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STANDING AT: TEAM TALMADGE TALMADGEGREEN@AOL.COM

(478) 456–7500 - (601) 444–4815 SANDY HOOK, MISSISSIPPI

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2015

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W elcom e to the Lone Sta r State! H ere

TODD STAPLES

e very thing i s bigger a nd bet ter, including o ur ba rrel r a cing e vents. The

Di a m onds & Dirt Ba rrel Horse Cl a ssic ™ Commissioner i s the l a r gest futuri t y purse in Te xa s.

There’s m ore th a n $900,000 in ca sh a nd pri zes rea dy a nd wa i ting for the w inne rs.

event brings the very best competitors in barrel Welcome to Texas – home to someThis of incredible our nation’s richest traditions and a beacon racing to the beautiful Brazos Valley. In Texas, we are very proud toward our bright future. And, welcome to Texas’ largest futurity event, the 2014 of our rodeo heritage. The first rodeo ever held was right here in Diamonds and Dirt Barrel Horse Classic. Texas in 1883, and the Lone Star State is where the first professional barrel race was staged. It’s only natural for us to keep the tradition

alive with the the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel as there’s no Texans are proud of many things, especially friendships we Horse haveClassic™, throughout better place than Texas for this race to call home. the Lone Star State, across the nation and around the world. Home to a powerhouse of agricultural production and leading the nation in the number of Kristi Schiller and LaTricia Duke had a dream of putting together horses, cattle and several other animal species, animal care and stewardship are a fun, family-friendly event that brings together the most talented central to the Texas spirit. Your participation event enriches spirit,Now and professionals inin thethis business in the same arenathat to compete. we appreciate you. in its fourth year, the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic is everything these two women envisioned.

Kristi Schiller and LaTricia Duke had a vision for an event that would attract the What is so wonderful about accomplished this classic event is we alsogoal have the best barrel competitors in the United States. They have this in opportunity to support the local community, including nonprofits just a few short years. Even better, they’ve enabled us all to utilize this event to like K9s4COPs. A charitable organization, K9s4COPs supports law benefit a noble cause – K94Cops. Kristi’s leadership and passion for protecting enforcement agencies by providing departments and schools in need lives and fighting crime with this foundation is trained an example all toThese envy. with K9 officers, and readyfor for action. dogs are highly trained to find narcotics and explosives. Plus, the K9 officers serve as event,partners and we are glad have you here. We hope in fighting crimeto in our communities.

Texas is fortunate to host this your stay is exciting, your competition is rewarding, and your travels are safe. God Bless Texas,

Thank you for attending this year’s event. We know you’ll love the competition, and hope to see you again in 2016! Your servant,

Todd Staples Sid Miller

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Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s

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the diamond of the dirt

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HARD HEADED

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A NEW SET OF EYES

4 Welcome Letter

44 ready to roll

6 a tribute to brenda

5 0 m a k i n g t h i n g s m at t e r

10 schedule

60 dog and pony show

18 “The Dirt � a l o ok b a c k at 2 0 1 4

62 a ne w set of eyes

24 sponsors 30 taking a bite out ta crime

68 the dia mond of the dirt 74 riding for the brand

38 hard headed

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A Tribute to Brenda “Brenda was truly one-of-a-kind.They broke the mold and we will never see another one like her. My family and I are so honored to know her and be part of the laughter she generated; the way she could catch your funny-bone off guard and make you laugh until you cried; the love she always showed for “ Tuttle” was beautiful. At every turn with friends and family she showed what a big and generous heart she possessed. Our life will forever have a void without her on this earth. We love you Brenda.” - Kristi Schiller 6

“Brenda was such a special person and I miss her dearly. Her smile, kindness and enthusiasm was contagious, and she was a champion for both Diamonds & Dirt and K9s4COPs. She was a friend to everyone she met. I will always remember how good she was to my family, especially my son, often bringing him special treats and letting him “help” her at the office when he visited. Plus, she taught me the correct way to eat gumbo (with potato salad on top!).We love and miss you Brenda!” - Kristin Brown

“Brenda was one of the most giving and loving people I know. Every time I spoke with her, she asked me "How's my baby girl". If anything needed done, she was willing to jump in. I loved her for her willingness to include everyone and make them part of her life. Not a time went by that she did not try to accommodate everybody. I truly miss her and love her.” - Ross Wright


“There were so many wonderful memories of Brenda but this one comes to mind always.

I was walking by the cabins at Schiller Ranch and I could see Brenda running towards me absolutely terrified, white as a ghost. Initially I could not understand Brenda at first. I was finally able to decipher “JoJo, hurry get your gun, that snake is after me".Then, I saw what she was talking about - it was a the biggest, ugliest meanest snake I ever saw and it was hot on her tail. I flew offf the end rail on the porch feeling as giddy as a school girl and grabbed my .45 and immediately went into Thelma & Louise Beast mode. I handed Brenda my wine and fired my hand-held cannon.You heard the loud noise and it flinched off the ground when I hit it, but it kept moving. I decided I needed something easier to handle, so I ran for a cast iron skillet and my largest Ginzu knife. After managing to put this snake in several pieces and he was STILL moving he realized he didn’t think his time on this earth was done. So after another sip of liquid courage I went in for round three and it was finally over. A few more hollow points and swats with the machete and he was in 3 pieces and I knew I had won that battle and saved my friend. I The squealing was getting louder but it had morphed into a roaring laughter. Brenda just rolling on the steps shrieking holding her side with laughter as tears streaming down her face. I had never seen her laugh so hard. She was the greatest and funniest friend I have known. She will be missed by all of us. She loved all things Schiller Ranch from the babies being born, to Diamonds & Dirt and watching the Aggies play. was what she truly enjoyed. She lit up a room whenever she entered. Brenda will forever live in our hearts.”

“I remember Brenda always smiling. She had a twinkle in her eye.” - Debra Bowen

- Jo Jo Hoss Coskey

“Brenda was a beautiful woman inside and out who had an immense love and passion for her family, her work, and her dogs. Her only flaw was that she was not the best with driving directions and got us lost a few times, but I would gladly be her navigation partner again any day, especially if I got her potato salad out of the deal.” - Madison Sperry

“Brenda was such a joy to be around and I miss working with her everyday. She always had my back and encouraged me to learn new things and dream big.” - Melanie Boyd

“Brenda was loving and kind and there is a great void now without her. She now has the best seat in the house for Diamonds & Dirt and I know she will be watching this year and saying,“I can’t believe they pulled it off, again!”. Love you, BT.” - Lauryn Sanford

“Brenda was one of the most giving people I have ever met. She always put everyone else before herself and would go above and beyond to help you. She loved Bravid and myself like family and we loved her just as much.Thank you Brenda for always being a great friend. We miss you and know that you are watching us.”

“Brenda was truly an angel on earth. She always told me she loved "our girls" Zoey & Sinclair, like they were her own. She was passionate about what she did and more sensitive than anyone knew but always had a smile on her face. She always just wanted to make everyone happy and truly loved life.We miss you sweet Brenda and thank you for being a part of and enriching each one of our lives.” - Shanna Brown

- LaTricia Duke 7


Julia and David, along with their longtime associate, Dean Wile, began the store in 1983 with the goal to create an environment that fosters creativity, honesty and quality. The 2 Certified Gemologists and 3 Graduate Gemologists on staff are confirmation of their commitment to knowledge and consumer protection. Their passion is designing jewelry, but second only to their commitment to giving back to this community.

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Bling Bringing the

back to te xas

Ta k ing a f r e sh m a r k e ting pe rspecti ve a nd a pplying i t to the w orld of barre l r a c ing, S c hil l e r R anc h hope s to contribute to the a lrea dy solid fo undation on whic h the sp ort of ba r r e l r a cing i s built.

Schiller Ranch has strived to bring together new and previously established sponsors in our industry and is pleased to present to you the support of: Pro Vision Equine, Gold Rush Syndicate, Twisted J Ranch, Capital Farm Credit, MR Performance Horses, French StreakToVegas, Three Bar T Quarter Horses, Bryan–College Station Visitors Bureau, Dean & Draper, Double J Saddlery, RES Equine Products, Cavender’s, Prosperity Bank, LoneStar Truck & Equipment, Equine Sports Medicine & Surgery, Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, Fallon Taylor, Matt Litz Silversmith, Troy Flaharty Bits & Spurs, David Gardner’s Jewelers, Rolex, UltrOz, Buc-ee’s, Energy XXI, Better Barrel Races of America and WPRA Pro Elite Sire Incentive. Schiller Ranch believes with the support of these new sponsors there could be a window for fresh exposure to the sport of barrel racing. Kristi Schiller believes if we come together and support the new relationships in progress, we could potentially expand the possibilities for future events to have bigger payouts, bigger prizes and promote bigger sponsorships for owners and breeders alike. The industry’s most respected are already coming on board with Schiller Ranch in an effort to support more lucrative events. Multiple world champion owner and breeder, Jud

Little of Ardmore, Okla., sings the praises of the approach Schiller Ranch is taking. “We as breeders and competitors are in appreciation of the new ideas and opportunities being presented to us at the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic™. Schiller Ranch has become an asset to the barrel horse and futurity industry, and I look forward to attending what I am sure will be a first class event.” World champion breeder, trainer and owner, Bo Hill echoes Little’s sentiments. “Special thanks to Schiller Ranch for thinking outside the box and recruiting major sponsors to support the sport of barrel racing. Every industry can use new and energetic people like the Schillers.” Even the east coast is getting on board. Longtime Florida resident and futurity horse owner, Rick Large of RSL Enterprises, extends his excitement as well, “I think this is going to be an excellent futurity. The level of prize money and awards will be a tremendous asset to our sport. I look forward to an outstanding race that is sure to be one of the toughest of the year.” The excitement of this week is based on watching the barrel racing industry’s best compete on some amazing equine athletes, highlighted by the common goal everyone in the industry is working toward, building and promoting the exciting and incredible sport of barrel racing.

