Archive for August, 2011

Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale preview

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Filly out of Corona Chick by Mr Jess Perry

Quarter Horse racing’s top prospects are fitted and polished for the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale on Friday, September 2nd through Sunday the 4th, at Ruidoso Downs.

The famous New Mexico track will close out its 2011 race season with the $2.4 million All American Futurity, on Monday, September 5.

The quality of the Ruidoso Select Sale’s more than 400 yearlings is reflected by the fact that seven of them are out of AQHA Broodmare of the Year title holders – A Tempting Chick (2009); Apollitical Time (2010); Corona Chick (1997); First Prize Dash (2006); Fitting Celebration (2004); Fortune Of Delight (1999); and My Dashing Lady (2008).

All-time leading sire First Down Dash is represented by 18 yearlings this year, including a half-brother to 2010 All American Futurity winner Mr Piloto; as well as a half-brother to 2009 AQHA world champion Freaky; and a half-sister to  champion 2-year-old gelding Jess You And I.

Corona Cartel, sire of four of this year’s 10-horse All American Futurity field, has 29 offspring offered in the sale, including a full brother to 2007 champion 2-year-old Carters Cartel; and a half-sister to Stoli, the 2002 AQHA champion 3-year-old. Corona Cartel is also represented by a filly out of the legendary Louisiana thoroughbred sprinter Hallowed Dreams, winner of 25 out of 30 starts, including her first 16 races.

The 2010 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale showed a 7 percent increase over the 2009 edition, with an average price of $35,048. Topping last year’s at $340,000 was Wild N Fast, a son of Corona Cartel out of Rainbow Futurity winner Wild Six.

The Time It Never Rained

Monday, August 29th, 2011

The Time It Never RainedElmer Kelton’s classic novel “The Time It Never Rained” called to me last weekend, as drought conditions here in Texas worsened under relentless triple-digit heat.

It had been 20 years since I last read the book, and this time, I was especially struck by its timeliness. Not only because of the drought – Kelton’s setting is Texas during the seven-year drought that began in 1950 – but because of some of the hard-wired principles and prejudices that we still struggle with six decades later.

No one understood the struggle better than Kelton, who, as the son of a ranch foreman, grew up on West Texas ranches in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1950s, after graduating from the University of Texas and serving in the U.S. Army during WWII, he worked as a farm and ranch reporter for the San Angelo Standard Times.

“In a broad sense this book is dedicated to the old-time Western ranchman, whose lifestyle gave him an inkling of Heaven and more than his proper share of Hell,” wrote Kelton in his dedication for “The Time It Never Rained.”

On the far side of fifty, Charlie Flagg, the book’s crusty, old protagonist, struggles as much with changing lifestyles, as from the drought. When Big Emmett Rodale, the local banker, advises him to sell his cattle, Flagg stubbornly points out that “there has never been a day since I was good grown that I haven’t owned some cattle.”

But Rodale, also a long-time friend, reminds him, “Tradition, Charlie. Tradition’s fine as long as a man can afford it. You can’t.”

Earlier in the book, when the new county agent wondered if Flagg was “one of the rich ones,” Kelton’s omniscient narrator explained that…

In this part of the country it was often hard to tell the rich man from the poor one by looking at him. The rich man was likely to be wearing patched trousers and run-over boots as the most destitute Mexican cowboy in town. One could not afford to put up a front and the other did not have to.

Charlie Flagg is not, of course, “one of the rich ones.” He is one like Kelton’s own father, Buck, to whom the book is also dedicated. One, as the county supervisor points out to his boss, that has “gone out of style, but the world will be a poorer place when it loses the last of his kind.”

If like me you are fortunate enough to have known some old-timers like Charlie Flagg, you will love Elmer Kelton’s book. If you haven’t known any, there is no better book than “The Time It Never Rained” to meet the genuine article.

Kelton, who won numerous prestigious awards for his fiction, was a master at depicting characters as unvarnished and prickly as the cedar fence posts and barbed wire that separated their pastures.

I also highly recommend two other Kelton books – “The Good Old Boys” and “The Day the Cowboys Quit.”

The Good Old Boys” was also made into a terrific movie (1995) starring Sam Shepard, Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, Frances McDormand, Wilford Brimley, Larry Mahan, and Matt Damon.

2011 NCHA Futurity and Futurity Sales update

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Plans are in full swing for the 50th Anniversary edition of the NCHA Futurity, which runs from November 21 through December 10, at Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth. Special activities will include an historic exhibition; guided tours of area breeding and training facilities; and a once-in-a-lifetime cutting event, which will be announced soon.

