Pages Navigation Menu


☛ 5 horses/horsemen inducted into AQHA Hall of Fame 3-23-17

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in HORSE ORGANIZATIONS, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments



Press release from AQHA

March 22, 2017

“Induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame is the highest honor possible in our Association, and we welcome these deserving individuals into the Hall of Fame,” said Craig Huffhines, executive vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association.

The horses inducted into the Hall of Fame are the stallions Strawfly Special and Zips Chocolate Chip; the gelding Majestic Scotch; and the mares Casey’s Ladylove and Dashing Phoebe.

The horsemen are AQHA Past President Peter J. Cofrancesco III of Sparta, New Jersey; AQHA executive committee member, the late Dick Monahan of Walla Walla, Washington; Bobby D. Cox of Fort Worth, Texas; the late Marvin Barnes of Ada, Oklahoma; and trainer and horsewoman Sandra Vaughn of Hernando, Florida.

Casey’s Ladylove
The 1961 mare Casey’s Ladylove was the foundation of a barrel racing dynasty. James and Frances Loiseau of Flandreau, South Dakota, bought the mare as a 2-year-old for $720, looking for a horse their children could ride. Later, they started breeding her, selling the colts and keeping the fillies for their broodmare band that led to such barrel racing and rodeo champions as French Flash Hawk, known to barrel racers as “Bozo,” and Frenchmans Guy, a leading sire of barrel-racing horses.

Dashing Phoebe
Dashing Phoebe was a fast runner and the mother of fast runners. The 1983 sorrel mare by Dash For Cash won or placed in 15 of 20 career starts, earning $609,553 on the racetrack. She was a two-time AQHA racing champion filly, earning that honor in 1985 and 1986. She earned her AQHA Supreme Racehorse title in 1987. In 2008, she was named an AQHA Dam of Distinction after producing 15 winners, five stakes winners and the earners of nearly $2.4 million. She was bred by San Jose Cattle Co. of Rockport, Texas. She was euthanized in 2013 and buried on owner Kirk Goodfellow’s Dreams Come True Ranch near Nacogdoches, Texas.

Majestic Scotch
Majestic Scotch was born to lope in a show ring. The 1994 sorrel gelding won 10 world championships in western riding and western pleasure and seven reserve world championships in those classes plus showmanship. Majestic Scotch was bred by Donald and Jean Bangasser of Ackley, Iowa, and was owned by Sharnai Thompson of Pilot Point, Texas. He was shown in classes from halter to hunt seat equitation to trail. He earned a youth AQHA Supreme Champion award and 13 Superiors. He retired from competition in 2012. He was euthanized in 2013, the same year he was inducted into the National Snaffle Bit Association Hall of Fame.

Strawfly Special
Racing stallion Strawfly Special sired two winners of the All American Futurity, Streakin Flyer and Ausual Suspect. The 1987 stallion by Special Effort was bred by Dan and Jolene Urschel of Canadian, Texas, and was owned by Double Bar S Ranch of Moreno Valley, California. Strawfly Special’s offspring earned more than $25 million on the racetrack, and his gelded son, Tailor Fit, was racing world champion in 1999 and 2001. Strawfly Special died in 2004.

Zips Chocolate Chip
Zips Chocolate Chip was a leading sire of award-winning western pleasure horses. The 1985 bay stallion was by Zippo Pine Bar and out of the Custus Jaguar mare Fancy Blue Chip. After a short career in the show ring, earning $18,000 in western pleasure futurities, Zips Chocolate Chip moved to the breeding barn. He was a sire of AQHA and National Snaffle Bit Association champions. He was a model for a Breyer horse. After his breeding career was over, he retired to owner-breeder Ann Myers’ farm. He was euthanized in 2015 due to complications of old age.

Marvin Barnes
The late Marvin Barnes of Ada, Oklahoma, was the owner and trainer of Mr Master Bug, a Supreme racehorse and winner of the All American Futurity, and FL Lady Bug, an American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee. The 50-year cumulative breeder and his late wife, Lela, were fixtures in Oklahoma Quarter Horse racing for more than 50 years. Marvin bred the earners of more than $3.9 million on the track and two world champion horses who earned seven world championships.

Peter J. Cofrancesco III 
Peter J. Cofrancesco III of Sparta, New Jersey, was the first president of the American Quarter Horse Youth Association to become president of AQHA. Cofrancesco grew up showing horses with his family in many aspects of AQHA competition, later specializing in halter. He was elected to the AQHA Executive Committee in 2008 and served as president in 2011-12, focusing on youth involvement.

