The Event

MikeMillerNon-pro Mike Miller and Cowboys Welcome Star in the steer stopping portion of competition – just another day at the office for Mike’s horse, who was raised on the family ranch in Big Piney, Wyoming. Mike tied with top hand Jon Roeser for reserve championship honors.

Held in mid-June at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., the World’s Greatest Horseman is the brainchild of the California-based National Reined Cow Horse Association. Although the outfit has held similar events on the West Coast for the past 20-plus years, this was the first year for North American horsemen to compete in mid-America for such a title. “We wanted,” said NRCHA Executive Director Scott Clark, “to take a national event to the Midwest, where we have a lot of new members and affiliates.”

The NRCHA’s growth rate justifies such a move, but the big draw for contestants was money. Altogether, more than $100,000 was added to the hefty entry fees, and the champion earned $50,000. With four preliminaries and a final round, chances were high that most competitors would take home cash in addition to top-flight prizes and products.

RodWeimersRod Weimers, Galt, Calif., and SOR Little Lena, owned by Carolyn Reynolds, circle up in the cow-horse competition. This team also qualified for the finals. The event is a rarity in the industry in another respect. It’s attractive and lucrative for the more mature horse, one who’s capable of handling four fast-paced events in a relatively short time. Basically, NRCHA honors the old vaquero tradition of developing a young horse slowly. Ridden first in the snaffle bit, then with a hackamore, the horse finally becomes, at about age 6, what these horsemen term a “bridle horse,” capable of packing a curb bit. Obviously, the older horse developed in such a manner can better meet the challenges presented by such a demanding event.

By showcasing both equine versatility and maturity, the NRCHA set the industry abuzz long before the event. “The horse public,” Clark pointed out, “and all the equine groups are hungry for an exciting horse show. This is a high-speed event. Nobody will be bored here.”

In the end, another crowd-pleasing factor entered the picture. Rancher and non-pro competitor Mike Miller, Big Piney, Wyo., tied for second and third-place monies with professional trainer Jon Roeser of Las Vegas. Miller’s success in going head-to-head with the pros gives hope to many non-pro, no matter their chosen events.

Said Miller of his mount, Cowboys Welcome Star, “He’s done his share of ranch work.” The 7-year-old stallion was raised on Miller Land and Livestock, the family ranch homesteaded by Miller’s great grandfather in the late 1800s. Although he admits that some clinics helped him prepare for competition, Miller gives wife Tara equal billing for training the horse. “The two of us make a good team. I’m probably a little more aggressive, and she keeps a horse more level-headed.”

Roeser rode Chex Out This Remedy, another 7-year-old stallion whose NRCHA earnings total almost $68,000. The trainer commented, “He’s a good-minded horse. Genetically, it’s all there.” Then he cited the horse’s bloodlines, proven ones for such competition. Roeser added that many successful multiple-event horses have competed at the NRCHA’s Snaffle Bit Futurity, where his mount previously had won a reserve championship. Such horses, he said, “can do three of the events anyway, and (for the World’s Greatest Horseman) you just need to rope on them too. It doesn’t take much time to teach them that.”

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