2011 Select World

Working Cow Horse

Not slowing down yet.

Working cow horse Select world champion Jerry Lee Barger and Rattlen Pepper

Jerry Lee Barger and Rattlen Pepper take their victory slide August 29 at the Adequan Select World Championship Show. (Journal photo)

At 71, with “an artificial knee and a couple of (bad) shoulders,” Jerry Lee Barger of Greenwood, Nebraska, shows no signs of slowing down. He rode his wife, Tammy’s, horse, Rattlen Pepper,  to the working cow horse world championship at the 2011 Adequan Select World Championship Show on August 29.

“It’s just really nice to win,” Jerry told the Journal. “There were a lot of nice competitors, and I want to congratulate them.”

The field included multiple Select cow horse champion Gary Lynn Olson, who ended up taking the reserve with Justa Nutha Tucker.

Jerry came into the finals having finished third in the prelims. All he could think about was just getting through the dry work – “I like the cow work the best – I’m not a very good reiner."

“It was a good cow,” he continued. “It wasn’t the toughest I’ve had, but I held her on the wall and I brought her around the corner. They were having trouble getting them around the corner without them busting out in the arena, and I held her about right and went down the fence and made two turns. I switched sides and circled up, and that’s all there was to it, I guess. The judges were good to me.”

The Bargers have two nicknames for Rattlen Pepper -- “Rat” or sometimes “Brown.” They bought the 2004 gelding by Annies Little Pepper and out of Lenas Hickory Miss by Doc’s Hickory from breeder Frank Kenzy of Iona, South Dakota.

“He’s so fun on cattle. He’s always in the right place at the right time. And there’s none of them that can outrun him. He’s a good ol’ boy; there’s not another like him.”

That’s saying a lot, especially since Jerry has owned some pretty nice horses, including 1994 Featherlite Superhorse Tuckers Vaquero and 1997 Featherlite Superhorse Tostada Tucker.

Now 22, Tuckers Vaquero is also at the 2011 Adequan Select World, ready to compete in ranch sorting with Jerry.

“I had him qualified in (the cow horse) but we thought…it would be a little tough on him,” Jerry said. “He could’ve handled it. He might have beaten this horse!” he added and gave Brown a pat. “I feel lucky to be the owner and be able to ride him.

“He’s coming right along in their steps. I’ll probably wear out before he will.”

The Bargers are done showing for the year, and are headed home to harvest – they farm for a living. But we might see Brown and Jerry at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions February 2012, in San Angelo, Texas.

Jerry’s had a lot of help over the years from different trainers across the country, but his biggest help with Brown came from home.

“Tammy’s helped me a lot … all I had to do was get on him!” Jerry said. “I have to thank her a lot.”