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THE SCHEDULE Monday, March 9

12 pm Stalls Open

Tuesday, March 10

7 am 8 am 8 am 9 am

Wednesday, March 11

Thursday, March 12

Friday, March 13

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Stalls Open Offices Open Vendor move in Early Derby check in (Coggins, Health, and Original Registration Paperwork MUST be presented) 9 am Slot Race Horse check in 9am ­– 1pm Futurity Horse check in 10 am Exhibitions Begin (All Futurity horses guaranteed one exhibition in draw order) 12 pm - 5pm Meet the K9s4COPs K9 Officers 10 pm All vendors must be fully moved in and set up 7 am Stalls Open 8am Office Opens 8:45 am Parade of Flags Presented by the Diamond Darlins 9 am Gold Rush Syndicate Open 5D 10 am Retail Round-Up opens 11am – 7pm Meet K9s4COPS K9 Team (K9s4COP’s booth) 12 pm Draw for Diamond Jubilee Slot Race horse running order (show office) 3 pm VIP Bar opens (VIP credentials required) 3 pm K9s4COPs Police K9 Demo at the K9s4KIDs Zone 4 pm Diamond Jubilee Slot Race Hat Sale (main arena) 6:40 pm The Amazing Bobby Kerr Mustang Act K9s4COPs Police K9 Demo 7 pm $315,000 Diamond Jubilee Futurity Slot Race 8 pm Retail Round-Up closes 8 pm K9s4KIDs Zone closes 7 am Stalls Open 8 am Offices Open 8:45 am Parade of Flags Presented by Diamond Darlins 9 am Schiller Ranch Futurity 1st Round 10 am Retail Round-Up opens 10 am K9s4KIDs Zone opens 11 am – 5 pm Meet K9sCOPs K9 Team (K9sCOPs booth) Twisted J Ranch Derby Qualifying Round (begins 30 Minutes after Futurity 1st Round has concluded) 3 pm K9s4COPs Police K9 Demo at the K9s4KIDs Zone 8 pm Retail Round-Up closes 8 pm K9s4KIDs Zone closes 7 am Stalls Open 8 am Office Opens 8:45 am Parade of Flags Presented by The Diamond Darlins All dates and t imes subject to ch ange.


Friday, Continued

Saturday, March 14

Sunday, March 15

Monday, March 16

9 am Schiller Ranch Futurity 2nd Round 10 am Retail Round-Up opens 10 am K9s4KIDs Zone opens 11 am–8 pm Meet K9s4COPs K9 Team (K9s4COPs booth) 3 pm K9s4COPs Police K9 Demo at the K9s4KIDs Zone 4 pm Horse Trailer Chili Cook-Off (Coyote Trading Co.) 6 pm VIP Bar opens (VIP credentials required) 6 pm Pro Vision Barrel Sweepstakes begins 7:30 pm The K9s4COPs Dog & Pony Show Hat Sale (main arena) The Amazing Bobby Kerr Mustang Act K9s4COPs Police K9 demo 8 pm The 3rd Annual K9s4COPs Dog & Pony Show Presented by Capital Farm Credit 8 pm Retail Round-Up closes 8 pm K9s4KIDs Zone closes 7 am Stalls Open 8 am Office Opens 8:45 am Parade of Flags Presented by The Diamond Darlins 9 am Gold Rush Syndicate Open 5D 10 am Retail Round-Up opens 10 am K9s4KIDs Zone opens 11 am–8 pm Meet K9s4COPs K9 Team (K9s4COPs booth) 2 pm–6 pm The first 200 people to guess the Futurity Grand Champion & Reserve Champion’s winning times will be entered to win a brand new Ford or Chevy truck, sponsored by Caldwell County Chevrolet & Rockdale County Ford 3 pm VIP Bar opens (VIP credentials required) 4 pm Futurity Finals Hat Sale (main arena) Time TBD Pro Vision Pole Bending Sweepstakes Epic Leader Stick Horse Race (10 & Under) 5 pm Twisted J Ranch Derby Finals Epic Leader Stick Horse Race (11 & Older) 6 pm Three Bar T Quarter Horses Amateur Futurity Finals Epic Leader Stick Horse Race – Announcer Showdown! The Amazing Bobby Kerr Mustang Act K9s4COPs Police K9 demo 6:30 pm Schiller Ranch Futurity Finals 9 pm “Night of Diamonds” (Ballroom) 11 pm K9s4KIDs Zone closes 7 am Stalls Open 8 am Cowboy Church 8:45 am Parade of Flags Presented by The Diamond Darlins 9 am Pro Vision Pole Bending Sweepstakes 30 mins after Gold Rush Syndicate Open 5D 10 am Retail Round-Up opens 5 pm Retail Round-Up closes 12 pm All Contestants, Vendors and Participants Exit the Brazos County Expo Complex grounds – No Exceptions All dates and t imes subject to ch ange.

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The Futurities

A f u t u rit y i s a n e ve n t he l d f or ba rrel horses 3, 4 a nd 5 yea rs old. The f u t u rit y ind u s try pay s o u t h u ndreds of tho usa nds of doll a rs in ca sh a nd pr iz es e v e ry y e a r , m a k ing i t barrel r a cing’s m o st lucr ati ve sport. The fa stpa c ed e xc i te m e n t of i t g i ve s i t a ga m bler’s a ppea l, m uch like horse r a cing.

Futurity horses start their training late in their 2-year-old year. Some people choose to train their own horses, but professional trainers are running a lot of the horses seen competing. The goal of the young futurity horse is to have it ready for the Juvenile Futurity in Oklahoma City, Okla., in December of its 3-year-old year. This event is held with the Barrel Futurities of America World Championships every year, which is where the 4-year-old futurity horses run for the title of World Champion.

race. You can buy a slot anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on which race you are entering, and then contacting trainers to find a horse to run in the slot for you. There is still nothing like owning your own horse and there are many professional trainers in attendance of this event that can help you get started.

There are two age brackets for a futurity horse. Four-year-old futurity horses are eligible to run in every event held in the country, and the 5-year-old futurity horse’s bracket is a growing addition for horses that may have not made the cut as a 4-year-old. The 4-year-old futurity horses cannot have been entered in a barrel racing competition, for prizes or money, before December 1 of their 3-year-old year and the 5-yearolds can not have been entered before December 1 of their 4-year-old year.

The derbies are a place for 5 and 6-year-old horses to shine. They are often times past champions of the futurity world continuing their training before they go on to be open and rodeo horses. Most often held in conjunction with the major futurities, the derbies offer the same excitement as the futurities.

Owning a futurity horse can be an exciting venture. There are extra events called slot races where a fee is paid to hold a spot in a race and you have a set amount of time to run a horse in that spot. The biggest slot races pay as much as $100,000 to winners. You don’t even have to own a horse to enter the

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The Derbies

The Open Di vi siona l R a ces

The open “D” races are like a handicapping system for the sport of barrel racing. This popular format for barrel racing started back in the early 90s and has opened the door for many full-time workers or weekend warriors, to compete for major prize money and awards at their, or their horse’s, skill level. Horses and people of any age are allowed to compete.


How it

Works

Today there i s e very thing fr om a 4D to a 6D r a ce. Ea ch ti m e di vi sion i s essenti a lly i ts own ba rrel r a ce w i th a payo ut. The 4D system i s m o st com m only used w i th a gr ow ing inter e st in the 5D .

The divisional system has been instrumental in the sport of open barrel racing. It has created a market for horses that might not be fast enough to win a futurity or a 1D check. The horses that are honest, solid and do their job every time are often times valued as highly as the 1D and futurity winning horses. T H E R ODEOS

With the majority of rodeos being men only sports, this fierce and fastpaced branch of the barrel horse industry is all about heart and stamina. Most barrel horses are owned by their riders, but a growing number are being campaigned for different investors who enjoy watching their horse in the high drama of a rodeo. It takes a special horse to win on the rodeo trail. There is much more traveling with not as long of stays between runs. The ultimate goal for every rodeo barrel racer is the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev. Held every year in December in the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center, this 10-day marathon rodeo is the accumulation of dreams.

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d n o m a i D lins r a D 2015

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CHEYENNE

SINCLAIR

JORDAN KYLEE

RIO LIDDIE MILEY CEILY ZOEY AUSTYN

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DOUBLE SADDLERY THE OFFICIAL SADDLE OF

CHECK OUT ALL OUR LINES AT

www.DoubleJSaddlery.com FOLLOW US 16


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WE’VE GOT DIAMONDS. THEY’VE GOT NUGGETS.

