CONGRESS PASSES AHC PRIORTY BILLS
INCLUDES “EXTENDER” DEPRECIATION BILL
Press Release from American Horse Council
Jan. 5, 2016
The 114th Congress, though it started with the partisan gridlock that has become the new normal in Washington, ended the year with a burst of productivity by passing several major pieces of legislation including a tax extender bill, an omnibus appropriations bill, and a five year highway bill. Each of these bills includes provisions favorable to the overall horse industry that have been priorities for the American Horse Council.
In addition, other bills championed by the AHC have seen Congressional action and could be passed with enough industry support in the second session of this Congress which adjourns in December.
“The AHC works on a diverse set of issues that impact the horse industry, often over the course of several years. For this reason it’s not every day that we see several AHC priorities pass Congress in the span of a month,” said AHC president Jay Hickey. “These three bills included tax provisions, guest worker reforms, and trail programs that will benefit the racing, showing, and recreational segments of the industry.”
The Tax Extender bill, called the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, reinstates three-year-depreciation for all race horses for two more years. It also increases the Section 179 business expense deduction back to $500,000 and makes this provision permanent. The bill restores bonus depreciation for qualifying new property, including assets used in the horse business, such as horses and other equipment, purchased and placed in service during 2015 through 2019. The bill also restores and makes permanent favorable tax treatment for land donated for conservation purposes, particularly land donated by farmers and ranchers, like horse owners and breeders.
“These provisions benefit racing and everyone who is in the horse business. Importantly, horse businesses, breeders, and farms can now make long term plans to take advantage of these tax provisions instead of just hoping Congress will extend them for one year, as has been the case recently,” continued Hickey.
The omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the government until September 30, 2016, also includes important H-2B temporary worker changes. The bill rolls back parts of a burdensome new H-2B rule and will make it easier for horse industry employers to use the program when no American workers can be found.
“Horse industry employers, mainly horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs at racetracks and horse shows, often have to turn to this program for workers. They do this because they have no choice and this program has gotten progressively more expensive and harder to use. Most H-2B workers in the industry are directly responsible for the care of the horses upon which the entire horse industry is dependent and without them thousands of American horse industry jobs could be lost,” said AHC vice president of government affairs Ben Pendergrass.
“We have been working on fixing the shortcomings of the H-2B program for years, both through the regulatory process, standalone legislation, and the appropriations process with a coalition of other users of the program. There is still work that needs to be done, but this bill will improve the program,” said Pendergrass.
The AHC says the end- of- the- year legislative sprint to the finish line also saw reauthorization of two programs important to recreational riders, the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
The multi-year national highway bill recently signed by the president known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or the FAST Act, reauthorizes RTP for the next five years and provides $85 million annually for the program. RTP provides funding directly to the states for recreational trails and trail-related facilities for all recreational trail users and has greatly benefited equestrians.
The omnibus appropriations bill reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for three years with funding of $450 million for FY 2016. The program, which expired on October 1, 2015, provides funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water for recreation and the protection of natural resources and helps provide equestrians with increased recreational trail riding opportunities.
“We are very pleased RTP was included in the FAST Act. Every time a multi-year national highway bill is debated there is always an attempt to eliminate this program and this time was no different,” said Pendergrass. “The AHC has advocated for the RTP program since its inception and grassroots support from recreational trail users, including many equestrians, played an important role in making sure RTP was included in bill.”
“This has been a productive legislative session for the AHC and horse industry. In addition to these important legislative victories the AHC also advanced several other important bills. The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act) (S.1121/ H.R.3268) that would end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses was re-introduced and currently has 232 co-sponsors in the House and 48 in the Senate. Additionally, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (H.R. 845/S.1110) that would help improve trails on National Forests has been gaining momentum and has been called ‘the most bi-partisan bill in Congress’,” said Hickey. “We will be working on these bills and other issues that impact the entire horse industry in 2016.”
DEBBY O’BRIEN PASSES AWAY WEDNESDAY, DEC. 16
Dec. 17, 2015
Debby O’Brien, 78, Weatherford, Texas, lost her life on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, from advanced breast cancer that almost no one knew that she had. Debby had a very successful life that ranged to producing plays and large productions in California to carrying cutting horse semen between veterinarians in the North Texas area.
