By Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse JournalOctober 21, 2013
Chad Little shoots his way to AQHA top cowboy October 19 at the CMSA World Championships in Amarillo on Hickorys Irish Gold. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos, scroll to the slide show below.
Cowboy mounted shooters fired their best shots throughout the year to earn AQHA year-end titles October 19 during the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association World Championships in Amarillo.
For the second year in a row, Tammy Billingsley of Darby, Montana, rolled into town with her Jessie Can Twist and rolled out with the AQHA Top Cowgirl award, presented by AQHA Treasurer Trent Taylor.
“He’s the same horse I had last year,” Tammy said. “He’s solid. He’s awesome. I raised him from a baby, and I just couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Jessie Can Twist is a 2004 palomino gelding by Tammy’s stallion Vodka Witha Twist. He was bred by Chris Cowlings of Billings, Montana, out of the Rainbeau McBee mare Can Play Baby.
Tammy keeps him consistent with a regular training program.
“I tried to keep him happy so he likes what he’s doing, but part of it is just his personality,” she said. “He’s just got that easy-going personality. He pretty much handles any situation that I put him in. He just takes it all in stride.”
Taking yet another title in stride was Chad Little of Saint Michael, Minnesota, who won AQHA Top Cowboy with Hickorys Irish Gold, the horse he rode to win the AQHA Mounted Shooting World Championship in March in Houston.
“This mare I’ve had since she was a 3-year-old,” Chad said. “She’s 9 now, so she has a lot of seasoning under her. She’s just real smooth, real athletic, and everything comes pretty easy for her.”
Hickorys Irish Gold is a 2004 bay mare by Hickory Ginnin Peppy and out of JBS Golden Nugget by Peppy Badge Olena. She was bred by Lindy Barron of Okotoks, Alberta, and Chad has owned her since she was 3.
“I always say I want to raise some babies out of her,” Chad said. “She’s maybe one of the nicest mares we’ve ever had, but when they’re that consistent and good, you hate to put them out to pasture and breed them. I imagine you’ll see her here next year.”
Topping the leaderboard for AQHA Top Youth was 18-year-old Lisa Jean DeGeare of Sanger, Texas, in her last year as a youth on a horse that almost didn’t make it to the finals in Amarillo.
Hancocks Sparkle Red is a gray – not a red – mare by Junior D Hancock and out of Lil Bit O Red by Tee J Joe Boy. She was bred by Rustin Sturgeon of Goltry, Oklahoma.
“She got hurt and stumbled in South Dakota in July, and this is her first shoot back,” Lisa said. “And she pulled it off. Just amazing. She’s got a big heart.”
Lisa bought her horse from Donnie and Monica Blucher of Amarillo, and for the last two years, Lisa has been the bronze finisher at the AQHA Cowboy Mounted Shooting World Championships.
The freshman in the equine program at North Central Texas College started shooting in 2008 and hasn’t stopped since.
“The people, the speed, everything,” she said. “It’s a fun sport.”
All three top finishers say they plan to be in Houston on March 20-22, 2014, for the next AQHA Shooting World.
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