WYATT FISHER WINS 2015 NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL RODEO REINED COW HORSE CHAMPIONSHIP
July 30, 2015
Wyatt Fisher and Nu Cash Cutter, the NHSFR Reined Cow Horse Champions
For the first time in the event’s 67-year history, the National High School Finals Rodeo featured reined cow horse as one of its events. 17-year-old Wyatt Fisher, Nipomo, California, won the inaugural reined cow horse championship Friday, July 17, in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
“I’m still in shock. It’s a great feeling. My horse was great,” Fisher said, smiling, as he accepted his awards and stood alongside 19 other reined cow horse short-go qualifiers for a group photo.
With approximately 100 contestants competing in reined cow horse at the National High School Finals Rodeo, it is believed to be the largest youth cow horse class ever held at any event.
Fisher, who has a strong background as a National Reined Cow Horse Association Youth competitor, appreciated the tough competition and the skill of his fellow contestants, many of whom he had never met or shown against.
“In the first go-round, it was pretty scary. I didn’t know there was going to be this kind of horseflesh. It was wonderful – I was happy to see it, though.”
Fisher rode Nu Cash Cutter (Smart Cash Cutter x Nu Cashlynn Rose x Nu Cash) a 2004 gelding owned by his parents, JJ and Teresa Fisher, to the title. He thanked his mom and dad, who are both avid reined cow horse competitors, as well as NRCHA professional trainers Russell Probert and Justin Wright.
The reined cow horse champion was determined by the total score on three go-rounds. Of the 100 contestants, the top 20 after two go-rounds advanced to the short go. Fisher was in the top four in the first go; won the second go; and also won the short go, which gave him the championship with a total score of 885. Fisher’s prizes included Gist custom buckles for the top placings in the go-rounds and the championship, and a special trophy from the National Reining Horse Association for the top rein work score, a 146.5, in the short go.
Reined cow horse was added to the National High School Rodeo event lineup in 2014. The NRCHA has helped the NHSRA implement the new event over the past year, with support from leading sponsor Carol Rose Quarter Horses, as well as Bluebonnet Feeds and Jerry Kimmel.
Rose, who was on hand in Rock Springs to cheer on the reined cow horse contestants, was impressed by the grit and horsemanship of all the contestants.
“I was just amazed by what I saw in the arena. Those kids are phenomenal riders, and I was whooping and hollering for every single one of them. I am so proud to be a part of this, and I believe it will be great for the future of our sport,” Rose said.
For more information about the National High School Finals Rodeo, including complete results, visit www.NHSRA.com.
RIEKEN AND REMSBURG HIT RENO RODEO INVITATIONAL LADIES ONLY JACKPOT
By Kendra Santos
Photos by Allen’s Rodeo Photos
July 29, 2015
Reno Rodeo Invitational Ladies Open Producer Perry Di Loreto presented 2015 RRI Ladies Only Champs Sissy Rieken, left, and Jessy Remsburg, right, a truckload of prizes in addition to their champions’ checks.
It was a long trek from Texas to Nevada, but Texan Sissy Rieken and Alabaman Jessy Remsburg made the 30-plus-hour drive pay by dominating the 2015 Reno Rodeo Invitational Ladies Only to the tune of $33,875 for the team June 24 at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
Rieken of Arp, Texas, and Remsburg, who calls Boligee, Ala., home, roped four steers in 39.41 seconds to top the 113-team field at the ninth annual event. In addition to the loot, the winners also were awarded Circle Y saddles, Gist buckles, Kelly Slayton/Weaver Leather horse blankets, Weaver ball caps, My Girl and I gift baskets and EZ Wash wands.
“I’ve entered the Reno Rodeo Invitational before, but this was my first year I’ve entered the Ladies Only,” Rieken said. “These are great ropings for a great cause. The facility’s great and the cattle are great. I loved it, and I will be back next year.”
The cause Rieken refers to is the Nevada Military Support Alliance, which recognizes and supports the men and women of Nevada’s armed forces, veterans and their families. When Rieken and Remsburg finished fourth in the first round at the Reno Rodeo Invitational June 23, Rieken donated her half—$3,000—to the NMSA.