Bobby D. Cox
An owner and 30-year breeder of American Quarter Horse racehorses, Bobby D. Cox of Fort Worth, Texas, bought his first racehorse in 1976. His homebred mare, All About Ease, won the Ruidoso Futurity in 2004, the same year his homebred stallion, Brimmerton, won the Rainbow Derby and the All American Derby. In 2007, Cox’s homebred Dont Let Down won the All American Derby. In all, horses Cox bred have earned $20 million on the track. Horses Cox has owned have earned $16 million on the racetrack.

Dick Monahan
Racehorse owner and breeder Dick Monahan of Walla Walla, Washington, bought his first race-bred yearlings in 1969. He and his wife, Brenda, raised and raced American Quarter Horses for more than 30 years. He was elected as an AQHA director in 1985. At the time of his death in 2009, Monahan was serving on the AQHA Executive Committee.

Sandra Vaughn
Judge, breeder and AQHA Professional Horsewoman Sandra Vaughn of Hernando, Florida, became a professional trainer at age 19. She has trained horses to multiple champion titles and has ridden horses to seven world championships and 11 reserve world championships. In 2003, she was part of the team that helped Movin Artfully become the Farnam Superhorse. In 1995, the first year the award was given, Vaughn was named the Professional Horsewoman of the Year. She served as an AQHA director from 2006 to 2013.

About the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame
The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum beautifully showcases the hundreds of horses and people who have earned the distinction of becoming part of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. To be a part of the Hall of Fame, horses and people must have been outstanding over a period of years in a variety of categories. Inductees are those who have brought exceptional visibility and/or contribution to the American Quarter Horse. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen each year by a selection committee and honored at the annual AQHA Convention.

For more information on the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, visit

Read More

☛ AQHA Executive Committee named 3-23-17

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in EQUI-VOICE, HORSE ORGANIZATIONS, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments


Release from AQHA
March 22, 2017

AQHA Executive Committee for 2017-2018

The American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee was elected at the 2017 AQHA Convention in San Antonio. Though AQHA operates primarily upon the decisions of its members through the board of directors, the five-person Executive Committee is responsible for implementing these important decisions and governing AQHA between the annual meetings of the membership and the board.

The AQHA Executive Committee – consisting of a president, first vice president, second vice president and two additional members – is elected each year by the board at the convention. Each member serves a term of one year until the selection of his/her successor. The Executive Committee convenes quarterly at AQHA Headquarters in Amarillo to conduct business and consider all disciplinary matters.

President Ralph Seekins 

Ralph Seekins of Fairbanks, Alaska, has been an AQHA director since 2006 for Washington/Alaska and was elevated to director emeritus in 2016. Seekins has served on the AQHA Marketing and Membership Committee, the Foundation Council and the AQHA Public Policy Committee. Seekins has owned American Quarter Horses since 1995, when his daughters convinced him and his wife, Connie, that they really needed horses. His early horse years were spent in Wyoming and Montana and included ranch work and sprint racing. The family’s first two American Quarter Horses were home-trained and went on to earn AQHA Open Champion titles, Youth Champion titles, Youth Supreme Champion titles and one Youth Versatility award. Over the years, the Seekins family has raised and trained horses that have earned nine AQHA Champion titles, three AQHA Supreme Champion titles and two versatility awards. For more than 15 years, the Seekins family has used their American Quarter Horses in the Helping Hooves therapeutic riding program for riders with disabilities. Ralph and Connie have four children – two sons and two daughters. All the children and their families live in Fairbanks. Aaron Seekins has four sons – Austin, Brandon, Gabe and Zachary – along with one daughter, Shelby. Ben Seekins and his wife, Tamie, have sons Christian and Caleb and daughter Larissa. Daughter Andrea and her husband, Ryan Reinheller, have twin boys, Jakan and Logan, as well as three daughters, Rebecca, Tricia and Sarah. Daughter Beth and her husband, Paul Austin, have three daughters – Emma, Leah and Madison – and son Isaac.

