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November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Amateur Heeling

Marsha Vine and Gustafus James grab their first world championship at their second AQHA World Show.

Gustafus James and Marsha Vine

Marsha Vine is the first woman since 1981 to win amateur heeling. She rode Gustafus James.

A woman hasn’t won amateur heeling since 1981 when Susan Olson won the championship aboard Bachelor Setup.

Marsha Vine of Deerfield, Wisconsin, changed all that November 15 in the amateur heeling finals at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.

She was riding her trustworthy 2000 bay gelding, Gustafus James. Her heading help was AQHA Professional Horseman J.D. Yates of Pueblo, Colorado.

“I’m very honored!” she told The American Quarter Horse Journal. “This is my second World Show. I made the finals last year and was a finalist. I’m just astonished and speechless and in awe right now.”

Marsha grew up with horses and got interested in roping in the late ‘90s. She began showing AQHA in 2007.

“I took a clinic back in 1997 and started team roping,” she explained. “I always had Quarter Horses and liked to show. Did a little barrel racing, but really liked to rope. It’s challenging. The camaraderie in the arena with everybody. It’s a really fun time.”

She says “Gus” is her perfect partner.

“Gus is a real athlete,” she said. “He’s able to get to the steer. He’s very physical in his stop and is very quiet in the box and he takes really good care of me in the pen. I don’t dally. I tie on. It takes a special horse, in my opinion, to handle that because it can be a dangerous type of thing when you tie on if you don’t have the right horse. Gus is amazing. He’s very kind and very personable.”

She acquired Gus in 2007 in an unusual way that still brings tears to her eyes.

“When I got Gus, it was a surprise,” she said. “J.D. sent the papers to AQHA and had him transferred into my name and sent back to him. The papers were given to me in a card. It’s been a special trip the whole time. The Yates are very great people. 

“J.D. did a great job matching me to a horse,” she continued. “He is phenomenal at understanding what somebody is going to be able to ride and what they’re going to be able to get along with and finding a good horse for them.“

Gus comes from reining horse parents: by Missin James and out of Ms Peppy Otoe Olena by Paseo De Noche.

When she’s not horseback, Marsha is manager of a Hewlett-Packard call center in Wisconsin. 

She plans to return to the World Show next year after giving Gus a deserved break.

“I don’t travel much (in the winter) because of the roads are tricky, so I’ll give Gus a little time off this winter. Turn him out in the snow in Wisconsin and let him roll around and be a horse a little bit. This spring, I’ll head to Lincoln, Nebraska, again and start going for 2014.

"I have to say, it’s a lot of fun to be here," she continued. "I think AQHA staff does a really great job organizing this. I think the arena is always in great condition. The grounds always look good. I’m tickled to be here. It’s a fun environment."

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.