“I’m a Christian, so whatever money I have is God’s money,” said Rieken, who lives in Arp, which is in East Texas, with her husband, Rowdy, and their 14-year-old son, Riley. “We give 10 percent of everything we win to something—to charity, a church or somebody. Our church has an amateur rodeo every year, so we donate added money to that. The Nevada Military Support Alliance is a really good cause, so that’s what we did in Reno.”
The Reno Rodeo Invitational and the Wildfire Ladies Open in Salado, Texas, are two of the biggest all-girl ropings in the country, and Remsburg won them both this year. She won the 2015 Wildfire Ladies Open heeling for Beverly Robbins.
“Salado’s a lot closer to home, but it was sure fun to get to come to Reno,” Remsburg said. “I’ll come again next year. Winning this roping is a big deal. It means a lot to me. It was fun to come out here and do this. It’s an awesome roping and I had fun.”
Di Loreto makes sure everyone who enters the RRI Ladies Only has fun. At check-in every roper who entered the 2015 RRI Ladies Only received a Wrangler/Circle Y rope bag and special discount offers from Wrangler, D Bar M, Bayou West and Lone Star Ropes. And there’s a short round for everyone, even the teams who miss their first three steers.
Rieken and Remsburg hadn’t roped together much before. They’d entered one other roping, and Rieken drove 14 hours roundtrip to practice for a couple days with Remsburg before they headed West to Reno.
“Jessy’s an awesome heeler,” Rieken said. “She’s great. I was so blessed to get her to rope with me out here. I texted her awhile back about roping here, she said yes and I was so grateful. Hopefully I’ll be back next year with Jessy.”
“Sissy ropes outstanding and handles steers awesome,” Remsburg said. “She’s a great partner, and she’s a really good person. I didn’t know her very well before this. I had a lot of fun roping with her here in Reno.”
Rieken and Remsburg also made the RRI short round, and Remsburg heeled the steer but he jumped out of it. “I was pretty sick about that,” she said. “Sissy turned eight steers in the same spot every time between the two ropings.”
Rieken and Remsburg don’t have a long history as roping partners, but they have plenty in common in addition to the 2015 RRI Ladies Only title. They’re Florida natives, both were roping in their first RRI Ladies Only and both have a one-track mind for roping.
“Roping is a very big part of our lives,” Rieken said. “I grew up on a ranch, and I’ve breakaway roped since I was 8. I started team roping when I got out of college, and we do a lot of it.”
Remsburg played basketball through high school, but had to have back surgery for a herniated disk that was pressing on a nerve at 17 and, “sports were tough after that. I’ve always roped, and it’s everything to me now.
“I eat, sleep and breathe heeling. It’s all I think about, really. I work for Joel Colgrove, who rides four horses a day and turns 10 steers a day on every horse. So I get to heel a lot of steers every single day. I rope with him, keep his horses exercised and take care of things around the place. Roping is pretty much it for me. I started out heading, and there aren’t a lot of girl heelers, so I set my mind to heeling. It’s really hard for me, and it’s a challenge. But I love it.”
The Riekens own Rieken Construction, and do oil field maintenance. Sissy keeps the books and helps Rowdy in the field. Son Riley ropes, too, and was up in the first round at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa, while Rowdy was roping at the BFI in Reno and Sissy was roping in the RRI and RRI Ladies Only.
“We couldn’t watch him in the first round, but we get to be there for the second round,” Sissy said. “It was kind of crazy. I roped in the Perry roping yesterday and the all-girl today. As soon as the awards are over we’re heading to Iowa.
“From Arp to Reno takes about 31 hours, but we broke it up on the way here going to some ropings and rodeos along the way, so it wasn’t bad. Now that we’re done here in Reno we’re headed to Greeley (Colo.). We’ll leave our horses there, and fly from Denver to Des Moines to watch Riley rope at the junior high finals.”
After placing second in each of the first three rounds Rieken and Remsburg took a commanding seven-second lead into the short round. They had 17 seconds to play with on their last steer, and it was a good thing. They stopped the clock in 16.42 seconds, including a leg on their last one.
“We used nearly every bit of that 17 seconds,” Rieken chuckled. “It was funny, because the steers were chute run and we had the same steer in the first, third and short rounds.”
