Team Roping Horse "Diesel" Wins AQHA Horse of the Year Award 3rd Consecutive Time
Nevada team roper Randon Adams got the phone call he was hoping for on Oct. 14. His horse was voted American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Horse of the Year.
The news was especially sweet because Adam's Baileys Copper Doc "Diesel" won for the third consecutive year. Diesel has carried the heeler to the No. 1 spot in the Crusher Rentals PRCA World Standings with $105,734 in earnings. Adams ropes with 2006 World Champion Matt Sherwood, whose horse, Nicks Rocket Rojo "Nic," placed second in the Team Roping Heading voting this year and was the AQHA Horse of the Year in that category in 2006.
"We've had a really good year, and it really helped to have good horses out in front of us," Adams said. "You look at the people who are doing well in all the events, and they have good horses. (Diesel) has really been a big key to my success."
Others celebrating recognition included owner/rider Travis Tryan, whose team roping heading horse Precious Speck "Walt" claimed top honors for the second straight year and third overall. Walt also finished first in the voting in 2003. The 25 top-ranked timed-event contestants in each event vote for the horses of the year.
In steer wrestling, Rtr Little Willy "Willy" finished first in the voting. It was the first AQHA Horse of the Year win for the Canadian equine star owned by Greg Cassidy. Willy has carried Rope Myers (2001), Lee Graves (2005) and Jason Miller (2007) to a trio of world championships.
Two horses shared the tie-down roping first-place prize. Acre Te Run "OZ," owned and ridden by Justin Maass and Dual Sonny Dee "Dually," owned by Priscilla Pipkin and ridden by Jerrad Hofstetter, shared Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year honors.
There also was a tie in the voting for the Steer Roping Horse of the Year. Larneds Ricoche Doc "Woody," owned and ridden by Dan Fisher, split the first-place voting with Happy San Doc "Happy," owned and ridden by Paul Patton.
Sugar Moon Express "Martha," owned and ridden by Lindsay Sears, was voted WPRA Barrel Racing Horse of the Year.
Talk to any of the owners or riders, and they will tell you the 2008 Horses of the Year are a talented bunch and they can't help but brag about them a little bit.
"He's an eye-catching horse – a solid sorrel – a real pretty horse," said Adams about his 10-year-old gelding, Diesel, whom he describes as playful out of the arena and all business inside it.
Tie-down roping horses OZ and Dually certainly did their respective jobs. OZ has carried Maass to 13th place in the world standings and given the Maass family its second consecutive Horse of the Year win. Smash Par Fancy "Flip," owned by Maass' wife, Paige, was voted Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year last year. This year Scott Kormos is riding Flip, and Kormos moved up to 14th in the world standings after a strong performance at the Heartland ProRodeo Championships that ended Oct. 11 in Waco, Texas. Maass is proud of both horses and especially pleased with OZ's efforts this season.
"He is big and strong and scores well," said Maass about his 12-year-old gelding. "He runs hard and tries hard every time."
Dually helped lift Jerrad Hofstetter into the Top 15 to qualify him for his first trip to the Wrangler NFR.
"I truly believe that horse is a big part of the reason I'm going to make it to the Finals this year," Hofstetter said. "He can run so much. He is awesome everywhere. The louder the rodeo is, the better he is."
Riding Walt makes Tryan a better roper because the three-time Team Roping Heading Horse of the Year gives him so much confidence.
"He hardly ever makes any mistakes," said Tryan about the 18-year-old gelding. "He works more consistently. He runs a little bit harder, and he scores just a little bit better. Everything he does, he does a notch better, and that makes me that much better as a roper. You know you can take the shot you want to take. You can do anything you want to do and just go rope."
The cowboys who ride Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year Willy also have high praise for the horse they ride. Willy has helped 2004 World Champion Luke Branquinho (second), Curtis Cassidy (third), Miller (eighth) and Gabe Ledoux (12th) into the Top 15 in the world standings this year.
The five-time Canadian Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year is a 22-year-old veteran of the sport who is athletic, smart and as consistent as the days of the week. He is probably best known for getting an explosive start.
"A horse at that level knows when it's time to perform and do their job," said Branquinho, who won the River City Roundup in Omaha, Neb., aboard Willy. "That's why these horses win Horse of the Year because they know when it's game time."
AQHA Horses of the Year
1. Rtr Little Willy, "Willy," owned by Greg Cassidy, ridden by Curtis Cassidy, Jason Miller, Luke Branquinho and Gabe Ledoux
2. Dark Laddy, "Chunk," owned by Stockton Graves, ridden by Stockton Graves, T Roy Orr and Dean Gorsuch
3. Dashs Dapper Star, "Wick," owned and ridden by Wade Sumpter
Team Roping Heading
1. Precious Speck, "Walt," owned and ridden by Travis Tryan
2. Nicks Rocket Rojo, "Nic," owned and ridden by Matt Sherwood
3. Ra Sonoita Silver, "Vegas," owned and ridden by Turtle Powell
Team Roping Heeling
1. Baileys Copper Doc, "Diesel," owned and ridden by Randon Adams
2. Sunday Night Bingo, "Amigo," owned by Patrick and Christi Smith, ridden by Patrick Smith
3. Freckles Taz, "Taz," owned and ridden by Kinney Harrell
Tie Down Roping
1. (tie) Acre Te Run, "OZ," owned and ridden by Justin Maass and Dual Sonny Dee, "Dually," owned by Priscilla Pipkin, ridden by Jerrad Hofstetter
3. Skeezixs Lil Pie, "Cletus," owned and ridden by Adam Gray
1. (tie) Larneds Ricoche Doc, "Woody," owned and ridden by Dan Fisher and Happy San Doc, "Happy," owned and ridden by Paul Patton
3. Foxy Duplicate, "Pacific," owned by Shandon Stalls, ridden by Shandon Stalls and Guy Allen
WPRA Barrel Racing
1. Sugar Moon Express, "Martha," owned and ridden by Lindsay Sears
2. Mighty Classy Flight, "Flick," owned and ridden by Shelly Murphy
3. Judge Buy Cash, "Jethro," owned by Frank and Lynne Mays, ridden by Brenda Mays