1982 Super Stakes champion Chick Tari, ridden by Pete Branch.

The 1982 NCHA Super Stakes, with 34 subscribed stallions, offered a gross purse of $628,266 and an Open winner’s purse of $137,480, an increase of more than $60,000 over that of Stylish Lynx, winner of the inaugural Super Stakes in 1981.

Colonel Lil, the 1981 NCHA Futurity champion, shown by Joe Heim for W.B. Wood, Brenham, Tex., and Chick Tari, the Futurity reserve champion under Pete Branch for Louis Pearce, Jr., Houston, Tex., were obvious favorites going into the Super Stakes. But Blue Lynx drew attention during the go-rounds with a top combined score 437.5 and a 219-point Semi-Finals win. The blue roan Doc’s Lynx daughter was shown by Mike Mowery for Bud Sweazea and Don Parker, owners of 1981 Super Stakes champion Stylish Lynx.

It was a tight race to the finish in the 16-horse Super Stakes Finals, where Chick Tari prevailed with 218 points; Colonel Leo Bar claimed the reserve champion title with 217.5 points under his owner Pat Earnheart, Hernando, Miss., and four horses, including Colonel Lil and Blue Lynx, tied for third with 216.5 points. Dry Dot, one of the third-placed finalists, ridden by her owner J.E. Jumonville, Ventress, La., also won the Non-Pro championship; Lovely Freckles, also third-placed, was shown by Rod Edwards for Texas football legend Bob McLeod.

In the end, Chick Tari came out of the Super Stakes with a $12,233 edge ($255,633 to $243,340) over Colonel Lil, as the season’s leading 4-year-old.

While pedigrees of the dams of early day limited age event competitors varied widely, after 1970, when the full brothers Doc O’Lena, and Dry Doc, by Doc Bar, won the 1970 and 1971 NCHA Futurities, there was no looking back. Doc Bar sons were the ticket to success and Dick Gaines, a bank executive, rancher and non-pro cutting competitor from Byers, Texas, was determined to have one of his own.

Gaines purchased Doc Tari, bred by Tony and Larry Homen, King City, Calif., as a weanling and showed him as reserve champion of the 1973 NCHA Non-Pro Futurity, as well as a finalist in the NCHA Non-Pro Derby. Standing for $2,000 at Gaines Ranch in Byers, Doc Tari had sired some top competitors before Gaines syndicated him for a reported $2.3 million in 1980, and Doc Tari became a Super Syndicate Stallion in 1982.

Bred by J.W. Beavers, Jr., Sanger, Texas, Chick Tari was the first money earner out of Duhon’s Chick, by Joe Duhon, who legendary trainer Matlock Rose had shown to win reining, cutting, and halter events, and to place fifth in the1971 NHCA Top Ten standings. Joe Duhon was by a half-Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse stakes sire, and out of Belva Ka, whose sire was a son of Hanna’s Princess. Hanna’s Princess was also the dam of 1968 NCHA Futurity champion Uno Princess, sired by 1969 NCHA World Open Champion Jose Uno. Uno Princess, in turn, was the dam of One Time Soon, who was dam of 2005 NCHA Super Stakes Open champion One Time Pepto, the sire of NCHA earners of over $13 million.

Chick Tari LTE $260,112, Doc Tari’s top lifetime money earner, was trained by Pete Branch, who had begun his career at 18, breaking colts for Sam Wilson at Wilson’s ranch in Pattison, Tex. At the time, Wilson was standing AQHA halter and pleasure champions Skip A Star and Pawnee Eagle, as well cutting champion Doc Quixote, a Doc Bar son who would also became a Super Syndicate stallion.

While at Wilson’s, Branch also broke and started the Doc Bar son, Doc Wilson, whose full brother Son Ofa Doc, would become a leading sire of earners of over $4.5 million, including 1991 NCHA Open World Champion Bob Acre Doc, who in turn sired 1993 NCHA Futurity champion Bobs Smokin Joe.

Branch left Wilson’s to go to work showing pleasure and halter horses for Louis Pearce, under manager Sonny Rice, who was showing Pearce’s cutting horses.  “I was fairly well up the ladder in the pleasure and halter business by then,” said Branch. “When Sonny left, I was burned out on pleasure horses and Mr. Pearce just moved me right over to the cutting horses, and we did away with the pleasures horses.”

Born in Houston, Texas in 1917, Louis Pearce, who died in 2012, was involved with cattle ranching and raising and showing horses all of his life. He was an honored statesman at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, where he was chairman of the Horse Show from 1950 through 1966, and served as president of the HLSS&R from 1967-1969. A member of the AQHA Hall of Fame, Pearce bred and registered over 350 Quarter Horses, including the 1976 Doc Bar son Especial, who also became a Super Syndicate stallion.

Also a longtime member of NCHA and committed advocate for the sport, Pearce was inducted into the NCHA Members Hall of Fame in 1995. “I was born wanting to be a cowboy and I never quite succeeded,” said Pearce, who had earned $600 in cutting competition. “But I guess the closest I ever got was the NCHA Hall of Fame.”

Pete Branch, who was inducted into the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame in 1994, has trained and shown many great horses since the 1982 Super Stakes, including 1993 NCHA Open Horse of the Year Little Badger Dulce, and Kit Kat Sugar, 2012 NCHA Horse of the Year and son of Little Badger Dulce’s daughter, Sugar N Dulce.

Chick Tari, who Pearce sold in September 1982, belonged to seven other owners before her death in 2003, at the age of 25. During that time, she produced 18 foals, including 10 NCHA money earners and one NRHA money earner. Little Worm DNA, a 1993 gelding by Peppy San Badger, was her top money earner, with a career total of $15,593.