The following tribute was posted on Facebook from the family of Debby O’Brien:
It is with sad hearts that we’re informing you that Debby passed away tonight. Debby lived every day her own way and she chose to leave this life with pride and dignity. after she declined more extreme life-support measures, she began to struggle to breathe. The doctors and nurses did their best to keep her comfortable and after a short while, she slipped away without struggle or pain. We know that Debby kept her cancer a secret from many of you as she never wanted anyone to fret about her. That said, when the secret got out, the massive flood of of support and prayers was a testament to how many lives she touched.
One of the ER nurses told us that when Debby was speaking to the hospital chaplain – whose name happened to be Charlie (Charlie Chaplin) – Debby wrote, “My soul is content. I have lived 78 wonderful years.” How true! The nurse made a point of saying that she has rarely seen anyone so comfortable and confident at the end of life … clearly a sign of someone who lived with few regrets.
Countless stories about Debby’s crazy driving, or how she was the mother figure for so many, have been shared in the past few days. It is our hope we can continue to share these stories and memories here on Facebook and elsewhere as a way to remember the Debby we all loved so dearly.
Debby lived larger than life and her passing has left an equal-sized empty space for those who knew and add her. While she would not be happy knowing that her death caused anyone to be sad, it is natural, of course, that we will all miss her terribly. We’re still figuring out how best to celebrate Debby’s life, which we likely happen in January; we will keep people up to date as memorial/celebration plans develop.
Debby would want everyone to have a very Merry Christmas with as few tears as possible. So let’s all raise a glass of eggnog when the time for toasts come and know that there are many many glasses being raised in her memory by those who loved her.
P.S. Debby’s three canine friends have homes to go to and will be well taken care of.
The O’Brien family
PLAYGUN, A LEGEND IN THE PERFORMANCE HORSE INDUSTRY, PUT DOWN AT AGE 23
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Dec. 14, 2015
Playgun, a legendary 1992 gray stallion was humanely put down on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at Hartman’s Reproduction Center in Whitesboro, Texas, and buried at the Pieper Ranch in Marietta, Okla., at the top of his pasture next to the pasture and grave of one of their great reining sires Texas Kicker.
“There’s a sign between the two pastures, with the one on Playgun’s side having his name on it, and the one on Texas Kicker’s side, having his name.
Bred by Wes Shahan, Pleasanton, Texas, the beautiful gray stallion had a royal pedigree, being sired by Freckles Playboy, one of the greatest sires of all times with offspring winning over $28 million, taking the Reserve Championship of the 1976 NCHA Futurity and was recently inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame.
The beginning of Playgun’s legacy:
Playgun was out of Miss Silver Pistol, a daughter of Doc’s Hickory out of Pistol Lady 2 Be, a roping mare sired by King’s Pistol by King, who earned $512,000 during her lifetime, including the 1985 NCHA Non-Pro Futurity, with her owner, Wes Shahan, riding her. She went on to win the 1986 Gold & Silver Cutting, earning $253,200, with Tom Lyons in the saddle, prior to her life as a broodmare, when she produced 20 foals, 13 of which were performers, earning over $400,000. One was Smart Little Pistol, the sire of Miss Chiquita Pistol, who won the NCHA “Triple Crown” which included the 2002 Futurity, 2003 Super Stakes and Derby, with Tag Rice riding her for Tooter Dorman. Another was Playgun.
Playgun was consigned as a yearling by Wes Shahan to one of the 1993 NCHA Futurity sales. According to an article about Playgun by Susan Morrison, “Playgun wasn’t much to look at when Dick and Brenda Pieper first laid eyes on him. The colt was long-haired from winter’s chill and wasn’t as fit as some of the other yearlings in the sale. He was still the mousy color common among young gray horses.”
With Dick coming from the reining horse industry, where he trained and showed reining horses for years and was a past president of the National Reining Horse Association and a member of the NRHA Hall of Fame, the couple moved to Oklahoma and were also set to become involved in the cutting horse industry. They thought that Playgun would help them in that endeavor. And help them he did!
Training and hauling Playgun:
Dick was still training reining horses for the couples’ bread and butter, but he had his NCHA non-pro card and wanted to train Playgun for the NCHA Futurity. It was obviously the right move as Playgun took to cattle like a mouse to cheese and it seemed natural for him to cut them. Although Pieper basically trained Playgun for cutting, in August of Playgun’s 3-year-old year, he enlisted Jody Galyean, who was impressed with the young stallion and after he rode him, he considered riding the stallion himself as an Open entry. Therefore, from then on, the stallion was hauled back and forth between the Pieper ranch and Galyean’s. The story goes that Dick didn’t make it past the first go of the Non-Pro but Galyean and Playgun had the second-highest composite following two go-rounds in the Open. Even though a tough cow disallowed Playgun to go any further in the Open Futurity, the Piepers realized they had made the right decision by first buying the colt and second, taking him on the cutting route.