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MAP

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Retail Round-Up Wednesday-Saturday 10am-8pm

Sunday 10am-5pm

• 3 S a s s y Gir l s

• K enneth Springer Photo gr a phy

• 3 -2 -1 A ction V ide o

• L & W Bi ts

• A Winning Way Appa r e l

• L egends Prem iere Sta llion Auction

• A q ua The r a p y Bl ank e t • Ba c k On Tr ac k

• L i t tle Ri ver Collectibles

• Bes t E ve r Pa d s

• Northea st Te xa s Equine Service s – Dr. Ta r a ba

• Blu e B onne t F e e d s

• Ox y- G en – M ea ls & M ore

• Br a nde nbu r g Eq u ine The r apy

• P&P Tr a iler Sa les

• Br a zos Val l e y Eq u ine Ho spi ta l Dr John J a nic e k

• Pl a ins Hori zon Equine I nsur anc e

• Brya n – Col l e g e S tation Con v e n tion and V i si tors B urea u • Bu c k F e r g e son Or ig ina l s • Ca r gill Ani m a l N u tr i tion • Chic a C h u l a B o u tiq u e • Coyot e Tr ading Co . • D ou bl e J S addl e ry • E s c en t- Oil Ba l anc e / A r om athe r a p y H e a lth A ssn

• Pr o Vi sion • R a nk R odeo Threa ds & Som bre r o Br a nds L LC • Rein M a n / Wa sson Custom Bi ts • RES Equine B o ots • R G Tr a ilers • Rick M cCum ber • RV So ur ce • Serna B o ots

• E q u i-R e sp

• Short y ’s Ca boy H at tery

• E q u ine Pe r f or m a nc e M e dic ine – Dr . G r e g F or d

• Silpa da Designs

• Fiber E ne r g y • G et Patc he d • G irl s Got ta Have I t • H edde n W e st • H erita g e Br and • Hoof Be at • J -8 Resp on si ve R ope s • J u s t Horsin’ Ar o u nd S addl e & Ta c k • K 9 s 4 COP s | K 9s4K I D s

• Sta m pede Conversions • Te xa s L ea d R opes • The Perfect Bi t • The Pink Ca ctus • Tr avi s G ri m sle y Ta ck Tr a iler • Triple Cr ow n Nutri tion • T w i sted J R a nch • T w i sted R o se Tr a ding Com pa ny • UltrOZ • ZV Equine

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Thank you to

Our Sponsors Crown Jewel Sponsor

Double Diamond Sponsors EQUINE SURVEILLANCE

Diamond Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

24k Gold Sponsors

18k Gold Sponsors Dea n & Dr a per

Three Ba r T Q ua rter Horses Billy & Debbie Tippee

14k Gold Sponsors

Equine Sports M edicine & Sur ge ry • W eatherford Di vi sion

Silver Sponsors

Pr o speri t y Ba nk LoneSta r Truck & Equipm en t Cavender’s

Awards Sponsor

Buck Fergeson Originals • David Gardner’s Jewelers – Rolex • Double J Saddlery • Fallon Taylor Helmets Matt Litz Silversmith • Pro Vision • RES Equine Products • Shorty’s Caboy Hattery • Troy Flaharty Bits and Spurs Twisted J Ranch • Ultroz

Special Thank You

Andrew Hancock Photography • Barrel Horse News • Buc-ee’s • Danika Kent • Everest Agency • HRTV Isaiah Mays Photography • Josh Welch Photography • P+R Productions • RideTV • Tanya Randall • WC Tractors

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Achieving Excellence

One Champion at a Time ..

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MILLICAN RESERVE A LAND OF PROMISE

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Taking A Bite Outta Crime By Tan ya R andal l

The in a u gu r a l Di a m ond s & Dirt You t h Cl a s sic be ne f i ts K 9s4K I D s a nd tom or r ow ’s c h a m pions.

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H

undreds of youth barrel racing and pole bending contestants from across the United States attended the inaugural Diamonds & Dirt Youth Classic, held Nov. 21-23, 2014, at the Brazos County Expo Center in Bryan, Texas. These talented riders—all under the age of 19—were competing for nearly $50,000 in cash and prizes, all the while benefiting K9s4KIDs, a special sector within the K9s4COPs foundation that raises money to purchase K9s for safety and crime prevention in schools. Event host Schiller Ranch rolled out the red carpet for the youth and made sure all in attendance had a chance to feel competitive—in and out of the arena. In addition to the many divisions (“Ds”) and age groups for the arena competition, the event also offered a variety of family fun, competitive activities such as stick horse races, marshmallow fights, boot scrambles and egg toss games. There was even a $1,500-added pony race for those riding horses that “didn’t measure up” in stature to the bigtime athletes. “We wanted all the contestants to feel like they had a chance to win something, in and out of the arena,” said Kristi Schiller, event host and founder of K9s4COPs. “Our goal was to make this a family fun event—even those that didn’t ride or compete were welcome to take part in the games. Sure, competition in the arena was fierce, and we saw some amazing displays of riding from the future of our industry, but when the dust settled, we wanted everyone to have had a good time.” The Diamonds & Dirt Youth Classic was a true youth event, said Amanda (Lyne) Gorham, mother of 8-&-Under Sweepstakes Champion London Gorham, age 7. “London had so much fun,” said Amanda Gorham. “It started at 9 o’clock in the morning and we were done by 4 or 5. They had little games for the kids. It was great for those that might not have done so well in the arena. The Ds were great for that too. That was a YOUTH barrel race. It was great.”

Look Out For London London Gorham, the little blonde speed demon from Cotulla, Texas, captured the 8-&-Under Barrel Racing Sweepstakes aboard her 21-year-old pole bending horse Hesa Tornado. The 7-year-old daughter of Shorty and Amanda (Lyne) Gorham walked away with the biggest payday of her young life, $2,352 for winning the sweepstakes and placing in the pole bending and 19-&-under barrel racing. “She doesn’t run barrels on him because I want to save him for the poles,” said Amanda Gorham. “He’s coming 22, and a good pole horse is a lot harder to find than a good barrel horse.” However, with $1,000 in added money, Diamonds & Dirt Youth Classic was the one exception. “I think it’s pretty cool that he can do everything,” said London, a home-schooled first grader. “He can do barrels, roping and poles.” Tornado, a gelded son of Tiny Tornado Too—sire of LaTricia Duke’s great broodmare Lady Rompin—out of Sheza Rose Two, by Two Rocks, came to the Gorhams with a lengthy win record. The gelding started his career as a 5-year-old

We’ll never have another one like him... so we better take care of him and enjoy him while we can. He makes the perfect, perfect pattern every single time. He’s phenomenal. We just love him.

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with Tara Schroedter, who won two NBHA Cowboy National Youth Championships with the gelding. At 17, Tornado was sold to Kelsey Graf of Vernon, Texas. The Gorhams approached the Grafs about purchasing Tornado while at the International Finals Youth Rodeo where London’s older brother Tanner Green was competing. “We’ll never have another one like him,” noted Gorham, “so we better take care of him and enjoy him while we can. He makes the perfect, perfect pattern every single time. He’s phenomenal. We just love him.” London’s quickly adding accolades to her own resume, mostly within the Texas Youth Rodeo Association. “She’s pretty handy for all 42 pounds of her,” said her mother. “She doesn’t like for someone to lead her in or help her or anything. She’s not afraid.” And, she comes by it honestly. Her grandfather is PRCA Hall of Famer Phil Lyne, who worked both ends of

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the rodeo arena as a timed event and roughstock hand, her aunt Samantha Lyne is a 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier and her brother was the National High School Rodeo Association’s Rookie All-Around Champion. Can He Three-peat? Decorated youth rider Max Chouest of Cut Off, La., can pull off a hat trick at this year’s Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic with a win in the $15,000-added Gold Rush Syndicate Open 5D. He made a clean sweep of the Diamonds & Dirt events in 2014, when he followed up his open 5D championship in March with a youth championship in November on his megastar VF A Sporty Design. “I think the run I made at the youth (in November) was probably a better run,” said Chouest. “The run I made in the open (in March) was really good too, but I drew badly. I was fifth on the ground right before a

I love how Diamonds & Dirt always has something else going on...It’s not just a barrel race. You have other things you can do and watch.” big drag.” Riding under the tutelage of barrel racing legend Talmadge Green, 12-year-old Chouest has been a precocious student of the game. He’s qualified to the semifinals of this year’s RFD-TV’s The American—the one-day, $2-million dollar rodeo— and has a 2013 All-American Youth Championship on his very brief barrel racing resume.


Mining A Championship: The Gold Rush Syndicate When the Chouest family of Cut Off, La., joined the barrel racing industry nearly three years ago, they showed their earnest commitment with the purchase of several top barrel racing horses. Among those horses were two stallions—Hesa Cowboy Casanova and Briscoscangetit. The two stallions are a part of the Gold Rush Syndicate, a partnership between legendary futurity rider and top youth coach Talmadge Green and Dino Chouest, the patriarch of the Chouest clan. Hesa Cowboy Casanova is a barrel racing blueblood. The 2008 golden palomino stallion is by Dash Ta Fame, the all-time leading sire of barrel horses. His dam is Sissys Little Coin, a daughter of former leading barrel horse sire Packin Sixes. One of the all-time great barrel horses, Sissys Little Coin ran out more than $240,000 and

Ironically, it was Chouest’s interest in team roping that led the Chouest family into a barrel racing odyssey. After venturing off with friends to rope, the youngest Chouest was hooked. His older sister Allie soon joined him. When her interest drifted to barrel racing less than three years ago, he followed. The pursuit of top horses led them to Green, who masterfully paired Chouest and his sister with some of the best horses in the business— including the much-lauded Sporty.

is the all-time leading futurity horses to have never run in a

The 13-year-old gelding, by Designer Red out of Skidmores Tiny Hope, by Gonetruckin, earned 2006 Futurity Horse of the Year honors under Green. He later entered the pro rodeo ranks and set arena records with Angela Ganter of Abilene, Texas, before returning to Green’s care under the Chouest’s ownership.

will win $5,000.

However, for all his accolades, Sporty isn’t an easy ride. Loaded with an overabundance of rate and turn, Chouest has one mission when he heads down the alleyway--“just try to push him by the barrels,” he said. To aid him in that quest, Green will pick out banners on the walls or fixtures in the facility for Chouest to look at—just as a car veers when you look off road, a horse will run where you look. When you have one that wants to turn as hard as Sporty does, the barrel is the last place you look.

from across the country.

$100,000 slot race. The young stallion showed promise in the arena until a respiratory injury forced him to retire to stud. He is now backed by a powerful $100,000 Gold Rush Incentive Program. Offspring of Hesa Cowboy Casanova that win the Old Fort Days, BFA World Championship or Diamonds & Dirt futurities will win a $100,000 bonuses, while any horses that top 10 in the average or finals of those events

A very proven performer Briscoscangetit has won with adult and youth riders. The flashy 2002 palomino stallion, by Brisco County Jr—a full brother to noted racehorse sire Holland Ease—out of Goneasagirlcanget, by Vikingson (TB), has carried Allie Chouest to numerous 1D checks

With career earning nearing $75,000, Briscoscangetit is a Palomino Horse Breeders Association World Champion, the 2009 Mega Champion and has multiple NBHA 1D Championships from the senior to the youth. The Gold Rush Syndicate is a proud sponsor of the $15,000-added Open 5D at the 2015 Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic.

