Hauling For The Memories
Author: Lauren Middleton
When looking at the 2017 hauling year and the things accomplished by all of these talented horses and horsemen you automatically think of the amazing runs and standout shows they have had. It was more than that for so many though; it was the late nights, the miles of driving, the Taco Bell runs, and the delirious conversations about how we all love cutting. It was the new places we have gone and new friendships we have made. It was the moments we wanted to give up but did not because “we are just that tough”. The trials and tribulations made the year worthwhile and the accomplishments that much sweeter. When we reflect on the year we think of it fondly and suddenly the hard points turn into character building situations or the points that we learned the most and the victories are cherished forever. The “hauling” experience is unlike any other and those that have done it know that everyone in this sport should try it at least once!
In the Non-Pro, it was April Widman and Woodys Baby (Nitas Wood x You N Me Baby) who finished the year as the NCHA Non Pro World Champions winning an amazing $122,375.13 She finished 2016 as the Non-Pro Reserve World Champion but was determined to win the coveted gold buckle so she went for it again this year. It was a dream come true for her as she always admired those that had accomplished such a feat. She never really thought it would be something that would come together for her so for it to become a reality is surreal to say the least. “Spanky” as he is affectionately known by so many has been a horse of a lifetime for her and with her family’s backing she was able to chase this goal. Without a great team, something this special can never occur and she had the very best in her husband, mother, and especially her dad Skip who prepared the spirited Spanky day in and day out. Their journey is one to cherish and we hope they are enjoying every second!
April Widman and Woodys Baby
Non-Pro Reserve World Champion was Kylie Rice who won the majority of her impressive $103,896.03 this year on Snap Crackle Cat (High Brow Cat x Dual Snap). She had to bring out old faithful Dual Lights (CD Lights x Graciella Dual) from pasture retirement for the World Finals due to a “Crackle” being injured. “Hugo” did not disappoint winning a check every round of the finals along with a check in the non-working average. She made the most out of a tough situation and held on to her Reserve Championship while doing so, these are the stories that make the experience special! She plans to definitely haul again, maybe not as much as she did this year, but she is determined to get to show Crackle in the finals. We cannot wait to see this duo show off their talents as they so often do on the big stage!
Kylie Rice and Dual Lights
The Non-Pro World Finals Show Champion was Lauren Middleton riding Sweet Reyvenge (Reys Dual Badger x Sweet Camille) having an overall average of 882 for the four nights! They collected $18,105 in the finals bringing their total to $64,365.82 for the year. Lauren and “Sammy” won two rounds of the finals along with the non-working average which was her main goal going into the finals. It is something she has always wanted to accomplish and Sammy came through to make it a reality. Lauren also won the most money on one horse in the Non-Pro Division checking another accomplishment off the list for this dream team! She plans to continue showing Sammy and just enjoy having this special gelding that she says was just meant to be her horse.
Lauren Middleton and Sweet Reyvenge
In the Open it was non-other than Austin Shepard who prevailed claiming his second NCHA Open World Championship this time aboard Deluxe Checks (Im Countin Checks x Catolena Starlight) owned by Rhein and Amanda Standish. They broke the standing record set by Matt Gaines and Special Nu Baby (Dual Rey x Nu I Wood) in 2015 for most money won in a single year to win the Open. Austin and “Sandy” won a total of $146,977.35 for the year after adding $23,777.50 to their earnings during the finals alone. They were the Open World Finals Show Champions as well as claiming the title of Open World Champion Mare to add to the ever-growing list of things that Austin has achieved. He is one of four riders having won over $6million in his years showing but remains one of the humblest and kind people in our industry. He and his family are people we all look up to and want only the best for at all times. There was not a single person in the packed Watt Arena who was not compelled to cheer for Austin and his great mare throughout the four rounds causing chills in most if you love the sport. The Circle S crew are some of the most supportive of each other, and you could tell each and every one of them felt as though they were World Champions as well, largely due to the comradery within the barn. Even the toughest can get a little emotional about their story and rightfully so as it one for the record books!