The rest is history:
Playgun (Inset) when he was younger and had that gray mousy color.
The next year, Jody qualified the stallion for the AQHA World Show by winning two horse shows at Tulsa, Okla. and the pair finished 7th in Junior Cutting. Playgun also qualified for his Register of Merit and was named the 1995 High-Point Junior Cutting Horse. Those wins made Dick aware of the great horse they had so he headed to his first cutting aged event, the Abilene Cutting Spectacular, where they tied for third. From there it was off to the Augusta Futurity, where the pair won the Open and Non-Pro Championships of the Futurity.
After several other aged-event wins in both the Open and Non-Pro, they easily obtained their NCHA Certificate of Ability and between the time Playgun was a 3-year-old to a 6-year-old, he won 21 Championships and Reserve Championships in both large and small aged events. By the time his cutting career was over, Playgun had won over $185,000. The last two major shows of his aged-event career were the 1998 Steamboat Springs and El Cid, where, with Jody in the saddle, he was Reserve Champion in the Open Classic at Steamboat Springs and the Classic Open Champion at El Cid. Also, in 1996, Playgun was named highest money-earning 4-year-old horse in the NCHA.
According to Brenda, there were very few people who handled the stallion on a daily basis.
“He had some quirks,” said Brenda. “Not everyone could catch him and Dick and Jody were Playguns only trainers, other than Antonio Nunez, who started him as a 2-year-old and James Davison, who rode him when Dick broke his leg at the 1994 NRHA Reining Futurity.
“Incidentally,” said Brenda. “Nunez recently had the high-selling horse at the Legacy horse sale.”
Playgun’s offspring prove him as a leading sire:
Playgun’s first foal crop of 72 babies was in 1997; his largest crop was in 2005 when he had 131 registered foals. Altogether, he sired 1,368 AQHA registered foals, with a whopping 42 percent, or 565, being performers. He was the sire of an AQHA Superhorse and eight AQHA World Champions as well as over 200 NCHA aged-event champions. In 2015, there were 72 Playgun AQHA offspring performing. Altogether, his offspring have won over $7 million.
In 2000, the first year they were shown, Playgun’s sons and daughters earned $86,499. Cindy Love won almost half of that ($41,499) riding CL Winchester, out of her great mare Demidoc. The pair tied for fourth in the Non-Pro at the NCHA Futurity and went on to win a total of $50,402.
Mr Beamon was Playgun’s highest money earner with lifetime earnings of $318,856, including the Reserve Championship of the NCHA Open Futurity with Tag Rice aboard.
One of his first colts, Playguns Desire, owned by Carol Rose, was sold to Rockin 5 Ranch LLC as a yearling and Austin Shepard showed her to the Open Reserve Championship at the 2001 Tunica Futurity & Classic. Her next owners, H.B. and Deborah Bartlett of Alabama, put the mare in the hands of trainer Mike Mowery, who showed her to win the Open at the 2001 Brazos Bash and make the Open finals at the 2001 Music City Futurity. She earned $61,421 that year, including a tie for fifth in the Non-Pro at the NCHA Derby with Deborah aboard. Her earnings totaled $124,902.
His offspring also were winning in the reined cow horse industry as well as in roping and ranching events.
“Today many historic and famous ranches have a Playgun stallion,” said Brenda in a recent interview. “It’s undeniable that Playgun was one of the most versatile stallions in our industry.”
The Cutting Route:
According to statistics of Equi-Stat through the 2014 season, in the lifetime Cutting Statistics, Playgun was the 20th leading sire, with 355 offspring earning $7,299,217, averaging $20,561. Some of his leading offspring included Mr Beamon, $318,856; Peppy Plays For Cash, $304,713; PRF Playguns Pep, $285,128; Straightshot Playgun, $253,298; Playin Tag, $235,819; Toy Engine, $194,452; ARC Ruby Playgunia $193,097; Play Miss, $181,335; Play Corn, $130,585 and Playguns Desire, $124,902. As a Paternal Grandsire, he was in the top 80, with 86 paternal grandbabies netting $407,835. He was also 38th in Maternal Grandsires, with 176 maternal grandbabies earning $3,447,256.