First Vice President Dr. Jim Heird

Dr. Jim Heird was an AQHA director for Colorado in 2009 and became a director for Texas in 2011. He has served on the judges, international and show committees, and on the show council and AQHA Animal Welfare Commission. Dr. Heird was the chairman of the judges committee, 1989-1991; show committee, 2008-2010; international committee, 2013-2015; show council, 2008-2011; and the Animal Welfare Commission, 2011-2015. He was the former extension horse specialist at North Carolina State University, a former instructor/professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and held various dean/director positions at Colorado State University for the colleges of agricultural sciences and business and equine sciences program. Dr. Heird is currently executive professor and coordinator of equine initiatives at Texas A&M University. He also holds the Dr. Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair at Texas A&M. Dr. Heird was on the executive committee of the National Western Stock Show and is an ex-officio director of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Dr. Heird is an honorary vice president of the Uruguayan and Argentine Quarter Horse associations. He was an AQHA judge from 1977 to 2015 and has judged 13 AQHA World Championship shows, multiple international championships and two National Reining Horse Association futurities.

He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and has a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. He and his wife, Dr. Eleanor Green, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M, live in College Station.

Second Vice President Stan Weaver
Stan Weaver of Big Sandy, Montana, has been an AQHA director since 2011. He is a former member of the studbook and registration, public policy and Hall of Fame selection committees; Foundation, marketing and ranching councils; and served as chairman of the ranching council. He was also instrumental in developing the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders program.

Weaver has bred American Quarter Horses for more than 30 years and has registered more than 1,500 foals with AQHA during that time.

Weaver and his wife, Nancy, began a Quarter Horse production sale in 1996 under Weaver Quarter Horses. Through the production sale, horses from the Weaver Ranch have sold to all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces, South Africa, Australia, Germany and Mexico. Weaver has shown his own horses in cutting, reined cow horse and working cow horse. Weaver is involved with the Montana Quarter Horse Association (past president), Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, Montana Land & Mineral Owners Association, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, Montana Stockgrowers and the Chouteau County Livestock Protection Association.

Weaver has owned and operated Weaver Cattle Co., a cattle and farming enterprise in North Central Montana for the past 40 years. He also owns and operates Weaver Order Buying, a cattle brokerage firm. Stan and Nancy raised three children on the ranch. All three children and their families continue to work on the ranch, but have also expanded their own ranching and farming interests in the area. KellyAnne and husband Casey Terry have two children, Wyatt and Avery, and live in Lewistown, Montana; David Weaver and wife Stacey live in Bozeman, Montana, with their two children, Hailey and Wesley; and Daniel Weaver, who also lives in Big Sandy, is engaged to Dr. Danielle Lindland. The Weavers received the 1997 Montana Quarter Horse Association Ranch of the Year Award, and Weaver Cattle Co. was recognized as the 2014 Montana State University Family Business of the Year in the business category for operations in existence at least 50 years.


Member Butch Wise 

Butch Wise of El Reno, Oklahoma, was named an honorary AQHA vice president in 2015. He was an AQHA director from 2001 to 2015.

He currently serves as the Executive Committee representative on the racing council. Wise is a former member of the studbook and registration, nominations and credentials, and racing committees, and the racing council. He was the chairman of the Hall of Fame committee from 2013 to 2015 and also served as chairman of the racing council. In 2014, he was a member of the AQHA Governance Task Force.

In 2004, Wise received the Oklahoma State University Animal Science School Graduate of Distinction award, and in 2007, he received the AQHA Racing Council Special Recognition Award.

He is a member of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse and Florida Quarter Horse racing associations. Wise owns Stone Chase Stables LLC and is the bloodstock agent and president of Wise Sales Co. Inc. His former career experience includes employment with AQHA, Ridgeleigh Farms Inc., Mel Hatley Farms and Cox Manufacturing. He is currently the manager of the Lazy E Ranch LLC in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Butch and his wife, Nancy, have two sons and two daughters. Their sons are Clay and Parker Wise, and daughters are Mallory Wise and Ashlie Blair. Blair and her husband, Shawn, have two children, Derek and Lacie.

Member Norm Luba
Norm Luba of Louisville, Kentucky, has been an AQHA life member since 1995 and an AQHA director since 2011. He has served on the AQHA Stud Book and Registration Committee for the past three years. Luba has served on the AQHA Public Policy Committee and the affiliate council.

Luba graduated with his master’s degree in reproductive physiology from the University of Maryland. The former executive director of the Kentucky Horse Council is currently the executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council, president of the Equine Breeding Research and Development Council, and the treasurer of the Animal Welfare Council Inc.

He is the recipient of the Don Henneke Education Impact Award and the American Youth Horse Council Distinguished Service Award.