Sporty isn’t the only horse in his arsenal that could reclaim the Diamonds & Dirt Open title. He also has

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a strong contention with Green’s past futurity standout The Riverboat Gambler, multiple NBHA Youth World Champion Sixums Lady Luck, Smart Little Spade and former Diamonds & Dirt Futurity Champion DTF Way Ta Fire, who has posted the fastest clean run ever over the sandy loam footing of the Brazos County Expo—a blistering 15.6 to win the David Gardner’s Rolex in 2013.

2014 from the Ball family of Paint Lick, Ky. The 12-year-old mare by May Be Doc out of the Thoroughbred mare Noble Playgirl, by Something Noblesse, was a decorated champion before coming to Texas.

Chouest is looking forward to returning this year, not only to claim another title, but spend time with his friends at Schiller Ranch as well.

Although they had just over a year together, Missy and Boyd collected numerous titles, including senior girls yearend and finals pole bending champion in the Texas Youth Rodeo Association, and won both rounds of the pole bending at the youth rodeo held with the San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo.

“It’s a great event—like all the events that KK (Kristi Schiller) puts on,” said Chouest. “The facility is one of the nicer places that we get to go to, and they have lots of stuff for kids to do between races. But, my favorite thing about Diamonds & Dirt is going to KK’s ranch; it’s always fun there.” Woven Winner College freshman Katie Jo Boyd of Port Lavaca, Texas, bobbed and weaved her way to the pole bending championship with May B Noble (“Missy”). “All three rounds were really smooth,” said the 19-year-old freshman at Blinn College in College Station, Texas. “I kind of over-rode her in the first and third rounds, trying too hard, so I was little slower than I expected to be, but she was still quick enough to win it. She just worked great for me.” Boyd wanted to thank her parents, as she noted, “I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without their support and belief in me” as well as Rachael and Steve Ball “for training the mare and helping me along the way.” She also wanted to thank Schiller Ranch for hosting the event. “I love how Diamonds & Dirt always has something else going on,” she said, noting that she enjoyed watching the K9 demonstrations. “It’s not just a barrel race. You have other things you can do and watch.” The Diamonds & Dirt Youth Classic were the last runs for Boyd and Missy as the mare was sold to the Driver family of Garden City, Texas, at the event. “She was too nice of a pole horse just to keep to run barrels on,” noted Boyd, who hadn’t run poles on the mare herself since winning the reserve championship at the International Youth Finals Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., this past summer. The duo also won the reserve all around championship at the IYFR as well. “There aren’t many places for me to run poles now that I’m out of high school.” Boyd’s parents Randy and Debbie purchased Missy in August

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With the Ball family, Missy was Youth High Point Barrel Racing Champion within the AQHA and was the 2012 Reserve World Champion Senior Pole Bending Horse.

They also narrowly missed qualifying for the National High School Rodeo Finals in the pole bending. Boyd and Missy had placed in both rounds of the immensely tough Texas High School Rodeo Finals, but caught a pole in the short round to qualify for nationals with the only 19-second run of the event. Unlike many of her fellow contestants, Boyd didn’t start competing until four years ago, even though her family had a history with the sport of rodeo. “My grandpa tied calves when he was younger and my dad rode bulls when he was younger,” noted Boyd. “Both of my brothers played football and really didn’t have time for it. Once my brothers got in to college, I got to start rodeo.” Boyd is also cautiously approaching the continuation of her rodeo career through college. “I’ll start next semester,” said Boyd, who plans on transferring to Texas A&M University, where she’ll major in business. “I decided to wait a year to get my feet wet in college first and get it all figured out.”

All three rounds were really smooth...I kind of over-rode her in the first and third rounds, trying too hard, so I was little slower than I expected to be, but she was still quick enough to win it.


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Hard Headed Diamonds & Dirt and Schiller Ranch join forces with WPRA World Champion Fallon Taylor to promote helmet use in the barrel racing industry.

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eigning WPRA World Champion Fallon Taylor not only rocked the barrel racing world with her flamboyant style and stunning performances at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo but took bold steps toward changing stereotypes by wearing a helmet. “I was asked by the owners of Slick By Design—Charlie Cole and Jason Martin of High Point Performance Horses—to be the ambassador and maybe wear it one night, because it’s so important for child safety,” said Taylor following her WPRA World Championship. “It wasn’t a plan, but after I put one on for the first time—I was like this is for me. We were scrambling to find helmets and spray paint them to match.” The helmet delighted many fans but wasn’t without controversy. A staple of English riding equipment, helmets carry a stigmatism in Western performance sports where black felt cowboy hats reign. “I’m surprised that the stigma is so thick, even for me with

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a head injury,” said Taylor, who fractured her neck in a horse-related accident in 2009 and was initially told she may never walk again. “I should have been wearing one long ago. I think people are going to be more surprised when I continue to wear it all year long. There are 70,000 horse-related head injuries a year. Maybe me wearing one will prevent some of those.” Other barrel racing champions have tried to endorse their use—by wearing them in advertisements or for a brief publicity period, but Taylor’s use of a helmet was much more than a publicity stunt. Much to many people’s surprise, Taylor has made a helmet a staple of her wardrobe and has continued to wear one into the 2015 season. “It’s been a really cool thing,” she said. “I think of new fans with young children. They’re having to explain why they need to ride with a helmet; they don’t have anyone to point to, to say ‘That’s why you wear a helmet.’”


Maybe the next generation won’t be embarrassed by their safety choices. Diamonds & Dirt founder Kristi Schiller was moved by Taylor’s willingness to take the helmet stigmatism head on and offered to donate $100 to K9s4KIDs for every barrel racer that wore a helmet. Unfortunately, Taylor was the only rider to buck tradition for the sake of improving safety.

In a continued effort to promote helmet use at all levels, all contestants at the 2015 Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic that choose to wear a helmet during competition will have their names placed in a drawing for $500. In support of Schiller’s effort, Taylor, too,

is graciously donating helmets to each division winner in the Gold Rush Syndicate Open 5D. As Taylor hopefully stated, “Maybe the next generation won’t be embarrassed by their safety choices.”

“I’ve never met Fallon Taylor, but regardless, I was forever sold as a fan when she rocked the helmet in the third round of the NFR,” said Schiller. “Smart people protect themselves when having extreme fun. My 8-yearold daughter Sinclair rides with a helmet and it’s a conditioned response for her. She started in the English world, so she didn’t give it a second glance when I told her she had to wear one running barrels. We’ve had fun with it too— just like Fallon, matching it to outfits with fun covers, spray paint and glitter. Safety can be fun.” When Taylor learned of Schiller’s efforts, she matched her donation and encouraged her fan base to do the same. Thanks to the donations and outside matching pledges, K9s4KIDs will be able to place a $15,000 K9 in a school due to Taylor’s efforts to raise helmet awareness. “Like the helmet when you ride, these K9s are trained to keep our kids safe in an environment where they can learn and have fun,” said Schiller. “The next K9 placed in a school will be special because we are naming it in honor of Fallon Taylor. This woman took a platform and was able to influence a generation by instilling confidence and safety at the same time.”

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Ready t Behind the scenes of the Diamonds and Dirt Barrel Horse Classic with Jenna Jackson of P+R Productions.

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hat does a former CBS producer and crime reporter know about barrel racing? How could a woman who spent 15 years in New York City and launched television icon Katie Couric’s daytime talk show possibly relate to those who spend their lives horseback in dusty arenas across rural America, training equine athletes for the sport of barrel racing? How could she comprehend the passion and dedication required to tell the full story of those late nights and long hours in one short segment before preparing for the next? They may have more in common than you think.

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Sharing stories Originally from Jacksonville, Texas, Jenna Jackson has long harbored a zeal for impassioned storytelling in its many forms and fashions. Originally offered a dance scholarship to Sam Houston State University in nearby Huntsville, Texas, an injury altered her plans and she instead graduated with a degree in journalism that would allow her to share stories on paper and on camera instead of on stage. While there, she wrote for the college paper, The Houstonian, and was a prison reporter for the Huntsville Item. She also met Dan Rather, who was then a news anchor for the CBS Evening News

and a fellow SHSU alumnus. Rather became a mentor to Jackson and a connection to the Big Apple, where she landed an entry-level position with CBS and climbed to the top of the television network. Fifteen years later, Jackson returned to Texas to launch her full-service independent production company, P+R Productions, with offices in Houston and later, Austin. Getting back to her roots allowed her to add an element of family flair to the endeavor so close to her heart, naming her business after the original P+R, her twin 7- year-old sons, Parker and Rees. She also brought her brother and proclaimed partner-in-


crime, Anthony, into the business as the director of operations. In its fledgling stages, Jackson’s close friend Kristi Schiller enlisted P+R to promote the inaugural Diamonds and Dirt Barrel Horse Classic in 2012. “The first year was kind of an experiment,” laughed Jackson, who arrived on location with her brother and Matt Godwin, P+R’s director of photography. She admits that in the beginning, barrel racing was a foreign sport to her small crew, but they were determined to get some inventive material with

most viewed barrel race in the nation, thanks to the efforts of P+R and the live-stream webcasts of 3-2-1 Action Video. Jackson says the team is the No. 1 key to that end, and her crew has grown to 10-plus personnel who remain on site 24/7. While contestants crash in hotels and living quarters horse trailers and their animals fill the stalls at the Brazos County Expo Complex in Bryan, Texas, the P+R crew takes turns at a nearby hotel and sometimes sleeps in shifts in the ballroom for the weeklong Diamonds and Dirt. “Firsthand, barrel racing is such an exciting sport, full of inherent drama and incredible athletes who aren’t getting the