Rieken rode a 13-year-old bay horse they call Stump. They raised him from when he was orphaned at five weeks because his mom was shot out in the pasture. Stump is the son of the gray stud, Starman, Rieken used to ride, and Rowdy trained him.
“You can head and heel on him, and Rowdy used to rodeo on him,” Sissy said. “Then we switched horses. Stump’s a neat little horse. He’s short strided, he’s easy to ride and be around, and he loves people. I wish I had a pasture full of him.”
Remsburg rode a 7-year-old sorrel horse she calls Cajun. “I bought him at a sale as a 2-year-old,” she said. “He’s just gotten good in the last year or so. I’ve roped on him about three years, but I’ve been competing on him at the level we’re at now for about a year. Heeling has a lot to do with timing and horse placement, and I have a really good horse right now.”
“Everything about this roping is great, and we each won almost $17,000,” Rieken said. “That’s an awesome payout. Everything about this roping is great, and Perry is an awesome, nice, sweet guy. To do this for us is great, and we all really appreciate it.
“I want to thank God for giving me the talent to rope, great horses, my husband, Rowdy, my son, Riley, and the opportunity to do what I love to do.”
“This is an awesome roping,” Remsburg said. “I’ve never been here before, but I had a chance to make it work, so I came. I live near Beverly (Robbins), so I flew to Texas with her, then hauled her horse out here with mine. It worked out to where I could go. It was about a 30-hour drive from Stephenville, where we left from with the horses. It’d be about a 40-hour drive from Boligee to Reno.
“This roping’s worth coming to no matter where you live. A big thank you to Perry and his crew for having it. There aren’t many good all-girl ropings, and I have a blast at them. It means a lot that they take the time to put it on. I hope they keep doing it. If they do, I’ll be here.”
Reno Rodeo Invitational Ladies Only
Round One: 1/2. Tracie Saunders and Lori Ireland; Sissy Rieken and Jessy Remsburg, 7.90, $1,375; 3. Barrie Smith and Bailey Peterson, 7.99, $1,000
Round Two: 1. Marcey Chaves and Taylor Hurley, 6.89, $1,500; 2. Sissy Rieken and Jessy Remsburg, 6.99, $1,250; 3. Vicky Benedetti and Suzanne Williams, 7.82, $1,000
Round Three: 1. Kelsey Nonella and Melia Ohalloran, 6.82, $1,500; 2. Sissy Rieken and Jessy Remsburg, 8.10, $1,250; 3. Tammy Ellerman and Jimmi Jo Montera, 8.37, $1,000
Short Round: 1. Lari Dee Guy and Annette Stahl, 9.64, $2,000; 2. Tammy Ellerman and Jimmi Jo Montera, 10.23, $1,500
1-Steer Average: 1. Lou Ann Smith and Tamara Smith, 5.53, $1,500
2-Steer Average: 1. Allie Berryessa and Ashley Martinkus, 21.55, $2,250; 2. Marcey Chaves and Taylor Hurley, 21.59, $2,000; 3. Lindy Lehman and Abby Estes, 22.51, $1,750
3-Steer Average: 1. Sammy Jo Fernlund and Kim Williamson, 31.46, $3,500; 2. Jacque Ertz and Wende Karnath, 32.56, $3,250; 3. Cathie Twisselman and Teale Dunn, 32.65, $3,000; 4. Connie Gibb Withers and Jenny Turner, 36.46, $2,750
4-Steer Average: 1. Sissy Rieken and Jessy Remsburg, 39.41, $30,000; 2. Tammy Ellerman and Jimmi Jo Montera, 40.07, $15,000; 3. Lari Dee Guy and Annette Stahl, 43.75, $6,000; 4. Amy Lewis and Alison Grantham, 49.49, $5,000; 5. Hailey Kesler and Leigh Sherwood, 55.86, $4,750; 6. Lisa Cunningham and Kayla Tiegs, 31.20 on three, $4,500
LEACH AND HARRIS RAKE IN $200,000 AT 20th ANNUAL RENO RODEO INVITATIONAL
By Kendra Santos
Photos by Allen’s Rodeo Photos
July 29, 2015
Reno Rodeo Invitational Champions Jess Harris, left, and Scott Leach, right, received $200,000 plus a prizeline that included Cactus saddles and breast collars, Gist buckles, Resistol hats, Kelly Slayton/Weaver Leather horse blankets and saddles pads, and EZ Wash wands from RRI Producer Perry Di Loreto.
