as being a Non-Pro finalist at the NCHA Classic Challenge, Cotton Stakes and Tunica Classic last year. He has earned more than $49,000.

Chartier was notching up her fifth Eastern Nationals championship. She’s won the Non-Pro twice, with Spoonful Of Tears maternal grandsire Widows Freckles, and with Cees Little Poo, along with three Novice Non-Pro titles.

Western Bloodstock expands venue

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Jeremy Barwick

In a move to broaden the market and offer premium auctions at moderate prices for all classes of performance horses, Western Bloodstock Ltd. has expanded its roster to include three new sales, in addition to their premier venues at the NCHA Futurity, NCHA Super Stakes, and NCHA Summer Spectacular Sales in Fort Worth.

The new sales are the Western Fall Roundup, to be held this year on Saturday, September 6, at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana, Ark.; the Big Bash on the Brazos, Tuesday, September 23, at Silverado Arena, Weatherford, Tex.; and the Western Winter Roundup, Saturday, January 10, 2015, at the Oklahoma State Fair Park, Oklahoma City, Okla.

“My intention when we bought Western Bloodstock was to expand our schedule,” said Jeremy Barwick, who along with his wife, Candace, purchased the cutting industry’s preeminent sale company last summer from co-founders Ben Emison and Milt Bradford.

“I felt we needed options to meet the needs of everyone and not just the owners who have cutting horses of the caliber that sell well in Fort Worth. I want to have a market for everyone, with a roster of sales that can accommodate everything from the $2,000 horse to the $500,000 horse.”

The Fall Roundup Sale and the Winter Roundup Sale will include all ages, types, and breeds of Western performance horses, including ranch horses, roping horses, barrel horses, cutters, team penners, reiners, working cowhorses, yearlings, and broodmares. The consignment fee for each sale will be $250, with no pass out fee.

“The facilities for these sales are first-rate – brand new in Texarkana and newly renovated in Oklahoma City – completely climate-controlled, with lots of parking and easy access to major highways,” Barwick added.

Big Bash on the Brazos will be held the day before the start of the $1 million Brazos Bash, a 12-day limited age cutting event held at Silverado Arena. The sale will be limited to 50 horses, aged from two to six-years, that will sell while working on cattle. The consignment fee will be $800, with a pass out fee of $300.

“September and October is a big time to sell horses,” noted Barwick. “Especially three-year-olds. A lot of people are looking for them and a lot of people are selling them.

“There has never been a sale with those same stipulations for aged event horses. If the horse is entered in the Brazos Bash, the buyer can show it that week, plus there are still two or three shows before the end of the year where they can show.”

As a cutting horse trainer, Barwick, 37, has participated at all levels of the sport. He is an NCHA World Champion and Hall of Fame Rider; has won multiple limited age events, including the NCHA Super Stakes and the Brazos Bash; and has bought and sold horses at sales across the country.

“The overall market is extremely strong right now,” said Barwick. “The demand is high, but there aren’t that many horses available. When people find one they like, they know it is going to cost them a little more, but they are willing to pay it.

“Everyone has a different need and hopefully, by adding these three sales on top of the three that we already produce in Fort Worth, we will be giving everyone a chance.”

For additional information on Western Bloodstock’s upcoming sales, including the NCHA Super Stakes Sale on April 19, go to


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