John & Laurie Ward Earn Hackamore Classic Championships

NRCHA Press Release

They had both won the National Reined Cow Horse Association's Snaffle Bit Futurity - he in the Open and she in the Non Pro - and a basketful of other titles - but John and Laurie Ward of Kingsburg, California, had never earned a major event championship at the same time until the Hackamore Classic in Paso Robles, California, April 30-May 1. The show became a family scrapbook classic when John rode Reynin Rey (Mr Solano Rey X Ripples Freckles) to win the Open Hackamore Classic and Laurie rode Just Mister Cool (Mister Dual Pep X Colonels Hot Chic) to win the matching Non Pro title. In doing so, they were perpetuating the legacies of two dynasties.

John and Laurie are the son and daughter of two NRCHA icons - Hall of Famers Greg Ward and Ronnie Richards. Reynin Rey belongs to Ronnie and Karin Richards - Laurie's parents. Laurie won the Non Pro title on John's horse. Add to that the Richard's other son-in-law, NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Jon Roeser, finished as Reserve Champion, and split third and fourth place with two-time World's Greatest Horseman Ted Robinson - who was riding Master Kaweah (Master Remedy X Buenochex Kaweah) a horse owned by Ward Ranch!

Laurie Ward commented, "We have all had our share of Championships, but never all on the same day!"

John Ward laughed, "It's really a family deal. Ronnie actually bought Reynin Rey for Bo (Davis, Laurie's daughter). Then Bo got busy so Karin started cutting on him. Karin lopes him and cuts on him, and Ronnie rides him in the hackamore."

Ward's composite score on Reynin Rey was 438. A 148 in the herd work tied with Jon Roeser, the 143 in the rein work edged Roeser by a mere half point, and Ward and Roeser left the cow work arena with another identical score, a 147 on the fence. The half point rein work advantage secured the Championship for Ward and earned $8,395.

Jon Roeser rode Boons Royal Legacy (Peptoboonsmal X Smogy Doc) owned by Brian and Cynthia Holthouse to the Reserve Championship, then tied for third on 2003 Hackamore Classic Champion, Very Smart Remedy, owned by Annie Reynolds with a 434.5 (146, 147.5, 141)

Ron Emmons finished fifth with a score of 434 (140, 146, 148) in the Open and claimed the Intermediate Open Championship on Roo Star (Gallo Del Cielo X Anna Paulena) a horse he purchased from Frank and Robin Merrill of Purcell, Oklahoma.

Ed Robertson and Pick N Shovel (Lenas May Day X Athenas Minerva) posted a composite of 430 (145, 140, 145) to claim both the Reserve Intermediate Open and Limited Open Championships. Pick N Shovel is the family brand of owner Cathie Twisselman's late father, the legendary Alex Madonna. His recent passing instilled a unique flavor to the Hackamore Classic for those that knew him.

Madonna was known for his positive and upbeat approach to life and his famous Madonna Inn at San Luis Obispo, as well as the family ranch, and the week was filled with personal anecdotes from each of the lives he had touched.

Twisselman smiled, "We will never sell this horse now. We raised horses for thirty years, and never thought to name one for Dad's trademark and brand. At the time I didn't realize the significance, but I do now. My dad loved this horse."

The Limited Open Reserve Champion was Jazzys Cashin In (N Cash X Jazzys Playboy) owned by Jay Shidler of Honolulu, Hawaii, and ridden by Charles Stevens.

Laurie Ward's Non Pro championship earned $4,875 for her score of 435.5 (141, 144.5, 150). Finishing second was Bubba Petty on Shiners Bueno Nic (Shining Spark X Bueno Q Nic), a horse he owns with his wife, Nicole. Petty also won the $50K Non Pro Championship, boosting his total earnings at the show to near the $6,000 mark.

The $50K Reserve Championship went to Justin Wright, on Mr Hollywood Rooster (Gallo Del Cielo X Ms Hollywood Doc) owned by his parents, Walter and Sharon Wright. Shannon McCarty rode Captains Pony (Captain Nice X Primos Bar Gal) to the Amateur Championship, with a score of 426 (142, 140, 144). There was a tie for the Reserve Championship between Me Col Fox (As Smart As The Fox X Leah Freckles) ridden by Tammy Johnston and Uno Mart Starlight (Smart Little Pepinic X Shotgun LIzzy) owned and ridden by Polly Bremel.

In its first year at the California Mid-State Fair Arena, the Hackamore Classic was a fitting showcase highlighting the second phase of the traditional Vaquero training method. Exhibitors and fans were treated to a special complimentary barbecue on Friday evening, hosted by the California Mid-State Fair Board and enjoyed by all.

The event was sponsored by John & Dee Lacey of Paso Robles, Krause Mecates and Classic Equine, as well as the NRCHA Corporate Partner family that includes Bayer Corporation, Bailey Hat Company, Bob's Custom Saddles, Cinch, Inc., Classic Equine, EQ Solutions, MD Barns, Platinum Performance, Inc., Nutrena, Skyline Silversmiths, Sundowner Trailers, National Ropers Supply, Quarter Horse News & Western Horseman magazine, the Reno Hilton, Dan Gamel's RV Centers and Coachmen RV's,, Rios of Mercedes and the Silver Legacy, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today's equine industry.

For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at
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