Some former equine Futurity champions can also be seen during Super Stallion Saturday, presented by Western Bloodstock on December 10, the day of the NCHA Futurity Finals. The champions will be introduced during the Parade of Stallions that morning and available for viewing on Stallion Alley during the day.

Super Stallion Saturday also marks the last day of the 2011 Western Bloodstock NCHA Futurity Sales, a cardinal venue that annually attracts national and international buyers to Fort Worth. This year the sales are scheduled during the last week of the three-week Futurity to provide six exclusive days of action, beginning on Monday evening, December 5, with the NCHA Futurity Trained Cutters Sale.

“We have and carved out the best days and times available,” said Western Bloodstock spokesman and pedigree expert Jim Ware. “As the Futurity grows, with more classes for more levels, and with the addition of the World Finals, time slots become more precious.

“It costs more to guarantee choice dates and times, but there is no better market for top performance horses than the last week of the NCHA Futurity, and we have designed a schedule that offers the prime days as well as the prime hours.”

Ware also noted that because of the exclusive venue, NCHA Futurity Sales consignment fees are always higher than those of the NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Derby Sales. However, this year, for the first time ever at NCHA Futurity Sales, repurchase fees have been reduced to one-third of the consignment fee.

For information on NCHA Futurity Sale consignments and sales schedule go to the Western Bloodstock website.

Martin Briggeman, Jan. 18, 1921 – Aug. 22, 2011

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

The horses are watered and the hay’s in the barn. Martin Joseph Briggeman, 90, passed away Aug. 22, 2011, in Missoula, MT, after a life well lived.

He was born Jan. 18, 1921, in Deer Lodge, MT, to Martin and Catherine (Blessinger) Briggeman and raised on the family ranch in Jens, along with siblings Bernard, Carmel (Perkins), Frances (Duff) and Don. Their families enjoyed many reunions at “the ranch” through the decades.

Martin’s passions in life were family, horses and horse people, though some of his best friends weren’t any of those. He never met a stranger, and while he suffered from a crippling childhood ailment, he didn’t see himself as impaired.

His father took Martin on a cattle roundup on the Wallace Ranch in Jens, when he was six, and Martin rode Gyp, a small roan mare, renowned for her cow savvy.

“I felt pretty big,” he remembered in later years. “When we came back, Billy Wallace paid me the same as he did Dad, and I felt real big. But Gyp was that good. All I had to do was hold onto the horn.”

Martin attended schools at Jens, Drummond and Deer Lodge, graduating from Powell County High in 1939. He had the highest exam score in the county among boys graduating from eighth grade in 1935, and led the Future Farmers of Deer Lodge to first place in the state poultry judging in 1938.

After high school Martin worked for the state extension service, testing dairy cattle for Cascade, Lewis and Clark counties. He taught Vo-Ag in Fromberg and worked at the Interstate Lumber Co. in Deer Lodge. Con Warren hired him as a herdsman at what’s now the Grant-Kohrs Ranch, but an allergy ended that job.

In 1947, Martin drove with friends to Butte for a football game. Among the group was his future wife, Dale Thompson, a first-year school teacher in Deer Lodge. They were married in Lewistown on June 25, 1949, and lived in Drummond, before Ted Farley hired Martin as foreman of the Two Creek Ranch in Ovando.

In 1957, Martin launched a long career with the State Highway Department and he and Dale made their home and raised their family at Marshall Grade, east of Missoula, for the next 50 years.

Martin was as a founding member of the Western Montana Quarter Horse Association, and served on the Bonner and Missoula County High school boards. He was also active in the Western Montana Fair, and supported his children’s 4-H activities, while working as stall superintendent for many years.

Martin is survived by Dale, his wife of 62 years; brother Don (Georgia) Briggeman of Deer Lodge; children Kathy (Sam) Milodragovich of Butte; Lynne (Stewart) Thomson of Kremmling, Colorado, Tom (Tomi) Briggeman of Kalispell; Kim (Linda) Briggeman of Missoula; Mary (Milt) Bradford of Weatherford, Texas; and grandchildren Sam (Kelly) Milodragovich; Mary Lynne Milodragovich; Pat (Liza) Thomson; Tim (Nellie) Thomson; Adrianne (Mike) Taylor; Malarie Briggeman; Kaci, Kara, Nicole and Molly Briggeman; and Garrett Bradford; as well as 5 ½ great grandchildren.

Funeral mass is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at St. Ann Catholic Church in Bonner, where Martin and Dale were long-time parishioners. Interment will take place Sept. 24 at 11 a.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge, followed by a reunion of Martin’s friends and family. Memorials may be made in Martin’s name to the Bonner School Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1004, Bonner, MT 59823.