o Roll By Danika Ke n t

which to promote the following year’s event. They found no shortage of such substance, and Jackson got a new look at just how limitless Schiller’s visions were when it came to promoting her passion. “Kristi is always going to think of something that day, like hopping on a plane and picking Brittany Pozzi up in Houston and bringing her to the barrel race (which is exactly what happened when Pozzi won the 2012 Diamonds and Dirt futurity). If you’re in Kristi’s world, you better be ready to roll,” Jackson attested. In return for incomparable footage, Jackson got a dynamic, behind-the-scenes introduction to barrel racing. “We’ve gotten to see this whole new world,” she said. “It’s full of incredible, courageous, determined, best-work-ethic-ever people. Storytelling is my background. Kristi and I have that in common; we love a good story, and sharing all these riders, how they got here, what they’ve been through, how hard it is. It’s been an amazing look at this slice of life.” Making it happen Now in its fourth year, Diamonds and Dirt has become the

recognition they deserve around the world,” Jackson said of the void P+R and 3-2-1 have partnered with Schiller to fill. “Kristi is an amazing visionary, and she has assembled a team that completely embraces her vision and makes it happen. She is the genius behind it, and we get to help make it come to life.” That on-site P+R team has expanded with the event each year. The advent of daily web updates, which give a rundown of the highlights of each day, in the second year necessitated an on-site editor, with another brought in the third year to simultaneously work on the hour-long special. With its audio and color edits and an added measure of glamour to balance the grit, the 47-minute recap of the week is woven together much like a mini film. “Usually, that takes months. We’re doing it in a week,” Jackson added. In previous years, HRTV and Comcast aired that coverage; this year, event absentees can catch it on HRTV & RideTV. Two 3-person camera crews roam the grounds, each comprised of a cameraman, an audio technician, and a producer. Two specialty cameramen man Go-pros and a slowmotion

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These guys can so identify with the world of barrel racing because they’re on the road every single day. camera for unique angles in the arena. Mike Spicer, the director of lighting, makes sure every shot is perfectly lit – and that the wiring throughout the facility enables viewers to catch every run in real time wherever they may be, from the office to the warm-up pen. Even barrel racing superstar LaTricia Duke has learned to embrace an on-screen presence as an anchor in the Diamonds and Dirt coverage. “LaTricia, at first, thought we were crazy to think that she was going to put on makeup and go on TV and be a host,” said Jackson. “Who knew she had that gift? She’s totally a natural. She’s so gifted and people trust her and love her and she has this unmatched credibility in the horse world…she’s really a marvel at it.” For contestants and producers alike, the entire event is a whirlwind race against the clock. “When you see the finished product on television, everyone on our end breathes a sigh of relief,” Jackson related. That moment is fleeting, however, as work immediately begins on the next year’s event. A large part of the Diamonds and Dirt “off-season,” if you can call it that, is developing an on-going profile of barrel racing personalities – the storytelling that is Jackson’s personal forte. “We really try to stay on the pulse of what’s going on all year – the next generation of barrel racing, the great stories of overcoming,” she said. “You never know what someone’s been through to get there. Everyone has a story; it doesn’t

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matter if you’re talking to a lawyer about a big case, or a barrel racer. The riders love being celebrated. It’s not all the grind. The hard work is always going to be there, but if Kristi can make it a little more fun, that goes a long way.” For as much as she’s learned about barrel racing, Jackson has found the population to be not only admirable, but even relatable to her own crew in many aspects. “These guys can so identify with the world of barrel racing because they’re on the road every single day. Instead of hauling horses, they’re hauling gear, hoping that everything gets there, and if it doesn’t, how can they rig something up from the local Radio Shack? They’re gypsies; they’re so ingenious and creative, and they love what they’re doing.” With the goal of upping the ante every year, P+R has successfully raised the bar in the quality of broadcast barrel racing coverage. “We strive to do everything we can with every new production toy we have,” Jackson vowed. “The excitement, hard work and glamour are there, we just have to use our resources combined with Kristi’s vision to give the rest of the country insight into this incredible world. It’s really a gift she has for thinking outside the box – there is no box for Kristi. She’s doing something right – she’s doing a lot right – and it will continue to catapult because there’s no slowing down with her.” For more information on P+R Productions, visit www.PR-Prod.com.


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Making Things Matter Your support of K9s4COPs is making a difference.

When you make a donation to K9s4COPs, or its initiative K9s4KIDs, you are helping keep our communities and our law enforcement officers safer. K9s do what humans cannot. They can smell narcotics, explosives and a suspect’s trail. They can run faster and go places their human partners cannot. They don’t complain about overtime, and they will take down a bad guy for a pat on the head or a tummy rub. They are simply put the greatest asset, and one of the most under-utilized tools, in the protection of our communities,

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schools, and the people charged with that duty, as well. K9s4COPs is working to provide K9s for law enforcement agencies and schools across the country, and in doing so, are helping spread the word of how gallant, how brave, how vital a welltrained K9 for the safety of us all. Here some of the K9s4COPs recipients share, in their own words, how their communities—and their personal lives—are benefiting from the gift of a well-trained K9.

Officer Glen Bentley & K9 Darcy, Hubbard Police Department, Oregon My department is a small agency serving population of around 3,500. The city is a major commuter route to Portland and the Salem areas. The city of Hubbard is also near Interstate 5, which is a major interstate route through Oregon. My department averages around 4,000 case numbers per year and the majority of the cases involve controlled substances. I have been a canine handler since 2009,


and my previous assigned canine had passed due to a rare illness. During the time my agency was without a canine unit, one of my coworkers was watching a television show featuring K9s4COPs. He quickly told me about the organization, and I researched and applied for a grant for a canine. We were not awarded a canine during the first round, however; we were successful the second time around. Through a generous donation from (professional barrel racer and television personality) Darcy LaPier we were able to obtain K9 Darcy (a 2012 Serbian-born female Malinois, registered as “Noblesshof Zafa”) from K9s4COPs.

in the Pacific Northwest to receive a donated canine from K9s4COPs. I have had a couple other police departments in my area ask about the organization and I proudly explain how to apply for a donated canine to assist them in starting a canine unit program. My department is extremely grateful to the organization and what they do for law enforcement across the country.

K9 Darcy and I have been a police-canine team since January 2014. I travelled down to Houston, Texas, and completed a 10-week training class from Houston K9 Academy, LLC.

K9 Ringo is my first dog as a canine handler, and I have had him for just over two and a half years. My department received him about six months before he was assigned to me. He was intended to be a single purpose (narcotics) dog. After

Officer J. Ridings & K9 Ringo, K9/SWAT, Pasadena Police Department, Texas

I have had one known career criminal tell me he has avoided the city of Hubbard, because he knows my department has a canine unit … Darcy and I received training in narcotic detection and patrol. We were certified nationally by the National Narcotics Drug Dog Association and were certified in patrol by the Harris County Sheriff ’s Office. Once back in Oregon, we were certified by Oregon Police Canine Association as a dual purpose narcotics and patrol canine team. Since our time of the road, we have recovered one firearm, several methamphetamine pipes, marijuana pipes, marijuana, methamphetamine, and Hashish oil. We have also conducted several school sniffs, building checks and have had several arrests. I have had one known career criminal tell me he has avoided the city of Hubbard, because he knows my department has a canine unit, so that right there is a positive impact to the community I serve. Darcy is car protective and routinely barks when persons are nearby. I was working graveyard one night and a known criminal walked near the patrol vehicle. I was writing reports and was unaware of his presence. Darcy barked, which directed my attention towards him. We work primary with one officer on at a time and knowing that Darcy has my back is priceless. Just by having a trained and certified police canine is a crime prevention tool. I believe my department is the first

some extensive training at the department, Ringo is now a very successful dual purpose dog with his specialties being narcotics and patrol functions. Ringo is utilized to search for narcotics should the need arise. He is also used to track and locate suspects that flee from scenes after a crime has been committed. On top of other patrol functions, Ringo is utilized during building searches on burglaries or crimes of similar nature. Ringo has also completed numerous demonstrations for various age groups, ranging from elementary grade level children to older adults attending a Citizen Police Academy. Prior to joining the Pasadena Police Department Canine Unit, I spent two and a half years as a decoy, assisting with training our canine unit. In my experience with police dogs, I feel Ringo has the best personality you can ever hope for in a police dog. He is the epitome of socialization and community safety. I can have him out with neighborhood children one second and chasing a fleeing felon the next. Ringo helps keep narcotics out of the hands of our children and the criminals from preying on the innocent. Ridings points to two instances in which Ringo aided the

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department and kept his fellow officers safe. The first was a traffic stop. After getting information from the driver, who appeared suspicious, a canine sniff was completed on the vehicle. Ringo alerted to the presence of narcotics on the vehicle and a subsequent search yielded over one pound of methamphetamine, which would have surely been distributed to the youth of the surrounding area. The second instance was a domestic violence call. A male suspect allegedly assaulted his wife. Responding officers arrived on scene and located the wife, who was visibly injured. The suspect attempted to flee the scene on foot, and in the process, committed a felony assault against a police officer. The suspect was able to elude officers, by entering a nearby neighborhood. I responded to the scene to assist in locating the suspect, who was now running through unsuspecting peoples’ back yards. Ringo was able to successful track down the suspect, where he was taken into custody, while keeping other officers and citizens safe from this felonious person. Officer Matt Krembs & K9 Aron, Everest Metro Police Department, Weston, Wisconsin K9 Aron and I have been together since April of 2013, and we’ve been patrolling together since May 2013. Aron is a dual-purpose narcotics K9. His primary function is to detect the odor of illegal drugs. He is also trained in protection/bite work. He is used to search buildings for hidden persons, track fleeing or missing persons, and to perform area searches for items such as guns, drugs, or evidence.

