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Volunteer Ranch Horse “Beat the Heat” Show


By Nancy Brannon and Lisa Manning; photos by Gary Cox and Nancy Brannon

The Volunteer Ranch Horse Association was back at the Show Place Arena in Cordova, TN for their “Beat the Heat” show on September 18-20, 2020. This was their second time back at the Show Place after a successful “March Madness” show there March 13-15, 2020. This show definitely “beat the heat” because cooler temperatures and lower humidity made their fall debut this weekend. There wasn’t even a need to run the air conditioner in the indoor arena.

Show Secretary Tammy Bledsoe said this was a “small show,” with 467 entries, although they would have preferred around 800 entries. This show featured the NRCHA Derby, with $3,200 added money sponsored by Ronnie Bledsoe Trucking, and the NRCHA Bridle Spectacular, with $3,000 added money sponsored by Tennessee Equine Hospital. There were three goes in each: herd work (on Friday), rein work (on Saturday) and fence work (on Sunday). The weekend started with two AQHA Roping events on Friday afternoon. The show offered ARHA, VolRHA/NRSHA, VRH, and other AQHA classes, with over $9,500 total money and prizes awarded.

Several young riders and adults with Campbell’s Performance Horses of Moscow TN. had a successful weekend at the show. It was a very first show for seven-year-old Scarlett Rhodes and her horse, Smokin Duchess, aka “Marty.” Finishing their first Herd Work Class, Scarlett proudly posed with her horse and said smiling, “What I love best is the cow classes!”  Scarlett obtained Marty from a family friend, who learned of Scarlett’s love of horses in March of this year. Scarlett enjoyed riding Marty, so her family bought him for her the week before the show. Scarlett rode in Youth 18 & Under Herd Work, Boxing, Ranch Riding, Ranch Reining, and Halter classes.

Ten-year-old, Jack Mansfield just became the owner of CC Smoke Playboy, aka “Doubles,” and was equally delighted with their first show this weekend. Jack showed in Youth 18 & Under Ranchmanship and Ranch Riding, also Open Ranch Riding.

Thirteen-year-old, Josie Mansfield and five-year-old Quarter Horse Boomernic, aka “Kitty,” won the AQHA VRH Youth Reining. The fine pair also participated in AQHA versatility, ranch riding, and trail classes.

Trainer Shane Campbell showed Sun Doctor in their first NRCHA Bridle Spectacular. They were first in the Limited Open Herd Work and second in the Bridle Spectacular Limited Open Rein Work and Fence Work. In other classes, Sun Doctor was first in the NRCHA Limited Open Bridle and second in AQHA VRH Conformation and Cutting.

Sun Doctor, an eleven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, is owned by Skip and Angie Swanner, who said that he comes from a bloodline of “good minds, ability and conformation.”  The Swanners are proud that “Sun is truly a “versatile” horse.”  They thought Sun performed well in the NRCHA Open Bridle class, shown by Shane Campbell. “We liked his circles, speed, and how well he handled his cow.” This class is judged on reining and control of the cow.

Campbell’s wife Catie shared her husband’s reaction: “He felt this class gave him the most adrenaline – the closest thing to bull riding that he’s ever done!” 

Campbell said of the horse, “Sun is a finished cutting horse transitioning his career now to a reined cow horse.” Also competing at this show were two of Sun’s offspring.

Campbell also showed a six-year-old old Quarter Horse/Arabian, Very Smart Impact, aka “Smartie,” owned by Don and Terry Silver, in Ranchmanship classes.

Carlee Sarna and her horse Journey were the overall High Point Youth 18 & Under Champions for the weekend.

Catie Campbell said “(We) focus more on being a team and growing our horsemanship individually, rather than emphasizing competition between the kids. Even though they compete against each other, we focus on personal growth and camaraderie more than the placings. I hope you feel and see the unity of our group and why we love to show together so much.”

Woody Taylor rode four-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, Shine on Diamonds, aka “Coal,” owned by Wolf Hills Farm of Abingdon, Virginia, in Saturday’s NRCHA Open Hackamore class. As Taylor finished the class, leaving the arena, he expressed how pleased he was with their first class of the day. Taylor believes their success is the due to Coal’s “super mouth; he stays soft and responsive.”

The appropriately named, jet-black stallion “doesn’t know the meaning of when to quit,” Taylor commented. He seems particularly suited to herd workand advanced reining, talents which were helpful for their Derby Hackamore classes on Saturday and Sunday. Taylor and Coal gave a good performance in the VRH AQHA Reining class, as well.

Taylor rode with true connection and suppleness. Taylor had trained in the late 1980s with dressage trainer the late Jiri Zitek, a Czechoslovakian native based in Charleston, West Virginia. Taylor credited his success to his dressage foundation, and was grateful to have had the experience with his trainer Zitek and the Prix St. George level horse he rode early in his riding career.

Recently, in Cloverdale, Indiana the pair won the American Reined Horse Association World Championship – Reining Division of the World’s Top Ranch Hand. Their next big competition will be the NRCHA World Show in Ft. Worth, Texas. Taylor explained his future plans, “Because Coal is only a four-year-old, and is beginning to get the hang of the horse show life, we are looking forward to the World Show in February and a successful Derby year.”

Because of the risk of COVID-19, the Shelby County Health Dept. requires that everyone at the Show Place Arena and Agricenter International “wear a cloth face covering or mask while at this facility” and to follow “all CDC recommended guidelines, including social distancing.” While I was photographing at the show on Saturday, I was the only one wearing a face mask and keeping my distance from others, save for the Security Guard at the front door and my Mid-South Horse Review colleague. I inquired at the show office and was told that no one from the Health Dept. had been out to do temperature checks and that show management was not enforcing the mask and distancing requirements. The Security Guard told me that someone from Health Dept. comes out regularly and, if one came today, things would be a lot different at this show. She had masks to give out to folks who did not have one.

Tammy Bledsoe summarized the weekend: “I would like to thank everyone who came out and supported our show. We all had a great time and there was tons of wonderful competition. It was nice to hear all of the laughter as we caught up with each other after so many months apart. Congratulations to all of our winners and to those that stepped out and tried something new this weekend. We have a great group that cheers everyone on and will give a helping hand when needed.”
VolRHA High Point winners at the show:

Amateur: Chips Classical Stone, exhibited by Kyle W. Sanders
Select Amateur: Ima Tinseltown Champ, exhibited by Lea Ann Pinner
Open: Ima Holly Jack
Walk//Trot 19 & Over: Rapt N Cajee Sage, exhibited by Shelby Britt
Youth 18 & Under: CCS Wild Journey, exhibited by Carlee Sarna

Find more show information at the VolRHA website: on facebook.

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