Anything’s possible when a team backs in the box with a shot at $200,000, and Scott Leach and Jess Harris proved it yet again with their come-from-behind, cash-cow win at this year’s 20th annual Reno Rodeo Invitational. Leach of Douglas, Wyo., and Harris, who lives in Hot Springs, S.D., were the fifth high team back June 23 at the Reno Livestock Events Center and made a solid, 8.06-second run. They did all they could do, but didn’t dream that the final four teams would go down in flames and allow them to win it all after their rocky start.
Leach got his hand caught in the coils trying to dally on their first steer. “I was embarrassed,” he said. “We were 14 with two feet. We were so lucky to stay in the roping, because when I got my hand out I grabbed the rope by the knot. I was not going to let go. Jess saved us. The steer was on a loose rope, and I wasn’t doing anything to help him.
“I was happy with being fifth high team after the start we had. I just wanted to place. My goal was just to get four steers down, and the gameplan was to take it one steer at a time. I just wanted to catch four steers and give Jess a chance.”
“Yeah, I pretty much kissed the $100,000 goodbye right there,” his heeler, Harris, laughed.
Breathless from their traditional Reno Rodeo Invitational victory lap, Leach and Harris were noticeably beaming when they stepped off to uncinch their horses. They stopped the clock four times in 37.7 seconds to top the 199-team field. The box was 19 feet deep, and the scoreline was set at 12 feet 6 inches.
“Where else can you win $100,000 a man in a No. 11 roping?” said Harris, who like Leach also received a Gist buckle, Cactus Saddlery saddle and breast collar, Kelly Slayton/Weaver Leather horse blanket, Weaver saddle pad and EZ Wash wand. “Nowhere else can you do this. I’ve never roped for $25,000 a steer before.”
Leach wore one of this year’s official blue Reno Rodeo Invitational shirts, which were starched, pressed and given to every RRI contestant. Harris had to wear a red shirt, because, “I’m 6’ 5” and there wasn’t a shirt big enough to get the sleeves down past my elbows.” In addition to the Wrangler RRI shirt, every 2015 RRI contestant also received a Circle Y jacket, Bob Scott Saddlery-sponsored RRI back number and additional special offers from Wrangler, D Bar M, Bayou West and Lone Star Ropes.
The champs’ demeanors were on different ends of the nerves spectrum when they rode in to rope their last one.
“I wasn’t nervous,” said Leach, 49, who lives in Douglas with his wife, Sheila, son, Chance, and daughter, Kiersten. “I was just in my practice pen. If I’d thought too much about where we were I’d have gotten pretty shaky.”
“I couldn’t breathe,” said Harris, 40, of the moments before they rode in to rope their last steer. “I couldn’t spit. All that was going through my mind was to keep my space and see the feet, like Clay (O’Brien Cooper) said yesterday (during his Heel-O-Matic demonstration at the BFI).
“Cal and Bailey (Clay O’s daughter) Peterson are close friends of mine. To experience a win like Clay’s had is crazy.”
Like most RRI ropers, Leach has a day job. He works for Clark and Associates Land Brokers as a farm and ranch broker. His boss, Cory Clark, roped at the RRI also. Leach hauled his horse to Reno for him.
“Cory built an indoor arena last year,” Leach said. “So when we got to that last steer today, I looked at it like it was just another practice steer at Cory’s.”
This is Harris’ second act as a competitive roper, and he made his comeback count.
“I used to rope when I was a little kid,” said Harris, who calls Hot Springs home along with his wife, Tabitha, and three kids, Cody, 21, Kelton, 14 and Kaitlynn, 12. “Then I sold all my horses, ranched and started trucking and landscaping companies. I had about 15 guys working for me full time and was feeding a bunch of families, so I bought some horses and got back into it. I didn’t pick up a rope for 10 years. Then I got back into it about 10 years ago in 2005. I don’t have the trucking and landscaping companies anymore. I ranch now, and raise horses.”
Leach and Harris live hours apart, so don’t have much in the way of team history. They made unforgettable history nonetheless on RRI Tuesday in 2015.
