Archive for January, 2014

Johnny Mac Sanders, 1946-2014

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Johnny Mac SandersJohnny Mac Sanders, 67, a popular cutting horse trainer from Canton, Mississippi, died Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson.

Visitation will be Friday, January 31 at the Wilcox Funeral Home, 106 Jordan Road, Carthage, MS 39051 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. (Phone 601-267-8081).

Services are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 1, 2014 at Freeny Baptist Church with Bro. Shannon Hall, Bro. Marcus Canoy, and Johnny Barranco officiating. Burial was in the Caldwell (Freeny) Cemetery. Wilcox Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Johnny Mac, a native of Leake County, was a member of Freeny Baptist Church. He was a member of the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, and National Cutting Horse Association. He was past president of Mississippi Quarter Horse Association and Magnolia Cutting Horse Association.

He served as an AQHA judge where he judged Quarter Horse Congress and the AQHA World Championship Show. He also was an American Paint Horse Association judge where he judged the Paint Horse World Championship Show.

He instructed at clinics in Australia and Argentina for AQHA. In 1995 Johnny Mack served on the ground breaking committee for the Kirk Fordice Equine Building and was a member of the Fairground Commission Board.

Survivors include his brother, Jim Sanders of Carthage, and sister, Mary Griffin of Barndon.

Pallbearers include: Steve Ferguson, Tom Hixon, Johnny Stewart, Meredith MCullar, David Russell, Wilson Harrell, and Tom McBeth.
Honorary Pallbearers were: Dr. John Bower, Danny Watts, Joe Johnson, Joey Carroll, and Ben Emison.

2014 Augusta Futurity

Monday, January 27th, 2014

2014 Augusta Champions Challenge

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Trifecta for Austin at Augusta

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Austin Shepard

On Saturday, January 25, Austin Shepard collected his second Augusta Futurity championship title, in a singular sweep with the top three scores, including a 225-point win aboard CD Kual Gun, owned by Kayla Norris.

Shepard also claimed the reserve championship with 219 points on Big Daddys CD, owned by Mike and Libby Bowman, and tied Jonathon Rogers and Cat N Memories for third with 217.5 on his homebred horse, Circle S. All three of Shepard’s mounts are sired by High Brow CD, who Shepard rode to win the 2008 Augusta Futurity.

Earlier in the week, Shepard scored 225 points to win the Augusta Classic on syndicated Bamacat, by High Brow Cat; Gabe Reynolds and Shorty Smooth, by Smooth As A Cat, took reserve with 220 points for owner Doug Secrest.

CD Kual Gun, 2013 NCHA Futurity Amateur Unlimited champion with Norris, won the Augusta Futurity Amateur go-round and carried Norris as reserve champion of the Augusta Futurity Non-Pro division, won by Blakley Colgrove with 221 points on Sassy Lil Sue. Jill Peacock placed third in the Non-Pro riding DMAC Cool Spoon.

Sassy Lil Sue, by High Brow CD, also won the Augusta Futurity Amateur division for Colgrove with 220 points. Colgrove’s sister, Madalyn, placed fourth in the Augusta Futurity Non-Pro on Sassy Lil Sue’s full sibling, Sweet Lil Sue. Blakley and Madalyn, NYCHA youth competitors from Boligee, Ala., also competed in the 2013 NCHA $5,000 Novice Non-Pro World Finals at Fort Worth, in December.

As winner of the 2008 Augusta Futurity on High Brow CD, Shepard collected $30,000 for owners Chris and Staci Thibodeaux This year he was paid $10,200 for the win, but claimed an additional $22,588 in Stallion Incentive earnings for High Brow CD.

Click here for results with sires and dams.

Meradas Little Sue joins the Golden Girls of Circle Y Ranch

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Penny Youngblood and Nancy Pearce with Im Countin Checks

While in her prime, three-time NCHA world champion, 1996 NCHA Horse of the Year, and (at the time) cutting’s richest mare, Meradas Little Sue, commanded the highest price ever paid for a cutting horse at public auction. That was in 2001, when she was 11 years old and Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt sold her for $875,000 to Frank VanderSloot, through the NCHA Futurity Preferred Breeders Sale.