It was ironical that on Thursday, Dec. 10, the day following Playgun’s death, the Brazillian Armando Costa Neto rode Watch Me Whip, sired by Playgun, out of Look The Look, to the Championship of the NCHA Non-Pro Futurity, scoring a 224 and taking home $27,852. Watch Me Whip was the only horse in the Non-Pro division sired by Playgun – from a 2012 crop of only 30 offspring.
“Armando had bought Look The Look at a sale and John Mitchell talked him into breeding her to Playgun,” said Brenda.
The Reined Cow Horse Route:
His offspring were also very successful and popular in the reined cow horse events. Even though the paychecks for those events were not as lucrative as they are in cutting, they are non-the-less very prestigious titles.
Equi-Stat Reined Cow Horse Statistics show Playgun as the 23rd leading sire, with 79 offspring earning $686,221, including PG Dry Fire, $135,000; Handle It Playgun, $80,260; Gunnalena, $62,323; TR Miss Graygun, $41,570 and Little Pistol Peach, $40,952. He was also the 37th leading Maternal Grandsire, with 46 maternal grandbabies earning $353,706. Also, he was 53rd leading Paternal Grandsire, with 46 paternal grandbabies earning $112,579.
PG Dry Fire, a 1998 son of Playgun, earned $95,848. The 1998 stallion was started for cutting by Ralph Depew and Boyd Rice, earned a respectable amount of money for owner John Haynes. However, in September of 2004, Rice took him down the fence in an open bridle class during the Colorado Reined Cow Horse Snaffle Bit Futurty, ending up fifth, winning only $100. But it was the beginning of a second career for the horse – and accolades in another event for his sire.
In 2005 Lance Shields rode PG Dry Fire in the World’s Greatest Horseman competition, tying for first in the steer stopping. Later that year, Haynes put the horse in the hands of Todd Crawford who place sixth in senior working cow horse at the AQHA World Show.
In 2006, he went back to the World’s Greatest Horseman, not only winning the steer stopping in the first round, but making the finals and taking home the Reserve championship, earning $23,775. That fall they again finished sixth at the AQHA World Show in Senior Working Cow Horse and in 2007 Jake Telford won the Open Bridle at the NRCHA Derby on him, adding another $30,000 to his earnings. The pair also finished ninth in the Open Bridle at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Stakes/Maturity. And there were many others.
The Piepers stood Playgun at their Marietta, Okla., ranch from 1996 through 2011 and during the last four years, he stood at Dr. David Hartman’s facility. Brenda had great praise for Dr. Hartman, as well as his wonderful staff, with his “meticulous to perfection” attitude. She felt he loved Playgun as much as they did and cared for him like he was one of his own.
NCHA VOTES TO AIR OPEN FINALS ON WEBCAST FREE OF CHARGE
According to a press release posted on their website, the NCHA said, ‘With overwhelming support from cutting horse fans, the open finals of the NCHA Futurity for Saturday, Dec. 12 are sold out, with only remnant tickets available. Because of the support shown by cutting horse fans in ensuring the Futurity remains one of the strongest events in the equine industry with a packed house for NCHA’s premier night, the NCHA Executive Committee voted to air the open and non-pro semifinals and finals live on the webcast free of charge.”
Many members had been surprised at the cost of those tickets, with the Semifinals and Open Finals tickets ranging from $40 to $75, the Non-Pro Finals from $25 to $40 and the Amateur Finals tickets costing $45.
Click for website streaming of NCHA Open Finals>>
TODAY’S CUTTING HORSE NEWS
INCLUDING SALES HELD DURING THE NCHA FUTURITY
Dec. 2, 2015
By Glory Ann Kurtz
NCHA EC PASSES NP EXCEPTION RULE
Although not all NCHA members concur with the the recent decision of the NCHA Executive Committee, they recently passed the new Non-Pro Exception rule of 3 yrs/$100k. (If you have not trained in 3 years and have less than $100,000 in Open lifetime earnings in any discipline, you are eligible to get your Non Pro card back). However, there is a new Non Pro Exception form that must be notarized and signed by a director and reviewed by the Non Pro/Amateur Review Committee before a change of status is granted. The new rule will go into effect starting with the 2016 point year. Contact Julie Davis in the NCHA office for the new form.
