Archive for September, 2018

Dual Pep – 1985-2018

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Dual Pep, one of cutting’s most influential sires, passed away on Tuesday, September 25, at the age of 33. He had been in good health until his last day, and at the end his good friend Winston Hansma was there with him, “as he peacefully left this earth.”

Photo by John Brasseaux

Year after year, for more than two decades, Dual Pep offspring dominated the cutting charts, as do the offspring of his sons and daughters, today. On Sunday, September 23, Dual Pep’s daughter, Tears From Heaven, won the 2018 Brazos Bash, making Dual Pep the oldest living sire ever to have a major cutting futurity champion. In addition, Stunner Cat and CDs Kual Gun, whose maternal granddams were sired by Dual Pep, placed second and third in the same event.

Bred by Nic-A-Lode Farms of Boise, Idaho, and sired by Peppy San Badger out of Miss Dual Doc, by Doc’s Remedy, Dual Pep claimed the open reserve championship of the 1989 Memphis Futurity for then owner Reidy Land & Cattle Company. Not long after that, Bobby Pidgeon, a beverage distributor from Memphis, Tenn., purchased him as a non-pro mount for himself, as well as for an open mount with Pat Earnheart. By the end of his show career, at six, Dual Pep’s official NCHA earnings stood at $302,054.

In 1991, Bobby Pidgeon established Bar H Ranche, Weatherford, Tex., as a training and breeding facility and hired Winston Hansma as manager and trainer. Dual Pep’s first crop of foals, born in 1991, included Smokin Dually, bred by Pidgeon’s Dogwwod Farms, trained by Hansma, and shown by Hansma and Pidgeon to earn $314,705. Olena Dually, also bred by Pidgeon and from Dual Pep’s first crop, was shown in the 1994 NCHA Futurity Open finals by Paul Hansma, who had joined his brother at Bar H Ranche. Olena Dually would go on to win acclaim for non-pro competitor Charles Spence and to earn $289,133.

Dual Pep’s leading money earner, and an all-time leading earner, with $812,942, was Dual Rey Me. Foaled in 1999 and shown by Jeremy Barwick, Dual Rey Me topped the NCHA Open World Championship standings in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

With offspring earnings of $24,032,926, Dual Pep ranks fifth on the roster of all-time leading sires and is the only stallion among the top five with a son on the list – Dual Rey, with offspring earnings of $36,790,588, who died earlier this year.

Utah Vardell – 1941-2018

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Utah Vardell, 77, of Texarkana, Ark., died Tuesday, September 25, 2018, in Texarkana, Tex. Born in Puxico, Mo., he received his Bachelor’s degree from Murray State University and worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad before beginning a career with John Deere Company. He went on to own Green Line Equipment Company in Texarkana with partner Ed Wright, and retired in 2011, after 40 years in business.

Vardell, a longtime member of NCHA and friend to area horsemen and cutters, served 35 years on the Board of Directors and Rodeo Committee for the Four States Fair Association and was also a licensed auctioneer with the honorary title of “Colonel.”

Among his cutting accomplishments, Vardell, an amateur competitor, counted his 2013 and 2016 NCHA Eastern Nationals finals rides, aboard Skylines Short Stop and Ausdun Shepard, respectively, as his best, and was proud of his mare Playgirlisalena’s win for him under his close friend and trainer Brett Davis, in the 2012 AQHA Congress Futurity Open. He also bred Real Plain Jane, by Real Doc, who later produced three NCHA money earners of $236,306, and an NRCHA earner of $40,781, and CA Las Vegas Lights, winner of the 2003 APHA Derby with Jon Burgess.

Vardell is survived by his wife, Jane; son Stan Vardell and wife, Lori; daughter Vickie Steward and husband, Brian; stepson Ryan McBride; one brother, Benny Vardell; two sisters, Linda Faries and Kim Lee and husband, Bob; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of life for Utah Vardell will be held at 10:00 A.M. Friday, September 28, 2018, at the Four States Fair and Rodeo Arena with the Rev. Todd Hervey officiating. Burial will follow in Rock Springs Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5-8:00 P.M. Thursday, September 27, 2018, at Texarkana Funeral Home, Arkansas. Pallbearers are Brett Davis, Bradey Davis, Austin Shepard, Michael Cornett, Jordan Vardell, Branum Vardell, Tim Wright, and Jack McCoy. Honorary pallbearers are Ed Wright, Lynn Smith, Evan Steward, Joshua Steward, and Zach McBride.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Shriners’ Hospital for Children, 4400 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, MO 63310.