Luba is an avid competitor with numerous qualifications in trail for the AQHA Select World Championship Show, presented by Adequan® (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan), and the Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show, as well as a Superior trail horse achievement. He is a member of the National Snaffle Bit Association, Equine Science Society, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club and the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association, where he also served as president.

Norm and his wife, Dr. Lorraine Luba, a veterinarian, have two sons – Christopher and Colin, a former AQHYA president who is married to Catherine.

Read more convention coverage, brought to you by The American Quarter Horse Journal, at


Read More

☛ What about wild horses under Trump presidency? 3-19-17

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, HORSE HEALTH, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments


March 19, 2017

The White House is responding to an I-Team investigation into wild horses. They are protected under federal law as “living symbols” of the nation’s pioneer spirit. But now advocates are worried what the Donald Trump presidency could mean for the future of the mustangs. Dan notes has a long history reporting on this issue and he’s back with the latest at ABC  News (KGO-TV). Click for link to article:

Read More

☛ Herda status of Auspicious Cat goes on trial 3-11-17





By Glory Ann Kurtz
March 11, 2017

Following a seven-day trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, an eight-member jury (six women and two men) finalized responsibility of a HERDA-infected foal sired by Auspicious Cat, owned by Dos Cats Partners (headed up by Edward and Shona Dufurrena, Gainesville, Texas), on the Dufurrenas.

The lawsuit was filed by Shawn, Lisa Victoria and Lauren Victoria Minshall, Hillsburgh, Ontario, Canada, the owners of one of Canada’s top Thoroughbred and cutting horse breeding and training operations, vs Dr. David Hartman’s Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A. (HERC), Gainesville, Texas, who sent the semen of Auspicious Cat to the Minshalls to breed to Miss Tassa Lena.


According to the jury, the Dufurrenas received 60 percent of the responsibility, with each receiving 30 percent of responsibility that caused or contributed to cause the occurrence or injury of a foal sired by Auspicious Cat out of the Minshall’s mare, Miss Tassa Lena. He was nicknamed “Otto,” and he was born with full-blown HERDA, a genetic skin disease. The disease was discovered when the colt was a 2-year-old and lesions appeared on its body while in training.

Also receiving responsibility were the Minshalls, with 10 percent going to each: Shawn, Lisa Victoria and their daughter Lauren Victoria, for a total of 30 percent. Receiving the least responsibility was Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, who received 10 percent of the responsibility.

The jury was given questions of guilt, with all six parties being found guilty of “Negligence incurring damage.” The Dufurrena’s were found guilty of committing fraud. All other questions regarding Hartman’s guilt were answered by “No.”

Click for verdict>>

Compensatory damages included: 1) The difference in the value of Otto now and what it would have been if not HERDA affected: $30,000; 2) Reasonable expenses related to foaling, raising boarding and training Otto in the past: $28,408; 3) Reasonable vet expenses: $0; 4) Reasonable expenses incurred for caring for Otto in the future, $75,000 and Plaintiffs’ lost profits: $30,000 – for a total of $163,408.

At press time it was not available if  “who’s responsible?” has any relation to the compensatory damages.


Represented by Aaron J. Burke and Nathan Pearman of Hardline Ducus Barger Drey LLP, Dallas, Texas,  the Minshall’s lawyer was asking for $30,000 for the value of Otto, a high of $28,408 for training and boarding, $233,000 in expenses for training, boarding in the future, plus $3 million in Punitive damages and $165,000 in mental anguish, for a total of close to $3.5 million.

David Hartman, the principal of HERC, was represented by Jeffrey W. Ryan and Caleena D. Svalek of the law firm of Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw & Anderson, P.C., also of Dallas. William Chamblee was originally scheduled to be Hartman’s lawyer; however, the last minute it was discovered he would be involved in another court case in Dallas and Jeffrey Ryan took over. The firm usually does trial cases for medical cases.

Click for Testimony>>

Click for Auspicious Cat pedigree>>

Click for Miss Tassa Lena pedigree>>



Read More

☛ An emotional, patriotic weekend 2-25-17





By Glory Ann Kurtz
Feb. 25, 2017

I seldom write an opinion piece in a Letter From The Editor; however, last weekend I watched two Western events at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with an announced close to 40,000 spectators, and heard about two other major horse events held during the same weekend, including the NRCHA’S World’s Greatest Horseman and Celebration of Champions held at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center and the Mercuria cutting held during The Mane Event, a cutting competition held at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev. After attending and hearing about these four events, I was moved to write how these events affected me and I’m sure a lot of others, due to the obvious patriotism of the contestants as well as the spectators.

