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Cowgirl Thinks Twice, Returns to Win Extreme Cowboy Race™

Hosted by Craig Cameron at the September Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in Ignacio, CO

Discouraged by a 10th place preliminary finish that barely earned her a finalist slot, Extreme Cowboy Race™ contestant Jean Oliver almost didn’t return the next day for the finals at the Sky Ute Event Center. Her qualifying run was solid, with no bobbles over the challenging course, which gave her a good chance for the clean-slate finals—but it was a long drive to Ignacio from her home in Cortez, CO, so she did some research before making her decision.

“What makes the difference,” she asked one of the judges, “between a good ride and an outstanding one?”

“Speed,” said the judge. The answer might seem obvious, given the name of the event, but horsemanship is also a strongly judged element. Fortunately, team Oliver does well at both, so Jean returned to run the finals with fresh determination.

Good thing she did. She won—leaving her competitors in the racecourse dust by some 30 points. That she is a cowgirl “of a certain age” (and proud of it) made the win all the sweeter for her, as it did for her admiring audience. She was an obvious crowd favorite, despite coming in with the disadvantage of an early draw and a field of younger competitors. Her 16-year-old horse rose to every challenge with confidence, style, rhythm—and speed. In the eyes of one observer, Jean took the course “like a woman on a mission.”

“I’m thrilled to win,” Jean says. “I’ve watched the race for a couple of years on TV, but never hoped to compete.” When the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo brought it to a venue near enough for her to make the trip, she jumped at the opportunity.

In second place was Jerry Mackey of Ignacio, a reiner and professional trainer who demonstrated his competence throughout the race, but especially in calming his horse after a difficult encounter with one of the later obstacles. Third place went to Si Jarboe of Cortez, whose stylish 20-year-old Appaloosa “Spot” took the jumps with air to spare and delivered the rest of the ride without hesitation. Mike Glick of Durango, on a horse owned by local restaurateur Paula Berg, rode a strong race to take fourth place honors. Of the eleven finalists (one was a wild card draw), all were competing in the Extreme Cowboy Race™ for the first time. Most likely for many of them, it won’t be their last.

The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo brings the Extreme Cowboy Race™, hosted by Craig Cameron, to Denver, March 13-15, 2009. To compete in the Race, contact Dalene Cameron at (254) 728-3082 or doublehornd@lipan.net. For information, schedules, booth and stall applications and news on the Horse Expo, visit http://www.rockymountainhorseexpo.com or call (303) 292-4981. The website is updated frequently as the plans build for the 2009 Horse Expo.

 

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