Austin Shepard and Deluxe Checks
The Open Reserve World Champion was Tatum Rice riding Eazee E (High Brow Cat x Zee Dually) owned by Keven and Sydney Knight with a total of $120,427.75 won for the year! It was one of the few times that both the Champion and Reserve Champion of the Open Division have surpassed the $100,000 mark for the year. This team has been electric and kept us wanting more being a favorite to watch at every event. Tatum and his wife Kylie had a pretty amazing journey and to both finish as Reserve World Champions is a feat unlike any other. Kylie jokes that this experience will test you and they are still married so they are doing good; from the outside looking in though we can tell that it was one they will remember forever. This team is one so many aspire to be both from a show standpoint as well as a personal one. The Rice family is known for being one of the best and these two exhibited such greatness through the year representing them in an exceptional way.
Tatum Rice and Eazee E
Beau Galyean and his young stallion Metallic Rebel (Metallic Cat x Sweet Abra) owned by Thomas Guinn added NCHA Open World Champion Stallion to their fantastic year having already wrapped up the NCHA Horse of the Year race along with winning enough money to qualify as an inductee of the NCHA Horse Hall of Fame! Beau and “Cecil” have achieved the unthinkable in their short career. The now five-year-old has accumulated accolades that are nothing short of phenomenal and shows no signs of stopping. His first foal crop arrives in 2018 and we cannot wait to see them!
Beau Galyean and Metallic Rebel
The prestige of the Mercuria Open and Non-Pro World Finals is impressive to say the least but the world finals in the other classes have drawn a good bit of excitement as well. With two working rounds and a non-working average each class pays out well making it possible to change position coming doing to the last few runs of the year.
In the $25,000 Novice Casey Crouch rode Louis The Cat (High Brow Cat x Louella Again) owned by Mike and Amy Delange to claim the World Championship. The collected a substantial $59,842.77 for the year. This stallion also carried Tyler Delange to the title of $25,000 Novice Non-Pro Champion! Reserve Champion of the $25,000 Novice was Tracy Barton riding NRR Ollie Tomcat (High Brow Cat x Uno Del Rey) for owners North Ridge Ranch winning $31,200.91 for the year. Reserve Champion of the $25,000 Novice Non-Pro was Janice Eaton riding Smooth As I Can (Smooth As A Cat x TJ Miss San) winning $26,478.86 for the year.
Steve Schlesinger rode Check Counter (Im Countin Checks x Haidas Youngster) to an exciting finish of the close race for the $5,000 Novice World Championship. They won a total of $37,791.63 for owner Mark Nelson for the year. Reserve Champion was Mike Wood riding One Time At Night (One Time Pepto x Lenas Snow) owned by Teresa Home winning $34,109.76 for the year.
In the $5,000 Novice Non-Pro Ron Davis prevailed being the 2017 World Champion for this class. He rode Kits Little Headliner (Cats Headliner x Kits Little Chick) winning a total of $45,481.24 for the year. Reserve Champion was Alan Oglesby riding Red Metallica (Metallic Cat x Play Peek A Boon) winning $37,203.07.
Jason Reed riding Chitas Cats Merada (Cats Merada x Chitas Blue Cat) claimed the $50,000 Amateur Championship winning $67,070.03 while Reserve Champion Rebecca Drake won a total of $59.020.01 on her mare One Red Mist (One Time Pepto x Cat Mist) for the year along with being the World Finals Show Champion for their class.
World Champion of the $15,000 Amateur was Israel Valles riding Smokem Jo Lena (Joes Midnight Son x Peppys Smokem) winning $15,309.77 for the year while Reserve Champion Kelsey Roderique won a respective $12,612.81 aboard Lizzys Lil Player (Lizzys Gotta Player x Lil Stylish Jewel).
In the $35,000 Non-Pro was topped by Brain Pearce riding Reyd (Dual Rey x Meradas Missy) to win a formidable $10,812.93 for the year. Reserve Champion was Danielle Lozzi riding Dee Jay Cougar (High Brow Cougar x Meradas Dee Jay) winning $9,148.96.
Rounding out the Classes in the $2,000 Limited Rider Jameson Grimes topped the field winning $14,626.06 to claim the World Championship. He rode the great mare Cyndi Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Dox Little Candy) in the two rounds of finals. Reserve Champion was Hailey Schafer riding Smart Chula Dual (Chula Dual x Little Lena Merada) in the finals. Hailey won $10,036.55 for the year.
With the year coming to a close it is exciting to see all of the winners on paper and their achievements recorded. We want to congratulate everyone on another amazing year of cutting and we are looking forward to seeing new journeys begin and stories unfold in 2018!