J.B. Bash set for Brazos Bash

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

J B BashA live auction including breedings to top cutting stallions and unique items will be held Saturday, September 24 at 7:00 p.m. during the Brazos Bash. The “J.B. Bash” will be in support of popular trainer J.B. McLamb who has been battling complications from knee surgery. The event will be held in the Silverado Arena.

Breedings to Bet Hesa Cat, Dual R Smokin, Dual Rey, Halreycious, High Brow CD, Metallic Cat, One Time Pepto, Rockin W, Stylish Rey and Third Cutting will be auctioned.

Other items offered include a week in a mountain condo, a Joey Jemison saddle, Hadley Reed custom chaps, a Clapper #55 bit, and a ribeye dinner for 25.

Read more . . .

Dr. W.H. “Dub” Worrell, 1920-2011

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

W H WorrellDr. W.H. Worrell, 91, of Brenham, Texas passed away this morning. Dr. Worrell served as president of the National Cutting Horse Association in 1955, and was inducted into the NCHA Members Hall of Fame in 2008.

During his term as president, NCHA held its first Convention, and introduced judging clinics and training films. He appointed the association’s first finance and judging committees.

“When I was just starting out, I became very fascinated with cutting horses,” Dr. Worrell told me in 1996. “I’d always keep one Open horse and a young one that I was riding. And I’d get Matlock (Rose) and some of the top cutters of the day to help me.

“We used to fight and argue and fuss and bet. They loved to get me because I was a dentist. They’d tell me I didn’t know anything (about cutting) and I really didn’t. I just picked their brains.”

As president, Dr. Worrell asked secretary-treasurer Doug Mitchell how much NCHA had in the bank, and was told “Nothing.”

“So I went and got some businessmen and I put them on the financial committee to look at the books.

“Then I put all of the cutters together on the Rule Book. After two days, none of them were speaking to each other. I said, ‘you all stay in this room.’

“Back then, if you lost a cow, the judge might deduct two points or one or four. I said we had to have some kind of continuity. Can you imagine getting all of them to decide? It went  on for days and people weren’t speaking, but we re-wrote the rules and most of them are still standing.”

Visitation will be Wednesday, August 24, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 W. Main Street, Brenham, Texas. (979) 836-4564. A memorial service will be August 25 at 10: a.m.

Ochoa tops All American Futurity qualifiers

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Ochoa, with a time of :21.074 seconds, topped 245 two-year-olds in the August 18 trials for the 440-yard All American Futurity, to be held on Labor Day, September 5, at Ruidoso Downs.

Ten horses with the 10-fastest times from 26 trials will compete for a record $2.4 million All American Futurity purse, including a $1.2 million payout to the winner.

“They probably had me beat about one-half length, but I didn’t have to ask him – he did it easy,” said AQHA Hall of Fame rider Jacky Martin, who holds the record with seven All American Futurity wins, dating back to 1978 with Moon Lark.

Martin, 56, won seven of the 26 All American Futurity trials and in addition to Ochoa qualified three other finalists – Tee Cos, trained by Paul Jones; Denver Pass, trained by Blane Wood; and Mr Ease 123, trained by Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath, who also trains Ochoa for co-owners Jones (Johnny T.L.), Cluck, and Benson.

Ochoa, a $25,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale graduate and third-place finisher in the $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity on June 12, made his third career start in the All American trials with an impressive late run, following a bumpy start, to win by one-half of a length.

“He’s a very fast horse and I expected him to run a good time,” said Gilbreath, who recently won his seventh Rainbow Derby with Cold Cash 123, who was also the fastest qualifier (:20.833 seconds) for the $1.3 million All American Derby, to be run on September 4 at Ruidoso Downs.

Gilbreath has won the All American Futurity twice – in 1983 with On A High and in 1990 with Refrigerator.

2011 All American Futurity Qualifiers

Horse Time Trainer/Jockey
Ochoa 21.074 Dwayne Gilbreath/Jacky Martin
Lotta Love For Robyn 21.145 John Bassett/Saul Ramirez Jr.
Tee Cos 21.156  Paul Jones/Jacky Martin
Jess Cuervo 21.218 Raymond Vargas/G.R. Carter Jr.
Jess Send Me 21.302 Blane Wood/Ricky Ramirez
Denver Pass 21.336 Blane Wood/Jacky Martin
Lethal Volt 21.337 Blane Wood/Ricky Ramirez
Big Daddy Cartel 21.343 Paul Jones/Esgar Ramirez
Bills Last 21.365 Carlos Sedillo/G.R. Carter Jr.
Mr Ease 123 21.395 Dwayne Gilbreath/Jacky Martin