I attended the PBR’s “Iron Man” and watched RFD-TV’s “The American” on television that awarded millions of dollars to contestants in the Western industry at AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas – home of the Dallas Cowboys.

None of these contestants in any of these events refused to stand and take off their hats during the National Anthem or put their hands over their heart during the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. No one took the microphone and spewed hatred toward others, regardless of their color, country, age or association affiliation. No contestants took a knee. No protestors stood outside carrying signs and chanting hatred.

From the huge American flag that took up one whole end of the arena in AT&T stadium, held by youth and competitors, while the National Anthem was being sung, to the introduction of a veteran who had lost his legs while doing his duty to protect this country, they brought a huge lump in my throat and a tear to my eyes, as I’m sure it did to many others.

Contestants helped each other and cheered them on – regardless of their color, religion or the city, state or country they came from. Millionaire cowboys competed on a level playing field with dead-broke cowboys and teenagers. There were competitors from most of the United States, Brazilians, Blacks, Mexicans, Indians, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, with many members of various associations across the world – and some were just individuals who loved rodeo. There were World Champions, past World Champions, college students, newcomers, teenagers and even brothers who were all excited to be in the same arena. Obviously, their most prized possessions were the horses they competed on.

One of the most spectacular exhibits of patriotism was held just prior to the NCHA Mercuria cutting Finals held that same weekend during The Mane Event aged events held at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

Although I was not able to be there, I heard it was above spectacular, so I called Paula Gaughan and asked her to tell me what went on there. I was truly impressed by her response:

“We emptied the main arena and loping end for an hour after the regular show ended. After we got all our opening props in the arena, we opened the doors and people were let into a dark house with very minimal lighting.

After all were seated, the voice of Tom Holt came out of the dark. He opened with a prayer and asked everyone to direct their attention to the loping area. He began with, “I was born in 1777 and went on to describe the places he had been and the battles he had seen, the children he saw every day in their classrooms and the soldiers he had buried and honored. The arena is still dark and at the end of his monologue, he says, “I am your American Flag!”

At that precise moment, a 50-foot flag that had been concealed in the rafters in a piece of equipment, dropped in all its glory, with glitter coming out of it and was lit up with tons of lights – all on the flag!! There was amazement and pride on all the faces of those in attendance. Then another set of lights lit up a 20-foot tall red, white and blue cowboy boot in the cutting pen. Music played with the voice of Tom Holt describing the role of the cowboy boot in the American tradition of the American cowboy – its history and the history of the American Cowboy, who were American heroes.

Then a military version of the National Anthem played and a girl came out of the back of the boot with a huge American flag on a big black-and-white Paint horse and took a lap in the arena. She and the horse had been concealed in the boot during the entire seating, 

Holt then introduced the Mercuria finalists who walked out to a red carpet in front of the boot with spotlights on them. To cap it off, we then introduced Brigadier General David Hicks (nicknamed Trashman) who was the Air Force Commander General in Kabul, Afghanistan. He carried the Crown Royal Whiskey bag with the numbers in it for the draw and shook hands with every contestant as he went to each one and they drew their number. It was all very moving and special!

Now, even though that was all very cool, there was a minor problem in the hydraulics had happened with the girl on the horse. As the National Anthem was playing, they were supposed to slowly rise up out of the boot. You would have first seen the tip of the flag peeking out until the entire flag, girl and horse were atop the boot , where they would revolve through the end of the National Anthem. Even though it didn’t happen that way, no one knew the difference, and it was still spectacular!

The whole opening was possible because of Cotton Rosser of the Flying U Rodeo Company. His son, Reno, and granddaughter Lindsay, who was the girl on the Paint in the boot, have performed this thousands of times and I have had the privilege of seeing it and asked him if he could bring it to us.

But honestly 90 percent of the people there did not have a clue it did not go as it was supposed to. It was meant to be a salute to America – our great country – and honor things we hold dear. I really think we accomplished that. Paula continued, saying that the patriotic show was also to showcase the amazing horses and riders that made the finals of the Mercuria event, especially since there had been eight sets of horses in the go-rounds.

Now, the next problem. How the heck do we top that next year??? It’s back to the drawing board.”