HELP REX ROSSOLL:
Rex Rossoll, a long-time cutting horse trainer and member of the cutting horse industry is experiencing a hard time right now. Rex was having bad headaches recently and doctors found that he has an aneurysm. He underwent surgery on Nov. 23 and with great relief found the aneurysm to be caused by a trauma, which made it more easily treatable. The surgeon placed a stent to relieve the aneurysm due to the fact that it is so close to the spinal cord.
Rex has no insurance at this time. Cutters Caring and Sharing was contacted to help Rex through this difficult time. Any donations are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible. Please write checks payable to: WCEF/CC&S-Rex Rossoll. Mail the checks to: PCCHA, P.O. Box 108, Lockeford, CA 95237
NORMAN BRUCE PASSES AWAY AT AGE 80
Norman Bruce, left, receiving a plaque from Billy Morris at the 2008 Augusta Futurity for 40 years of service in Area 18.
Norman Bruce, Rutledge, Ga., 80, a member of the NCHA Members Hall of Fame as well as the NCHA Non-Pro Hall Of Fame, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 29. Bruce was also a past president of the Southeast’s Area 18 Cutting Horse Association, President of the Augusta Futurity and an NCHA Executive Committee member.
Bruce was a fierce competitor in the arena, as well as a breeder of cutting horses. He was a contender for the Top 10 NCHA World Championship. He owned and showed the great mare Doc’s Haida and after he retired her, she was bred to Peppy San Badger, with the result being Haidas Little Pep, a top cutting horse sire who was the 1986 NCHA Open World Champion. He also owned other well-known stallions, including Docs Sugs Brudder, his son Squeak Toy and Haidas Magic. His son Reid Bruce was also very active in the cutting horse industry.
A graveside service for Norman Bruce was held Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 at Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens, Snellville, Ga. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Cutters In Action, c/o NCHA Foundation, 260 Bailey Avenue, Fort Worth, TX, 76107. Condolences may be viewed or sent to www.wagesfuneralhome.com.
COLORADO’S STANLEY GLOVER PASSES AT AGE 88
An icon in Colorado’s cutting horse industry passed away Oct. 9 at his Avondale, Colo., home. Services were held Oct. 20 at the First Baptist Church in Benjamin, Texas.
Glover started show horses when he worked for Jimmie Randals, Montaya, N.M. During his cutting career, he placed horses in the NCHA Top 10 twice, making 21 AQHA World Champions. He also held judges’ cards for the NCHA, AQHA, PHBA and the APHA. He retired in 2014 at the age of 87.
Glover is survived by his wife Beverly, Avondale; son, John Dee Glover, also of Avondale; two stepsons: Doug Bryant and his wife Kathy, Crawford, Colo., and Charlie Bryant, Dubois, Wyo. and two grandchildren.
Memorials can be given in Glover’s name to the Sangrede Cristo Hospice, 124 W. Cranston, Fowler, CO 81039 and you can send your condolences to his family at 3787 Avondale Blvd., Avondale, Co.
GEORGE FERRANTE LOSES BATTLE WITH CANCER
George Ferrante, Somis, Calif., lost his battle with brain cancer on Oct. 18. The well-known competitor, trainer, judge and clinician was diagnosed in May 2014. Several ranch sortings, auctions and other money-making events were held to raise money to offset the high medical costs, medication and loss of income as the family was trying to raise the money so they wouldn’t be forced to sell their Somis, Calif., ranch that has been in the family for 150 years. A GoFundMe page has also been set up.
Survivors include his wife, Kathie and two daughters. Send your condolences to 7694 Bradley Rd., Solis, CA 93066.
NCHA EVENTS TOP MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO ECONOMIC IMPACT OF EQUESTRIAN EVENTS AT WILL ROGERS
According to an article in the Fort Worth Business CEO quarterly publication, in 2013, the NCHA’s three major aged events: the NCHA Futurity, Super States and Summer Spectacular, topped the list of events making the largest economic impact of major equestrian events at the Will Rogers Memorial Center with a total of $26 million. (The NCHA Futurity contributed $11.8 million, the Super Stakes, $8 million and the Summer Spectacular $6.2 million.