“I’m very high on Jess,” Leach said. “When he’s on his game he’s hard to beat. And he’s a great guy.”
“We’ve roped a few times together over the years, but not much,” said Harris, whose RRI day routine included a prayer and round of stretching after every steer. “I kept everything the same all day.
“I talked to my little girl last night, and she asked, ‘Is tomorrow the day you rope for all the money? What time’s the short round?’ I told her about 4 or 4:30, and she said she’d start sending good vibes at about 2:30. I said how about you just send them all day?”
The owners of the American Quarter Horse Association-registered High Money Head and Heel Horse of the RRI receive Montana Silversmiths bronzes by Steve Miller. This year’s RRI horse awards went to Leach’s Flash Gordon and Harris’ Puddin’.
Leach actually heeled (for A.J. Roy) at last year’s RRI, and picked up the 13-year-old sorrel head horse Flash Gordon on his way home from Reno in 2014. He bought him from JJ and Cindi Butler, “because he scores so good and I seriously thought I had to have him for here,” Leach said. “He’s just real easy to rope on. He scores good, runs hard and handles cattle nice.” Cindi Butler is, by the way, the daughter of late ProRodeo Hall of Fame bareback rider and country music star Chris LeDoux.
Harris just bought 11-year-old sorrel Puddin’ eight months before the roping from his good friend Tim Nutter. “I couldn’t afford him, so I did a bunch of dirt work for Tim,” Harris said. “I redid his driveway and put in his sewer. I still owe him a little money on him. Today ought to help. He’ll get paid now.
“I had a heel horse that was my main stick since 2005. I never had a chance to get with this horse before now. It’s rained so much since we started trying to get each other figured out.”
It was Leach’s second straight trip to the RRI and Harris’s first—and last. RRI Producer Perry Di Loreto has a policy in place that excuses the champs for the rest of time. That way, he not only spreads the wealth, but lets more people in on the once-in-a-lifetime experience of winning $100 grand in one day. He’s not a hypocrite, by the way. Perry hung up his RRI ropes after he won the title, too.
“The Lord has blessed us,” said Leach, who after heeling at last year’s RRI, “wanted to come back and head these strong steers.” “God gets the glory. The most I’d ever won at a roping before today was $6,000 or $7,000, so to call this a career highlight would be an understatement.
“I didn’t do any good here last year, but I told Sheila I’d come back every year because this roping helps such a good cause (the Nevada Military Support Alliance). You’re glad you come, even if you don’t win anything. Our son (Chance) wants to join the Marines, so supporting a cause that supports our military is extra special to us.”
It was a 199-team roping, and 102 ropers received RRI checks in 2015. Reserve champs Jeremy Eaton and David Eaton roped four in 39.94 to drag down checks totaling $138,000 for the team. Curry Cash and Don Elms were 42.09 on four for $60,000 for the team, and fourth went to Shane Hilliard and Ty Spring, who roped four in 42.84 for $50,000. Twenty-five places were paid in the four-steer average.
In addition to the four-steer average, there’s a three-steer RRI bonus average and 10 places were paid in that. Happy three-steer champs Kirby Hill and Kelly Tuley, who also won the opening round, roped three steers in 21.31 seconds and skipped town $10,000 per man richer. They were so excited that they jumped off of their horses, dove into the RRI arena dirt bellies first and did the worm to celebrate. In addition to the team’s $20 grand, each partner also was awarded a Gist buckle, Resistol hat and EZ All bathing kit. The D Bar M Fast Time Spurs went to Sterling Kelly and Clay Acuna, who were 5.76 in round two.
The Nevada Military Support Alliance was again the Reno Rodeo Invitational’s charity of choice, and it’s a cause near and dear to the patriotic cowboy community’s heart. Di Loreto, who currently serves as chairman of the organization with a mission “to organize and promote the recognition, support and appreciation of Nevada’s men and women of our armed forces, veterans and their families,” was an original founding member of the NMSA.
Great cause. Great roping. Everybody wins.