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Aron has demonstrated that he has excellent tracking abilities. Aron has successfully tracked a very dangerous felon that fled from an officer one night in our first summer together on the road. Aron track for about 700 yards through a thick marsh, crossed a stream twice, then crossed a divided highway before leading us into a thick, wooded area and finally into a backyard of a residence and up to a door by the garage of the house. The male homeowner of the house came out and wondered what we were doing there. When we told him about a male we were looking for, he replied that the male was in his house having a drink of water. That male is scheduled to go on trial later this month for a bank robbery that took place in another state, as well as numerous other felony cases over two states that he committed prior to being captured. Aron also tracked subjects who ran from an officer, who caught them as they were stealing a significant amount of scrap metal from a business in our industrial park. Aron was able to successfully track the subjects for almost 1.5 miles before finally coming to the back of a gas station where the fleeing subjects were picked up by a vehicle. Although those subjects were not apprehended that night, to be able to follow a track for one-plus miles is considered a somewhat prestigious accomplishment. These incidents don’t even cover the numerous drug-related finds that Aron makes on a regular basis. Living in a county in northern Wisconsin, that is a mix of urban and rural, creates challenges in itself for the K9’s in our area. K9’s around here have to be proficient in both rural, wooded operations as well as urban operations. We use the K9 extensively and his ability to perform his duties regardless of the challenges presented to us is a testimony to the quality training we received initially, as well as continue to receive


through training opportunities. To have a job where someone pays me to work with dogs of such a high caliber makes me truly believe that I am working the best job I will ever have. K9s4COPs made this opportunity possible. It would be easy to say that we may have found the funding to purchase Aron elsewhere, but that’s just not accurate. We have donors who have been extremely helpful in providing us with much of the additional funds we need to sustain a working K9 unit here in our department, but K9s4COPs is absolutely the reason we still have a K9 program here. I am forever grateful for Kristi’s dedication to this organization, and I’ve have found a passion in life I would’ve never been able to realize without her generosity and dedication.

hero dogs K9s4COPs has recently teamed up with AMK9 Academy to place “Hero Dogs” that have returned home from serving their country within law enforcement agencies. These K9s are veterans, having served our country, and are deserving of the respect and dignity that service entails. In February 2014, AMK9 in Anniston, Alabama, undertook the arduous task of bring home 92 dogs that served under contract with the military in the Middle East. From Afghanistan, to Jordon, to the United States, the K9s journeyed 7,000 miles before reaching their destination in Alabama. Many of the older dogs were slated for retirement, with many having already gone to loving homes. They’ve traded locating car bombs to sniffing out bacon. These hero dogs have also been paired with veterans—each having served—each understanding what the other’s been through. For the younger, healthier dogs not ready to transition from K9 to civilian dog, AMK9 is matching the dogs with law enforcement agencies across the country. K9s4COPs is helping to facilitate that process. “K9s4COPs is proud to partner with AMK9,” said K9s4COPs Founder Kristi Schiller. “Their effort on behalf of these gallant warrior dogs just melts your heart. Many of the younger K9s still have the drive to work, and we’re honored to help these K9 veterans find jobs with law enforcement agencies that so desperately need their services.”

To learn more about K9s4COPs or to donate, visit www.K9s4COPs.org

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PRESENTS... THE 3RD ANNUAL

DOG & PONY SHOW FRIDAY, MARCH 13 – 8PM

GOLD RUSH SYNDICATE’S

HEROES IN A

HALFSHELL

JACKIE JATZLAU TALMADGE GREEN BRITTANY POZZI LACEY HARMON

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2014

s p m a h c


SCHILLER RANCH’S

JLO

PRO VISION EQUINE’S

LITTLE Pawnsh p

PONIES LATRICIA DUKE

P BOnies HILL

JOLENE MONTGOMERY MOLLI MONTGOMERY KASSIE MOWRY

MACEE JAMES RYAN PADON KIMMI BYLER

RES SPORT BOOTS’

FRENCH STREAKTOVEGAS’

JORDAN BASSETT ROBYN HERRING KELSEY LUTJEN KELLY ALLEN

PETE OEN JORDON BRIGGS KYLE LELEUX PJ BURGER

PONY PIRATE COMMANDERS P NIES TWISTED J RANCH’S

TWISTED

ES

WHITNEY GODINEZ HALEE LAYMAN NISA BERRY JANE IRICK

DOUBLE J SADDLERY’S

ESKIMO PONIES ASHLEY SCHAFER IVY CONRADO HAYDEN SEGELKE JOY WARGO

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A NEW SET OF EYES By Danika Ken t

How a vi sion ha s t u rne d in to a t e c h-sav v y, state-of-t he-art t r a il e r se c u ri t y syst e m. “I’ve been pulling trailers of horses and cattle for over 50 years,” Bob Tallman says, thinking out loud and scanning the temporarily transformed cityscape. “I’m sitting here at the Fort Worth Stock Show, looking out the front of my motorhome at seven horse trailers. These are $70-$80,000 outfits, and they’re all hooked onto nothing less than a $50-$60,000 truck. They’ll have anywhere from two to five saddles, vet care products, and one to three horses in them. If each of the horses averages $10,000, that makes it about a $200,000 outfit.” It was this line of thinking and a life-

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time of experience that led Tallman, the legendary rodeo announcer who’s built his life around the interlinked livestock industry, to the persistent vision of outfitting trailers with a system of security cameras. “Then, the rubber meets the road,” he continues, “and something goes wrong. Trucks and trailers are physical assets that can be replaced. You can insure them and repair them, but that $10,000 or million-dollar horse in the trailer is another story. We don’t drive 40 or 50 miles per hour down the road anymore. We’re keeping up with traffic at 60 or 80, at 2 in the afternoon or 3 in

the morning, through Jackson, Dallas, and Denver. When you have to put the binders on, you’re fixing to throw something down, and while you’re stopping that vehicle, whether you’re by yourself or with your family, you’ve got to figure out what to do to adjust to those consequences.” In the years leading up to his innovative idea, Tallman developed Pro Vision Digital Surveillance, a well-established surveillance company with years of experience in the energy, educational and commercial industries. To take it to the next level, Tallman needed an equally motivated business partner. In Bert


explains.

From the minute the man walked in the door, I knew it was the right guy. Steindorf, he found just that. “From the minute the man walked in the door, I knew it was the right guy,” Tallman recalls of their April 2014 meeting. “His stature, his antics, his personal demeanor, his level of excitement, the questions he asked. We sat down across the table from each other with a No. 2 pencil and a legal tablet – that’s my computer – and I put some numbers down and he put some numbers down. We drew a line across the bottom and shook hands. I’ve still got that piece of paper.” Making a vision a reality When Steindorf bought into Tallman’s vision, he became the owner of Pro Vision Global Digital Surveillance. The overhead quickly spun off three subsidiaries, including Game View, a self-sufficient, solar- and wind-powered camera designed to monitor game feeders and wildlife; Sure View, a portable system easily installed in stalls at events; and Tallman’s target, Pro Vision Equine. “Bert takes other people’s ideas, passions and dreams and drives them to go out and do them,” Tallman vouches. “Every dream passion point that I wanted, Bert’s answer was, ‘Let’s do it!’” Like Tallman, Steindorf comes from a background in the livestock industry, growing up working on his family’s South Texas Brahman cattle ranch. “People outside of our world, they don’t have a clue. They drive up to a venue,

a roping, a rodeo or a big cattle show, and they don’t see what’s out back. They don’t see how all that stuff got there. Bert knew,” Tallman adds. “We’re talking about billions of dollars of economic impact and asset.” Tallman, now Pro Vision Equine’s business development manager, and Steindorf recruited a team of like-minded individuals, including Paul Riggs, Gary Hougton and Julie Bryant to develop the equine division. They added an IT department and a manufacturing department, and altogether, the 35-person team operates 24/7, much like their cameras. Each man and machine is driven by the company’s mission statement, “Protect your passion.”

“The exterior cameras let you see the whole world, coming and going,” Tallman touts about monitoring traffic conditions on the go. “With your mirrors, you see about 10 to 15 percent, but other than that, you’re blind. Cameras tell the whole story. Then, when you get home and plug your trailer in, you now have on-site security in and around your barn and corrals with the exterior cameras.” In addition to animal security and travel safety, the system provides a measure of theft protection and real-time insight to parents whose sons and daughters haul down the road in their rodeo and livestock show endeavors. In light of the value a trailer’s contents – some monetarily measured, some not – the peace of mind provided by Pro Vision Equine really is priceless. All aboard

Pro Vision Equine’s most basic design features four cameras mounted in the interior of the trailer and two outside, all functioning on the realm of Wi-Fi connectivity, meaning you can check the cameras from anywhere on your smartphone or tablet or rewind and review lag time with the system’s DVR capabilities.

Tallman and Steindorf believed in their product, and it wasn’t long before Pro Vision Equine caught the attention of an ever-growing list of clientele. Professional horsemen and women have endorsed and installed Pro Vision Equine Surveillance in their homes away from home, including 2014 WPRA world champion barrel racer, Fallon Taylor, National Finals Rodeo-qualifying tiedown roper Tyson Durfey, world champion cutting horse trainer Matt Miller and professional horseman Jay Novacek. Steindorf also established another connection with John and Kristi Schiller, his tailgating compadres at Texas A&M football games.

“With Bob’s concept, you are able to monitor the livestock in the back of the trailer at live-time speed while you’re driving down the road. When you park, you can leave and take your iPhone with you to monitor your horses while they’re tied up to the trailer,” Steindorf

“We sent a note to Kristi saying we’d like to participate in Diamonds and Dirt, so we purchased one of her main sponsorships,” Steindorf says. “We’ll give away two of our systems to the two champions in the barrel racing and the pole bending. We’re pretty excited to be

“We take an idea, throw it on the table, get all the brainpower we can and let everyone have a say, collect the end result and run with it,” Tallman says.