Brazos Bash Open Championships

Monday, September 24th, 2018

It was payday for Brazos Bash Open finalists on Sunday and Monday at Silverado Arena in Weatherford, Tex. Tears From Heaven earned 222 points under Michael Cooper on Sunday to score the championship and $20,000 for Rose Valley Ranch, while PG Heavily Armed and James Payne marked 227 points on Monday to earn $20,000 for Michael and Beverly Armstrong, along with the Classic championship.

Also on Monday, Cool N Hot, under Kobie Wood for Paula Wood, and Rollz Royce, with Beau Galyean for Thomas Guinn, tied for the Derby win with 225 points and $19,000 apiece.

Micael Cooper

Dual Pep daughter Tears From Heaven was reserve champion of the West Texas Futurity Open, as well as a Cotton Stakes finalist under Matt Miller. She is a half-sister to Suen You Will See LTE $163,778. In addition to Tears From Heaven, Michael Cooper also showed Judgement Day LTE $117,037, by High Brow Cat, as a finalist for Rose Valley Ranch in the Brazos Bash Derby, and Ripping Ichi LTE $152,401, by Cat Ichi, as a finalist in the Brazos Bash Classic for E.J. and Audrey Huntley.

Futurity Open reserve champion and third-place awards went to Stunner Cat, by Metallic Cat, and CDs Kual Gun, by High Brow CD, with 217 and 215.5 points, respectively. Stunner Gun, shown by T.J. Good for JLC Performance Horses, previously placed as a finalist in the Idaho Futurity. CDs Kual Gun, owned by Jim Vangilder and shown by Matt Gaines, won the Idaho Futurity and was reserve champion of the El Rancho Futurity.

Kobie Wood.

Cool N Hot, leader in 2018 NCHA earnings, with $230,957 , strengthened his bid for the title of 2018 NCHA Horse of the Year with his Brazos Bash co-championship. The Hottish son, bred by Paula Wood, won the NCHA Super Stakes Open with Kobie Wood, and claimed the Bonanza Open and Non-Pro championships with Kobie and Paula, respectively. He also won the Open division of The Open & Non-Pro Cutting this summer with Sean Flynn on board. He has career earnibgs of $266,520.

Beau Galyean

Rollz Royce LTE $144,604, a Dual Smart Rey son shown by Beau Galyean for Thomas Guinn, won the West Texas Derby Open with Galyean, as well as reserve championships in the NCHA Super Stakes, Ike Hamilton Derby, and Cattlemen’s Derby. In addition to showing Rollz Royce, Beau Galyean was also a Brazos Bash Classic finalist riding Bet Yer Metallic, by Metallic Cat, for Jeff Neidhart.

One Alley Cat LTE $94,083, third-placed in the Brazos Bash Derby with 221 points under Cullen Chartier, won the Abilene Spectacular Open early this year with Chartier, and also placed third in the Cotton Stakes Open. The High Brow Cat son also carried owner Hilary Watson to place third in the NCHA Super Stakes Amateur Unlimited.

James Payne

PG Heavily Armed LTE $218,507 has been shown throughout his career by James Payne, for Michael and Brenda Armstrong. The six-year-old Playgun son also won this year’s NCHA Classic Challenge and was a finalist in the Super Stakes Classic. James Payne also showed The Golden Shot, sired by WR This Cats Smart, and Hot Revolver, by Spots Hot, as finalists in the Brazos Bash Derby for owner Kathleen Moore.

Brazos Bash Classic Open reserve and third-place awards went to CR Gotcha Covered and Second Spot, with 223.5 and 223 points, respectively. CR Gotcha Covered LTE $212,190, sired by Dualin Boon and shown by Tarin Rice for Joel Colgrove, has been a finalist in seven limited age events, including the Non-Pro Open, where he claimed the reserve championsip.

