November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Senior Pole Bending

Brock Bawel knew exactly who to thank after his first AQHA world championship.

Brock Dugle Bawel and A Real Over Achiever

Brock Dugle Bawel and A Real Over Achiever

Coming into the November 9 senior pole bending finals, Brock Bawel of Jasper, Indiana, felt pretty good. He and his 2005 gelding, A Real Over Achiever, had finished at the top of the prelims with a 19.93.

But he knew his competition was tough. The field included 2013 youth pole bending world champions Moon Struck Sue and Payton Carnahan of Vincennes, Indiana. Brock and A Real Over Achiever won the 2013 youth reserve to them in August. The two friends live just a half hour from each other.

“I thought I had a pretty good shot,” Brock told The American Quarter Horse Journal. Last in the go, he watched Payton run a speedy 20.187, for a combined time of 40.521. Payton had the title won as Brock went under the Gateway of Champions for his run.

“He’s good,” Brock said of his horse. “He’s a real dead-head until you step into the arena.”

True to form, A Real Over Achiever, ran a 20.489 for a combined 40.422, squeaking by with the win and leaving Payton with the reserve this time.

“It feels great; I’m still kind of in shock,” Brock said. “He’s just been awesome; he’s a trail horse; he can do anything.”

Brock has owned the gelding for about two years. By Undertaker Billy and out of Dating Queen by Intimidating Man, A Real Over Achiever was bred by Mark Houk of Horse Branch, Kentucky.

The two showed at the first Nutrena AQHA East Novice Championship in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 2012, taking the Novice championships in poles and stake race and finishing third in the Novice amateur barrels. They also finished in the top 10 in senior poles at the 2012 World Show, giving Brock the first-place Intermediate.

“We started (showing) in western pleasure about four years ago, and I got kind of tired going slow,” Brock said. “So we switched over to the so-called ‘dark side’ and started running poles and barrels.”

The “we” refers to his mom, Kathy, who owns A Real Over Achiever. She also qualified for the 2013 senior poles on Leavin Em Wishen, but didn’t make the finals. She ended up winning second-place Intermediate for her effort. Kathy also showed A Real Over Achiever at the East Novice Championship and won the reserve in the Novice amateur stake race and barrels.

“It’s great; good competition,” Brock said with a smile of running against his mom. “My dad doesn’t show, he just pays the bills.”

He added, “We get along great together. We have our arguments here and there about what should be done with the horses. We train ourselves, but Jerry (and Elaine) Barrett helps us a lot.”

And his folks are the first people he wanted to thank after the win. He plans to “Keep on going, bring new horses up and try to get here again.”

And what was his folks’ advice to him before heading in to go for his first world championship title?

“Go hard and don’t hold out.”

It's your moment; make it last forever! Videos of individual runs and class finals from the AQHA World Championship Show are available for purchase at www.aqha.com/mymoment. Plus, you can watch AQHA World Show video footage 24/7. This new service is optimized for Internet Explorer 10, Safari and most mobile Web browsers.