“This was just our day,” Harris said. “I practiced three days ago, and caught three out of 30 steers. I was so disgusted. I was thinking to myself it was pointless to come here, but we were already entered. Team roping is such a sport of highs and lows, and both are unbelievable. If you can’t deal with the lows of the lows you’ll never get better. It’s really hard to do, but you have to do it. Those four teams in front of us who went out on their last one are having to deal with the lows of the lows right now. I had to get over that bad day of practice to get to this fairytale.”
2015 Reno Rodeo Invitational:
Round One: 1. Kirby Hill and Kelly Tuley, 7.06, $8,000; 2. Shane Boston and Clint Herrin, 7.12, $7,500; 3. Chad Havens and Brent Mays, 7.43, $7,000; 4. Sissy Rieken and Jessy Remsburg, 7.62, $6,000
Round Two: 1. Sterling Kelly and Clay Acuna, 5.76, $8,000; 2. Michael Riggins and Dusty Lout, 6.66, $7,500; 3. Jeremy Eaton and David Eaton, 7.32, $7,000; 4. Jeff Nielsen and Chris Castello, 7.43, $6,000
Round Three: 1. James Grantham and Cliff Garrison, 5.87, $8,000; 2. Chris Perry and Tony Palermo, 6.46, $7,500; 3. Brian Costa and Skip Stansbury, 6.48, $7,000; 4. Roger Hutcheon and Darrell Bastian, 6.62, $6,000
Short Round: 1. Curry Cash and Don Elms, 7.24, $8,000; 2. Marcey Chaves and Frank Mello, 8.04, $7,500; 3. Tammie McEnroe and Cole Hook, 8.20, $7,000; 4. Jeremy Eaton and David Eaton, 8.21, $6,000
3-Steer Average: 1. Kirby Hill and Kelly Tuley, 21.31, $12,000; 2. Marcia Eiguren and Randy Carson, 24.24, $10,000; 3. Brian Costa and Skip Stansbury, 26.25, $8,000; 4. Shane Boston and Clint Herrin, 26.50, $7,000; 5. Sterling Kelly and Clay Acuna, 27.67, $7,000; 6. Gabe Ramirez and Darrin Finan, 29.0, $7,000; 7. Chance Kretschmer and David Edgmon, 29.38, $7,000; 8. Bill Stuart and Lou Stuart, 30.19, $6,500; 9. Dustin Noblitt and Ricky Bolin, 30.75, $6,000; 10. Jeff Nielsen and Chris Castello, 32.33, $6,000
4-Steer Average: 1. Scott Leach and Jess Harris, 37.7, $200,000; 2. Jeremy Eaton and David Eaton, 39.94, $125,000; 3. Curry Cash and Don Elms, 42.09, $60,000; 4. Shane Hilliard and Ty Spring, 42.84, $50,000; 5. Brennan Harmon and Buddy Simmons, 44.02, $25,000; 6. Steve Taylor and Russell Hild, 45.06, $20,000; 7. Steve Friskup and Thurman Myers, 45.23, $19,000; 8. Marcey Chaves and Frank Mello, 45.47, $18,000; 9. Chip Bruegman and Boyd Supan, 46.25, $17,000; 10. Tammie McEnroe and Cole Hook, 46.65, $16,000; 11. Kyane Hampton and Mark Coonradt, 46.95, $15,000; 12. Bruce Kuykendall and Dean Spiesschaert, 49.2, $10,000; 13. Steve Hanson and Hardy White, 53.52, $10,000; 14. Brady Atkinson and J.W. Atkinson, 55.97, $9,000; 15. Joe Gallegos and Wayne Baize, 58.06, $9,000; 16. Monte Sandvick and Matthew Tyler Thornton, 59.21, $9,000; 17. Mike Zacher and Dan Cross, 59.43, $8,000; 18. Greg Grenke and Glenn Grenke, 59.72, $8,000; 19. Mitch Copps and James Hicks, 60.32, $8,000. 20. Cathie Twisselman and Rowly Twisselman, 63.69, $8,000; 21. Bud Fenster and Danny Cole, 65.12, $7,000; 22. Angel Crosthwaite and Karl Tyler, 66.38, $7,000; 23. Randal Shepherd and Steve Simons, 25.64 on three, $7,000; 24. Jeff Garijo and Nick Wilkinson, 27.41, $7,000; 25. Chad Chester and Daryl Elliott, 28.59, $7,000