This was the horse world I grew up in; however, when I and my children competed in playdays and rodeos, it was for hundreds of dollars and trophies – not millions of dollars, ruby-studded belt buckles, 100-pound trophies, television cameras, sky cams, monster screens and an audience of thousands of spectators who paid hundreds of dollars to attend and park at the event. But our love of the event and resolve to win in this wonderful country was the same.

For a short time I was back in a world of competitors who had love and respect for their peers, their animals and their country. Although competition and winning was the object, they were all friends and helped each other – and honored our country during the rodeos by the cowboys taking off their hats and cowgirls putting their hand over their hearts while standing and singing the National Anthem and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. God Bless America!!!

Click for Las Vegas video>>

Read More

☛ Three split $1 million at The American 2-22-17

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, RODEO & BULLRIDING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments


Courtesy RFD-TV
Feb. 22, 2017

It was a full day of action and drama at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  Three athletes shared a $1 million bonus at RFD-TV’s The American presented by Polaris RANGER and a total of $2 million was awarded to winners at the world’s richest one-day rodeo event.

Barrel racer Hailey Kinsel, a college student, and saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss, a veteran pro, both came through a qualifying system and won championships. Bull rider Sage Kimzey, who received an exemption and came straight to The American, won the bull riding title. These three each earned $433,333 – $100,000 for first place in their events and a third of a million-dollar bonus.

Kinsel and DeMoss were two of 46 individuals whose road to The American started at qualifying events across the country. Then, they had to finish at the top after four days of The American Semi-Finals in Fort Worth earlier in the week. Five to ten in each event earned the opportunity to compete at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, against 80 invited contestants who are considered the world’s best. Eight champions were crowned.

Bareback riding winner Tim O’Connell, from Zwingle, Iowa, said it best. O’Connell rode Frontier Rodeo’s horse Show Stomper for 90.25 points to win the Shoot Out. The American championship has gone to a bareback rider who has ridden the bay bucking horse the past three years.

“It’s hard to put into words how great this rodeo is and what life changing things it can do for you,” he said when he received his $100,000 check. The three that each earned nearly half-a-million agreed that the money would make a huge difference for them.

“This changes everything,” Kinsel, from Cotulla, Texas said. “But it doesn’t change the way I feel about my horse. God is good, my horse is awesome and this is amazing.”

Kinsel, a senior at Texas A&M, rides a six-year-old palomino mare named DM Sissy Hayday that she and her mother trained. During The American Semi-Finals Kinsel won more than $20,000.

Frontier Rodeo’s bucking horse Maple Leaf has taken saddle bronc riders to the winners’ stage for two consecutive years. Last year it was Iowa’s Wade Sundell. This year it was DeMoss. In 16 seconds, over $1.5 million has been won on this featured bucking horse.

DeMoss hasn’t decided what he’ll do with nearly half a million in winnings. “I guess I’ll talk it over with her,” he said with a grin, pointing to his wife Margie. “This is at the top of my rodeo career,” said the 12-time National Finals Rodeo bronc rider.

Kimzey, a three-time world champion bull rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, finished second in the first round to get to the Shoot Out. The first bull rider was Brazilian Claudio Marcelino de Montanha who qualified at an event in his home country and finished first in the semi-finals. He made easy work of TNT Rodeo Company’s Bottoms Up, scoring 89 points. The next rider was former Professional Bull Riders world champion Guilherme Marchi, who came off early.

Then it was Kimzey’s turn. He got on a bull named Uncle Tink, owned by former NFL defensive end Jared Allen, and scored 89.5. The final rider was bucked off and Kimzey earned the championship.

“I love being a cowboy, love everything about it,” Kimzey said. “I love competition, too, and this was a great day. I got to ride against the best guys on the best bulls.”

The talent-filled field in bareback riding, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding started with each contestant trying to advance to the Shoot Out Round. The best four go to The Shoot Out and compete once more, with the highest score or fastest time earning $100,000. Both the header and the heeler received $100,000 in team roping. Second place in the Shoot Out was worth $25,000.

When The American started four years ago, this format was created to give rodeo athletes an opportunity to compete at one rodeo for big pay checks. Then RFD-TV raised the bar by adding a million-dollar bonus for individuals who come through the qualifying process and win championships. Over the past four years the event has paid more than $10 million to winners at The American and the Semi-Finals.

Clayton Hass from Weatherford won the steer wrestling. Brothers Riley and Brady Minor from Ellensburg, Wash., took the team roping title. Stephenville’s Marty Yates earned the tie-down roping championship.

Read More