Second Spot LTE $321,912, by Spots Hot, won the 2016 NCHA Futurity Open with Matt Gaines and is shown for owners Gary and Shannon Barker by Lloyd Cox. Her seven other Open limited age event finals with Cox include the West Txeas Futurity Classic, where she was reserve champion.

It was Reyning Cats in Mercuria El Rancho Open

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Reyning Cats, ridden by Russ Westfall. Ted Petit photo.

Reyning Cats, shown by Russ Westfall for Jerry and Suzanne Rava, took the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting El Rancho Open by storm with a 225-point win in the six-horse finals.  Hashtags, under Tatum Rice for Hashtags Ventures, scored 216 points for second, and Some Kinda Highbrow, owned by Michelle LeMaster and shown by Gavin Jordan, placed third with 208 points.

Reyning Cats, a 5-year-old daughter of Dual Rey, claimed her second-richest check ($12,780) with the El Rancho Mercuria win, while her Idaho Classic Open reserve championship tops her 2018 limited age event performances. In 2017, Reyning Cats and Westfall placed third in the El Rancho 4-Year-Old Open, and her seventh-place finish in the 2017 NCHA Derby Open ranks as her most lucrative ($20,635) performance.

Westfall, an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider with earnings of $3,129,451, won the 2011 NCHA El Rancho Mercuria Open on Lil Bit Reckless, by CD Royal, and won the 2016 El Rancho Futurity on Bobs Smart Badger, by Reys Dual Badger.

Hashtags, a 5-year-old stallion sired by Metallic Cat, is leading the race for the 2018 NCHA World Championship and is the top 2018 money earner of his crop. His earnings this week as El Rancho Classic Open champion and Mercuria reserve champion will increase his lifetime total to $434,686, making him Metallic Cat’s leading money earner.

Tatum Rice, an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider with $1,867,707, won last year’s El Rancho Mercuria Open championship on Eazee E, by High Brow Cat.

Bill Cowan on Billies Catty. Ted Petit photo.

Bill Cowan of Ardmore, Oklahoma, and homebred Billies Catty marked 226 to win the Non-Pro division of the El Rancho Mercuria. Suzanne Rodoni Silverberg placed second with a 222 on Whiskey Cat, while Elizabeth Quirk was third with a 216 on Cat Sheree.

Cowan, who is in the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame, was racking up his third Mercuria of the year with Billies Catty. They were co-champions with Elizabeth Quirk and Cat Sheree in the Mercurias at both the Pacific Coast Derby and The Mane Event, earlier this year.

Billies Catty is by Catty Hawk, which Cowan showed to win the Limited Non-Pro finals at the NCHA Futurity. The stallion is poised to break the $1 million mark for his NCHA earners, and has already surpassed that when his NRCHA earners are included.

Billies Catty is out of Little Bonnie Blue, by Mecom Blue, Limited Open reserve champ of the NCHA Futurity with Ryon Emerton, and and NCHA Derby Non-Pro finalist with Cowan.

In her aged event career, Billies Catty, now seven years old, won Non-Pro championships at Breeders Invitational and Arbuckle Mountain with Bill, and at the Waco Texas Derby with his wife, Michelle.

In second at El Rancho, Whiskey Cat is an 8-year-old gelding by High Brow Cat out of Jitters Brown. He was previously a Mercuria Open champion at last year’s Pacific Coast Derby, ridden by Russ Westfall.



Hashtags connects with another win

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Tatum Rice on Hashtags. Hart Photography.

Hashtags, leader in 2018 NCHA Open World Standings, claimed his fourth limited age win of the year on Monday with 226 points in the El Rancho Futurity. Owned by Hashtag Ventures of Weatherford, Texas, 5-year-old Hashtags, a stallion sired by Metallic Cat, was bred by Jim Haworth and is shown by Hall of Fame Rider Tatum Rice.

Ichis My Choice, 2016 NCHA Open Horse of the Year, sired by Cat Ichi, earned the reserve championship with 224 points under Grant Setnicka for J Five Horse Ranch Mgmt, Weatherford, Tex. The 6-year-old Cat Ichi daughter has lifetime earnings of over $414,000.