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involved.” The $10,000-added Pro Vision Barrels Sweepstakes and $10,000-added Pro Vision Pole Bending Sweepstakes reflect the company’s Double Diamond sponsorship status, and the lucky winners of each event will have the Pro Vision system installed in their trailers before they depart from the Brazos County Expo Complex in Bryan, Texas. “From the time you load your animals, all the time you’re hauling and the time you get there, it’s asset protection and safety for the people, the vehicles and the contents they’re hauling,” Tallman summarizes. “With the investment you have in that trailer, you need to be aware of your surroundings, interior and exterior, and Pro Vision Equine provides that security.” For more information, stop by and visit the Pro Vision Equine Surveillance trailer on site at Diamonds and Dirt, or visit provisionequine.com.

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the diamond of the dirt From scenic hideaway to industry leader, Schiller Ranch is the diamond of the dirt. By Tan ya R andal l

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n Aggie flag flies above the towering post oaks along the quaint country road in the heart of the Brazos River Valley, heralding a visitor’s impending arrival at John and Kristi Schiller’s private Texas treasure, Schiller Ranch. The Houston couple’s Central Texas retreat is just a short drive south of John’s alma mater Texas A&M University, providing them with easy access to the newly rebuilt Kyle Field, home of the Fighting Texas Aggie Football team. Its proximity to Aggieland is second only to the treasure of the land itself. Carved from the dense post oak thicket, the ranch has a plethora of its own amusements, from picturesque fishing holes to their own private gun range. With Kristi’s love of animals, the ranch is a veritable zoo with a wide variety of dogs, goats, pigs, deer and horses, plenty, plenty of horses— from New Yorker safe dude horses to high-powered tequine athletes that are bred to race down the track. “We bought the place thinking it would be so nice to sneak away from “the big city” from time to time to simply relax,” laughed Kristi Schiller, “but, that’s not exactly how it turned out. Because I also have a deep love for horses, it took me about a hot minute to begin turning our country getaway into a full-blown working ranch. I couldn’t help it! You don’t give an animal lover like me a space like this and expect I wouldn’t fill it with animals faster than you can say “Oh my, is that a llama!”

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Horsepower Few people understand the peaceful liberation found on the back of a well-trained horse, but Kristi knew, having grown up competing in horse shows and junior rodeos. “I started riding at a very early age, probably about 3,” recalled Kristi. “I believe I got my first barrel horse when I was about 8-years-old. Like most kids, I started in 4-H competing in allaround horsemanship then youth rodeos, high school rodeos, AQHA shows, all of that. I eventually did all the events, but I always had a love of the glamour of the rodeo queens and a fondness for going fast—though once I did try showing my barrel horse in an English class at an open show once. Turns out he needed that tiedown for a reason! It was for stride regulation!” As an adult, horses took a backseat to Kristi’s career. “I started my career in broadcasting and was extremely fortunate to be able to fulfill my career dreams by working,” said Kristi, who brought Lucy Lipps—“The Skirt with the Dirt” to the airways and showed her investigative skills on “Hard Copy.” “In the early 1990’s, I was drawn to the innovation of the information superhighway. It was a natural transition for me to be involved in trying to combine the two. I must have had some success along the way — Forbes named me “Queen of the Internet.” During this time I did not have the luxury of time to have a career and horses, so I took an equine sabbatical for almost 20 years. I knew I would be


You marvel at how something so fragile— and vulnerably uncoordinated—will grow into a 1,000 pound athlete with speed, grace and the desire to be the best involved in horses again one day.” The first horses that came to Schiller Ranch were trail horses and those suited for ranch sorting—John’s preferred equine competition. When their daughter Sinclair developed an interest, Kristi knew it was time to return to other disciplines. She had purchased a few open barrel horses and was in the process of trying another when she crossed paths with barrel horse trainer and futurity competitor LaTricia Duke. “When I had met LaTricia, I was actually in the process of purchasing another open horse for myself,” recalled Kristi. “The original arena we were going to had flooded, so we ended up going to a private barn in nearby Anson, Texas, where LaTricia trained. I had never heard of her, yet as the day progressed and the more I watched her I became very impressed at her work ethic and her ability to handle each young horse. Her dedication to her craft left me captivated, to say the least.” The feeling, however, wasn’t instantly mutual.

reluctantly took the mare, and by fall of her third year, LaTricia willingly ate a little crow. “She calls me and tells me that J-Lo is exhibitioning well and working beyond her expectations,” laughed Kristi. “I tell people now that phone call of validation meant more than winning the $100,000 slot race.” J-Lo finished her futurity career with a $100,000 LG Pro Classic Invitational Championship and 2013 futurity horse of the year honors in spite of nearly losing her life to plueropneumonia. In the meanwhile, Kristi continued to expand her herd of barrel horses and moved LaTricia to the ranch as resident trainer.

As fate would have it, Kristi had a 3-year-old Dash Ta Fame mare sitting in a pasture at home. “I wanted to raise a foal so my daughter could experience the miracle of birth, and I knew just from a cursory look into the sport that a Dash Ta Fame was the bloodline to have,” she explained. “So I set up a Google alert for a Dash Ta Fame filly. I received an instant alert. Someone had listed a Dash Ta Fame filly on Craigslist. When I called I got the impression that she had been listed on Craigslist as an honest oversight, but I didn’t care why, and I didn’t even bother to see a picture, I was buying!” LaTricia was less than impressed. When Kristi first asked LaTricia to train Insane For Fame (“J-Lo”), she immediately said no. “She tells me she has a 2-year-old Dash Ta Fame filly that was off the track, and that she bought her off of Craigslist, and now she thinks the she’s going to be a futurity horse— I told her, trying not to sound too sarcastic, ‘Let me know how that works out for ya.’ ” The groveling ensued and LaTricia

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Bringing Back The Bling Few people realize that over the course of casual dinner conversation one night led the Schiller Ranch team on quest to “Bring The Bling Back to Texas,” by hosting an event worthy of the state. “One late summer evening in 2011, shortly after LaTricia came to work at the Schiller Ranch, we were having dinner up at the ranch house and were discussing her travel plans for the upcoming year,” recalled Schiller. “She said she was going to Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. She said that’s

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where the big money futurities are. I thought it was ludicrous that a state with our heritage, horse lineage and resources didn’t have a premier futurity. In March of 2012, with just a few months of planning, the inaugural Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic™ debuted as one of the richest events in the country, ranking as the fourth richest futurity event in the country with a payout of $150,000, and the eighth richest event overall, awarding $217,853. It was by far and away the richest event in the state of Texas, paying even more money than the Rodeo Houston! Just three years later, Diamonds & Dirt challenged the long established events for supremacy in the industry. The futurity, with the inclusion of the Diamond Jubilee Slot Race, awarded $515,898 to become the second richest event in the country behind the 29year-old Barrel Futurities of America’s World Championships. In fact, only the BFA World Championship and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo awarded more money than the Diamonds & Dirt’s total cash payout of $704,889. “We never dreamed it would grow as fast as it has,” said Schiller. “We brought the ‘Bling Back To Texas’ and the barrel racing industry in the process. We’ve become leaders in the industry, thanks to innovative marketing and a willingness to promote our event, and the sport of barrel racing, outside traditional audiences.”

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Rodeo. DTF Way Ta Fire, bred and owned by Randy and Vauna Walker and ridden by Vauna, captured the second Diamonds & Dirt Championship in dramatic fashion with the fastest time of the event, which netted them a Rolex from David Gardner’s Jewelers & Gemologist. Later that year under the ownership of Dino Chouest—who graciously sponsors the 2014 Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic through the Gold Rush Syndicate—DTF Way Ta Fair carried barrel racing legend Talmadge Green to the 2013 NBHA Open 1D World Championship. Pozzi was back in the winner’s circle in 2014 with another homebred— Kisskiss Bangbang. Together they won the inaugural Diamond Jubilee Slot Race for $100,000. Later in the year, the champion made her rodeo debut one of the grandest stages in rodeo—the Calgary Stampede—where she made a profitable showing. 2014 Diamonds & Dirt Futurity Champion The Red Dasher, owned by Kenna Squires and her mother Jan Boultinghouse, and ridden by Kenna, was named Horse of the Year with more than $214,473 in earnings. Diamonds & Dirt was responsible for $75,526 of the total. Last year’s Derby Champions Sadiefamouslastwords, owned and ridden by Mary Burger, finished the year as the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Prairie Circuit Finals Champion.

With Diamonds & Dirt’s ability to use its high profile to increase payoff, some of the best barrel horses in the industry have crossed the sandy loam of the Brazos Valley Expo Center.

Finding the Winner’s Circle

The first Diamonds & Dirt Futurity Champion Ima Super Fly Guy, bred, owned and ridden by two-time World Champion Barrel Racer Brittany Pozzi, ran at the 2013 National Finals

Kristi donned the superwoman cape in 2014 and somehow managed to fit qualifying for the AQHA World Show in amateur barrel racing and pole

The Schiller Ranch crew too is finding its way into the winner’s circle.

bending between her fundraising and publicity commitments on behalf of her foundation K9s4COPs and her duties as a wife and mother. “Almost two years ago, LaTricia saw this mare and told her then owner Angela Ganter that she had to have her for me,” said Kristi. “After some begging and negotiating, Roses For Ragtime (“Delilah”) came to live at Schiller Ranch. In the meantime, five ruptured discs in my back kept me from enjoying my chestnut beauty. Her trainer Doug Smith graciously finished out her year with AQHA high point titles in barrel racing and pole bending. I literally jump rode her two times to qualify for the AQHA World Show.” Having not been on the mare’s back since August, Kristi arrived at the World Show thinking that she had no chance at qualifying for the finals in either event. Much to her surprise and delight, she did and was the only amateur to do so! The icing on the cake was Top 10 finishes in both events and running a 20-second pole pattern. “Sweet Baby Jesus, I even rode onehanded the last weave back on the poles,” laughed Kristi. “I haven’t been on Delilah’s back for more than four minutes total this whole year and I rocked a 20 in the poles—my childhood dream! I told my best friend Shanna Brown that I felt like I was 15 again and needed to drive through Sonic to celebrate! I was so walking on air that I would have shown her in halter if they would have let me!” Even more special is that Delilah’s dam, Rompin Rosy, is teaching Sinclair the finer points of pole bending at the ripe old age of 25. It’s highly likely that the genetics of both Delilah and Rosy continue their legacy at Schiller Ranch, proving Kristi and her daughter with championship mounts for years to come.