According to the article in the Winter 2015 edition written by former NCHA Executive Director Jeff Hooper, “As a result, Fort Worth is now recognized as one of the nation’s premier destinations for major horse shows and equestrian events, with those activities centered on the equestrian center at Will Rogers Memorial Center located in Fort Worth’s cultural district. Not including the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, more than 250 days of horse show activity contribute more than $64 million in incremental spending in Fort Worth and serve as a catalyst for year-around horse breeding and training operations in the area, that contribute millions of dollars annually to the region’s economy.”
According to Kirk Slaughter, the director of public events for Fort Worth, claims the events have helped make Fort Worth arguably the “Horse Show Capital of the World,” that was pushed upward by the passage of The Events Trust Fund legislative initiatives that the city and equine associations can utilize to help direct the state’s share of certain tax revenues generated by the events back to the city to utilize specifically for those events.
“Since then there have been over $80 million in improvements at the Will Rogers facilities, with none of it coming from the city’s general fund,” said Slaughter.
Other major events held at the Will Rogers facilities and their contribution including the Reichert Celebration $13.4 million, Arabian Region IX, $4.2 million, ApHC Nationals, $4.1 million and AphC World Show $3.8 million, APHA fall Show, $3.7 million, Ranch Sorting Nationals, $2.9 million, Mustang Million, $2.6 million, AjPHA world Show, $1.6 million, AMHA (miniature) World Show, $1.3 million and Ranch Sorting Regionals, $500,000.
NCHA FINALS AND 7 HORSE SALES CULMINATE NCHA FUTURITY
The NCHA Futurity will culminate on Saturday, Dec. 12 with the Open Finals; however as well as the last of seven horse sales held within six days, with over 1,000 head cataloged.
Managed by Jeremy Barwick’s Western Bloodstock, the sales will begin on Dec. 7 at 9 a.m. in the Watt arena, with a 2-year-old session selling 140 horses. The balance of the 2-year-old session, with 121 horses, will continue on Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. Also, that evening, 50 Select Yearlings, will be held at 6 p.m. in the Round-Up Inn.
A new “Cowhorse Sale, with 129 consignments, will start at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9, in the Watt Arena, followed by the Select Cow Dog Sale.
On Thursday, Dec. 10, Session 1 of the Preferred Breeders Sale, featuring 205 horses, will start at 9 a.m. in the John Justin arena, with breakfast being held at 8 a.m.
On Friday, Dec. 11, Session 2 of the Preferred Breeders Sale, featuring 206 head, will start at 8 a.m. in the John Justin Arena, with breakfast at 8 a.m.
The final sale, the NCHA Cutting Horse Sale, will be held Saturday, Dec. 12, with 150 cutting horses selling, starting at 9 a.m. in the Watt Arena. Breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. Hopefully the sale will be over by 6 p.m. when the Open Finals start in the Will Rogers Coliseum.
For the complete Futurity Schedule, draws and scores, go to www.nchacutting.com.
PART III – PETE AND MARILYN BOWLINGS LEGAL WOES
UPDATE AND INTERVIEW WITH SADDLE MAKER RICK RICOTTI AND A FORMER EMPLOYEE
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Nov. 24, 2015
Marilyn Bowling from their website
It wasn’t only the IRS, state tax entities, hay providers, banks, credit-card companies and feed stores that failed to receive payment from Pete and Marilyn Bowling. A well-known, very talented saddle maker, Rick Ricotti, Clements, Calif., also was left with a $6,700 bill for tack purchased by the Bowlings, plus a lawyer bill, for a total of $10,000.
“We live in a small community,” said Ricotti in a telephone interview. “Marilyn was always fine about paying her debts until Pete showed up. I really thought it would be a short-term situation and wouldn’t last; however, when Pete was there, they started charging quite a bit of stuff. They would pay a little once in awhile, but the balance grew to $6,700.”
Pete Bowling from their website
Ricotti, who is famous for the beautiful tooling on his saddles, hired an attorney to start the process of putting a lien on their property; however, the attorney told him that if they filed bankruptcy, there is a certain period of time from the filing when the court wouldn’t allow the bill to be included in the bankruptcy.
“That happened,” said Ricotti, who looked at the first article about the Bowlings on AllAboutCutting.com, and checked who was owed what on the bankruptcy filing, and his name was not there. The court denied Ricotti’s claim even though his attorney went before the court and told the court they were in the process of trying to retrieve the money owed to them.
“This is a small community and in our area, this was a bad deal all around. A lot of people here tried to help her before they realized that she had changed,” said Ricotti. “Pete had big ideas and was a great salesman – he could sell a deep freezer to an Eskimo. But the only reason I stayed on board was because of Marilyn. I told her I really didn’t want to end our relationship if she would just send me a small check once in awhile.