On December 12, 2013, Meradas Little Sue, about to turn 24, again went under the hammer at the NCHA Futurity Preferred Breeders Sale. By now she had produced 27 foals, 22 of which were performers with official NCHA earnings of $1,128,914. Her last foal, a High Brow Cat filly, was born in 2013 and she was selling open, however, her breeding condition was not a factor when Penny Youngblood and Nancy Pearce made the winning bid of $46,000.

“We were actually looking at a daughter of Sue. We never saw any announcements that Sue was selling and we had not perused the sale catalog completely!” said Pearce, co-owner and associate manager of Circle Y Ranch. “After we passed on Sue’s daughter, I was thumbing forward through the catalog and went about ten pages past that mare and there was Meradas Little Sue! My heart stopped, and then I elbowed Penny and said, ‘Look! It’s Sue!’

“We thought nothing may ever happen with this mare reproductively, but if we can get her for a good price, she will have a wonderful loving home for the rest of her life. We may be able to get some oocytes out of her, but regardless, just to have her with us is like Christmas, Thanksgiving and July 4th all rolled into one.”

Two years ago, Youngblood and Pearce acquired their first cutting horse broodmares from Alice Walton’s Rocking W Ranch. NCHA Horse of the Year Boon San Kitty and her full sister RW Sallycat were especially dear to Walton, as the fourth generation of her breeding program. In addition, Boon San Kitty, the earner of $565,504, had produced Walton-bred Rockin W, winner of the 2009 NCHA Futurity.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever have two like them, but I am in the breeding business and it’s all about the next generation,” said Walton, when she sold the full sisters, twins from the same flush. “I can’t breed them to my stallions because Rockin W and The Boon are Boon San Kitty’s sons, and Boon San is a full brother. But I never would have parted with them, if I didn’t think it was the perfect home. I felt it was an opportunity to make sure they were together in the right place for the rest of their lives.”

Two months after the Circle Y Ranch became the proud owners of Boon San Kitty and RW Sallycat, Youngblood and Pearce purchased the young stallion Im Countin Checks, earner of $513,408, from his breeder, Tommy Manion. Five months later, they purchased Quintan Blue, multiple champion and winner of $609,140, along with her embryo by Smooth As A Cat, at the Marvine Ranch Reduction Sale.

Not long after they made their commitment to cutting horses, Youngblood and Pearce began looking for a ranch closer to the I-20 ranch corridor west of Fort Worth, than the original Circle Y Ranch, near Aubrey, Tex., northwest of Denton. As luck would have it, Dave and Clare Capps were selling their Radio Ranch cutting facility, with rolling pastures skirted by lovely wooded areas, near Millsap. Youngblood and Pearce purchased the property, along with venerable One Time Soon, 25, a top producer and dam of leading sire One Time Pepto. In the Summer of 2013, Circle Y also purchased the Peptoboonsmal daughter Poosmal, out of the great producer Hickapoo.

Improvements to the new Circle Y Ranch include bigger barns, paddocks, and mare motels to accommodate 14 broodmares and counting, along with foals, yearlings and two-year-olds. Also, beginning this month, John Sanislow joins Circle Y Ranch as resident trainer. “John worked for Gerald Alexander and Matt Gaines and he’s a great fit for the Circle Y,” said Pearce. “He’s excited about our breeding program and the horses we have coming up, and he will have two of our three-year-olds to show in the Futurity this year, although we will still have a few older horses with outside trainers.

“We wish we had started our cutting horse program years ago,” added Pearce. “We aren’t getting any younger and these great mares aren’t getting any younger. But we can hardly wait to see the Im Countin Checks babies out of these mares trained and shown.”

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

2014 Abilene Spectacular

Sunday, January 12th, 2014