Bet Shes Smooth, bred and owned by Oxbow Ranch, Weatherford, Tex., scored 221.5 to place third with Lindy Burch. Sired by Smooth As A Cat, 6-year-old Bet Shes Smooth, with earnings of $122,702, was reserve champion of the 2015 NCHA Futurity under Burch. Her dam, Bet Yer Blue Boons, won the 2000 NCHA World Championship, as well as the 2000 and 1997 World Finals with Burch, and has produced earners of over $1.1 million, including five that have each earned $100,000 or more.

Hashtags, earner of $424,430, ranks second among Metallic Cat’s all-time money earners. Out of Dual Rey Tag, a daughter of NCHA Super Stakes champion Playin Tag, Hashtags has bankrolled more than $169,000 in the 2018 calendar year with limited age event wins at the Breeders Invitational, Bonanza, Idaho and El Rancho. In the weekend column, he scored Mercuria World Series wins at the Calgary Stampede and the Idaho Futurity, as well as reserve at the West Texas Futurity. Later this week he will also contend in the El Ranch/NCHA Mercuria Open.

2018 Cotton Stakes: “If you build it, they will come.”

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Cotton Stakes Open and Intermediate Open Derby champion Metallic Alley,
ridden by Brad Mitchell. Hart Photography.

It wasn’t a ballpark that architects of the new NCHA class restructure had in mind. But they hit a home run with the new program, which was instated by show management for the 2018 Cotton Stakes, held Sept. 1 through Sept. 9, at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe, La.

The Cotton Stakes realized a dramatic increase in entries as a result of the addition of an Intermediate Level for all divisions. As an example, preliminary results show that 96 horses competed in the first go-round of this year’s Cotton Stakes Classic Open, as compared with 46 who competed in 2017. In addition, 65 of those 96 horses were also entered in one or more of the Intermediate divisions (to be eligible for the Intermediate Level, a horse’s rider cannot be on the Top 100 Rider list for that division).

More Cotton Stakes entries also translated to bigger payouts. 2018 Cotton Stakes Classic Open champion, Somethingtobelievein, sired by Hydrive Cat and shown by her owner Brett McGlothlin, earned $11,000 for the win compared to last year’s champion, Chromed Out Cat, with a $9,000 payout. Additionally, McGlothlin  and Somethingtobelievein earned $5,500 as Classic Open Intermediate champions.

In the Cotton Stakes Derby, Metallic Alley, shown by Brad Mitchell for Dennis Levering, also made an Open/Intermediate sweep. Altogether, the Metallic Cat daughter earned $16,000, with $10,000 for the Derby Open win and $6,000 for the Open Intermediate win.

Money won at the Cotton Stakes also counts toward the 2018 NCHA Horse of the Year race and this year’s Derby saw the top five contenders – Cool N Hot, Dual Reyish, Rollz Royce, Blackish, and The Animal – among its finalists.

For complete results and additional information for the 2018 Cotton Stakes go to

Apocalyptical Jess Wins All American Futurity

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

All American Futurity finish. Gay Harris photo

Sent off as the 5-2 second favorite, following a three and one-quarter lengths win in his All American trail, Apocalyptical Jess broke sharply to win the $3 million All American Futurity wire-to-wire by three-quarters of a length over second-placed Im Jess Special V. No Mires A La Luna was another nose back for third. Raul Ramirez Jr. rode Apocalyptical Jess over the 440 yards in :21.393 to take the 60th running of Quarter Horse racing’s showcase event.

Owned by Bill Robbins, Apocalyptical Jess gave trainer Blane Wood his first All American Futurity win. Blane Wood and his father Leo are the only father-son pair to have both won the All American Futurity. Leo Wood won the 1979 All American Futurity with Dan and Jolene Urschel’s Pie In The Sky.

“It’s more than I hoped for,” said Blane Wood. “We’ve been trying to do this for a long time. It’s the whole team.”

Im Jess Special V, a gelding by Jess Lips, had placed fifth in the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity and was second in his All American Futurity trial. Agustin Silva was aboard Im Jess Special V for trainer Toby Keeton and owner Valeria Racing Stables.

Maiden gelding No Mires a La Luna, by First Moonflash, was sent off by trainer Trey Ellis for owners David Valdez and Bryon Woodard and ridden by Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo.

Rainbow Futurity winner Mm Fourinthemorning, the 7-5 favorite finished fifth.