“Those are both amazing mares that we are blessed to have had crossed paths with Schiller Ranch, but let me be crystal clear, they are truly a testament to Doug Smith’s training abilities,” said Kristi. “That man is a rainmaker. I rode less than four minutes in one year and was able to come back in the top five in the world! There are two trainers that I trust everything they do and say, and it’s LaTricia and Doug.” A Diamond Dynasty Now five years later, Schiller Ranch is raising champions of its own. What started with the procurement of choice embryos from the likes of such superstars as Famous Silk Panties, Mulberry Canyon Moon and SX Frenchmans Vanila, now encompasses a noteworthy broodmare band anchored by futurity champions Insane For Fame and I R A Grand Victory, and other top producers by the industry’s hottest sires. In September 2013, Schiller Ranch completed their breeding program with the purchase of Epic Leader, one of the most promising young stallions in the industry. A leading futurity horse, the gorgeous gray stallion, by champion sire Confederate Leader out of the great mare Firewater Fiesta, by Fire Water Flit, ended his competitive career winning the reserve championship at 2013 WPRA World Finals Derby with LaTricia.

In his first year to stand at stud to the public, Epic Leader booked full in a matter of days. Jimmy Eller of Granada Farms, where Epic stands said he’d never seen the like even though he’d stood such lauded stallions as Streakin La Jolla, Runaway Winner, and Ronas Ryon and his sire Windy Ryon. Epic’s test crop of six foals, from mares that he covered as a 2-year-old, are now competition age. He had his first futurity money earner with SR Packin Epic Gold’s performance at the Arizona futurities in January. With just 14 total foals over the age of 1, Epic Leader fans will have to wait until the 2019 futurity season to watch his first public crop of foals compete. “Epic’s first court of mares for us was nothing short of spectacular,” said Kristi. “We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of their foals and eventual entrance into the arena. I don’t know if my nails will survive my impatience!” Kristi’s royal baby was born in January, when a recipient mare gave birth to the first Epic Leader filly out of Insane For Fame. “You marvel at how something so fragile — and vulnerably uncoordinated — will grow into a 1,000 pound athlete with speed, grace and the desire to be the best,” said Kristi. “I’ve done so many exciting things in my life—traveled to so many exciting places—met so many wonderful and fascinating people,

but to walk into barn hours before the first rays of sunlight have crested the horizon, smell the fresh shavings and hear the first soft knickers of a mare to her foal…it’s a quiet glory that few FROM POINT

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will ever understand. The pride you feel when the minutes after birth a foal is standing and walking is almost indescribable. “I returned to the horses for these little things—the championship glory is such a small part. The people, the horses, and the giving nature of both, is what makes this sport so special, and I hope that Schiller Ranch can be a part of sharing that with the world.”

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OFF TO

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THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER AMAZING YEAR! WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST OF LUCK THIS WEEK! 72

-Sinclair, Kristi & John Schiller


Shanna, Zoey & K9 Rex are proud supporters of K9s4COPs & K9s4KIDs and want to wish all the contestants at DDBHC™ good luck!

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Riding For The Brand How loyalty to way of life transformed into the dynamic enterprises of Twisted J Ranch. By Tan ya R andal l

T

he motto for the Johnson family’s recently launched venture Apparel By Twisted J exemplifies their willingness to take an alternative approach to promoting and marketing the traditional values of the Western way of life. Their ranching heritage coupled with their love of rodeo, roping and barrel racing led Cody and Luann Johnson to create an edgy, new brand for their 1,800-acre ranch west of Stephenville, Texas. Now, the ranch brand has become the umbrella of over a burgeoning

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enterprise that includes a performance horse business, clothing boutique and wholesale apparel line.

both human and equine.

Twisted J Ranch

“We’ve accumulated a really nice set of broodmares that we’re really proud of and have bred them to some very high profile stallions,” she says. “We have several daughters of Dash For Perks, Sticks An Stones, Dr Nick Bar and A Streak Of Fling. We’ve bred to Dash Ta Fame, Epic Leader—just some of the most sought after stallions out there. If everything gets here, we should have 15

When the Johnsons took over the management of the ranch after the passing of Cody’s father, they decided they needed a brand for the place known for nearly 50 years as the Johnson Ranch. Rebranded as the Twisted J, the former cow-calf operation became ground zero for the development of rodeo athletes,

Luann’s love of barrel racing has fostered the development of the Twisted J Ranch breeding program.


Stand up. Stand out. Ride for your Brand. babies on the ground next spring. That’s more than enough!” It was her deep roots in the horse business that fostered her desire to return to the barrel racing industry as a business after her and Cody’s children – Bayli, Tori and Clay – came of age. “I trained my first horse and sold it when I was 14, so I made a little business out of training and selling. I did that for a lot of years until I had my kids. Then my competing took a backseat as I concentrated on getting them started. My son still ropes. My daughter Tori ran barrels until she started college. She dropped it so she could focus on school and a career. I’m trying to get ramped up to go again myself,” says Luann, who grew up showing thanks to having an AQHA judge for a father—“I remember one of the happiest days of my life was when they told me all I had to do was run barrels and poles; I didn’t have to show anymore!”

Yet, one of the joys of having parents into horses was that she never had to look far for a barrel racing prospect. “I used to train and futurity the horses my parents raised for us,” she says. “That’s where most of our mares come from today. We had those lines and kept them going. We were never into it like a lot of people are now, where you go all year long. We went the Texas and Oklahoma futurities, and if we had a really good one we’d try to enter (the Old Fort Days Futurity in) Fort Smith. We just did it because we loved it.” As the game changed with the futurities becoming richer, tougher and more demanding on younger horses, she stepped back from the sport to focus on children. “I’m a big fan of not pushing the horses too early,” she says, “and it became apparent that’s what you have to do to be competitive with some of those people. I was more interested in keeping

the horse sound than having them running open times when they were 3-year-olds. That was a decision we had to make— to back off and save the horses for something later.” In the meanwhile, she improved the genetics of her horses, and jumped back in seriously a few years ago. Today she has Whitney Godinez in residence at the ranch, training barrel horses. “I missed it so bad when we weren’t doing it,” she said. “We won’t go to futurities with every horse that we raise. A lot will be sold when they’re ready to be trained and go on with. I just missed the babies and having the reward of seeing them compete.” The rapid growth of the lucrative 5-year-old futurities like Diamonds & Dirt also makes the return more palatable. “I’m a huge fan of the 5-year-old futurities,” she says. “I wish

they could all be that way, but I understand why they can’t.” Twisted J Ranch also caters to the interests of the men in her life, both her husband and son eat, breathe and sleep team roping. Cody heads, while their son heels. “Cody spends half of the year traveling. He’s at a team roping most of the time, but he’s traveling promoting the business too. He likes that he can usually do both at the same time,” she laughs. Corriente cattle, the preferred breed for team roping, have replaced the Angus that once occupied the ranch. “They were way too high maintenance,” says Luann. “With Cody traveling so much, they were too much for us to deal with. The Corrientes pretty much take care of themselves.”

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They’re also necessary. National Finals Rodeo qualifier Dakota Kirchenschlager calls the ranch home base and trains rope horses for the Johnsons. Plus, the ranch’s location and proximity to the lucrative winter rodeos makes it a home-away-from home for many professional ropers. “Right now, we have someone out there roping every day,” Luann says. “Dakota has someone coming out for lessons or to rope every day. They probably have a herd of about 70 head or so that they rope, so they don’t get worn out so fast.” All the roping also means the rope horses in training at the ranch sell easily. “The rope horses don’t stay long,” she notes. “With all those guys staying out there, once we get them started and going, they’re sold. We don’t necessarily start them as babies. Most of them we buy as 3- or 4-year-olds so we don’t have to keep those as long.”

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Twisted J Boutique &

“It’s done really well.”

Apparel

The success of the store led the entrepreneurial family to launch Twisted J Apparel. Noting how brand loyal cowboys and cowgirls can be toward the tools of their trade, the Johnsons focused their clothing line toward marketing branded merchandise like Classic Equine and rope manufactures Fastback, Rattler Cactus and Classic. Their mission being “to allow every cowboy and cowgirl the opportunity to ‘Ride For Your Brand.’

The Johnson’s entrance into the clothing business happened quite by accident, when Luann initially helped a friend launch a boutique and salon. “That really wasn’t my thing, but I did it to help her out,” Luann recalls. “After a year or so, she went a different direction, and we decided if we were going to do it, we were going to do it big, so we made it bigger. My oldest daughter Bailey, that’s her thing. She loves fashion. We knew it would be a good fit for her if she was to take it over, and she did. That really encouraged us to go ahead and do it.” The store in Stephenville offers women’s clothing, shoes and accessories as well as a small selection of home décor. “We also have a website where you can order online and we also have a pretty big social media following,” she says.

Their fresh look on marketing and return to the barrel racing industry made for a perfect pairing with the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic as the sponsors of the Derby. Twisted J will have both their own Twisted J Apparel available at the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic as well as selections from their boutique. You may also visit them online at www. getalittletwisted.com.


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