“But, she was a different Marilyn and it didn’t happen real fast – it happened over time. Last weekend when I was in my motel room looking at Facebook, I said to myself, ‘How come they’re not in jail?’ I don’t knowhow they can continue on and how they can face people in the horse community.”
Click for Ricotti Saddle website>>
Click for Ricotti lawsuit in San Joaquin Superior Court>>
A VISIT WITH A FORMER EMPLOYEE
Over the past year, several employees worked for Pete and Marilyn Bowling; however, due to the telephone calls I have received suggest that few got paid what they were owed, as meager as the amounts were. One such an employee, a college student, had a lot to say but said she couldn’t afford to let me use her name for this article as she had already gotten fired from one job. She believes that occurred after her new employer found out through Facebook that she had worked for the Bowlings and she just recently got another job. She said she worked for the Bowlings for about eight months. (I have her entire taped conversation.)
“I begged to have a job with the Bowlings,” she said. I felt that I would really learn something and I really respected Marilyn. They let her ride one of their horses in her school ag competition and told her she could help out during the breeding season. As it turned out, she also received a few $100 checks, as she soon was doing all of the stall cleaning and feeding; however, when she went to cash two of them at the bank, they bounced.
She said she was not allowed to buy clean shavings for the horses and had to purchase feed every day and later figured out that the feed she was allowed to buy was not sufficient enough to feed the number of horses she had to feed. She claimed that when the weather was bad for a couple of days, she called Marilyn and told her she couldn’t make it in to feed. When she did get there, she said, “Marilyn admitted that she didn’t get out to feed for those two days and didn’t check the horses. The water had frozen in the barn as the heaters didn’t get turned on and three pipes burst.”
Colts getting out of the flooded stalls
Without clean shavings, the stalls were dirty and wet and several of the colts would be laying half way out in the alley to get away from the cold, wet stalls.
“Also when someone came to look at the stallions, I was told to make their stalls look good,” said the employee. “Since they hadn’t been out of their stalls, they were a mess. Also one time we had to move all the horses as there was sewage water going through the barn and stalls and it took me and six girls from my ag team to move them all and I got hurt trying to load babies that had never been touched prior to that time.”
Thin horses in stall
The employee claimed that Marilyn used a different farrier each time the horses needed their hooves trimmed. “She told me that she didn’t think each one did a good job but I found out she wasn’t paying them,” said the employee.
“I was taking a reproduction class at school and I was suppose to be working at a breeding operation,” said the disappointed employee. “But if the stallions needed to be collected, Marilyn would load them up and take them to Jim Babcock’s facility in Gainesville and she wouldn’t let me come along to help.”
Bowling posting on Facebook regarding saddle.
The young employee also claimed that she purchased two horses from the Bowlings and had fully paid for one and received the AQHA papers (but not a signed AQHA ownership transfer) and had receipts for payments, with only one final payment to be made on the other one. When she went to pay the final payment, the Bowlings had moved out of the Gainesville, Texas, facility they were leasing (that had previously belonged to Jim Babcock prior to his losing the ranch in bankruptcy proceedings), and all the horses were gone – including the two that were suppose to be the employee’s.
The employee said that she was very fearful of the Bowlings and claimed that when she called Marilyn regarding the two horses that were suppose to be hers, Marilyn threatened her by saying she would ‘shoot her if I showed up on their new property.’ On Facebook, she was also threatened by someone named Kevin Ford.
Kevin Ford threatening the employee on Facebook.
After the college girl left, the Bowlings accused her of stealing a saddle, a welder and a generator, which she vigorously denies. She claims she never saw the saddle they are accusing her of stealing and that her fiancé has a welding business with a huge welder and generator, claiming, “I didn’t need the little, worn-out ones they had.”
When asked about the disparity (change) in the number of horses, the employee said she didn’t know what happened to the 30 horses that had disappeared between the time they arrived at the Gainesville rental property with 100 horses and the 70 horses they had when they arrived in Oklahoma and the USDA vets discovered they did not have complete documentation for interstate travel (health certificates and/or Coggins tests).
This case keeps getting bigger and taking longer than I expected as many people are calling me from all across the United States who have also lost money and I have taped their statements and transcribed them. Depending on what happens in the near future, there will be at least one more section of this article and maybe two.