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NRCHA Derby Celebrity Cow Horse Challenge Sponsored by Snaffle Bit Ranch

When local celebrities, sponsors and some of the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s most celebrated trainers get together in the name of charity, there can really be only one result – fun!

Fifteen riders - representing the local community and NRCHA Corporate Partners - came together for the Celebrity Cow Horse Challenge, sponsored by the Snaffle Bit Ranch on Saturday, June 21 at the 2008 NRCHA Derby.

Within each three member team, one rider competed in each phase of reined cow horse competition, all the while being “coached” by some of the top trainers in the reined cow horse industry - Ron Emmons, Ted Robinson, Dan Roeser, Mark Luis and Russell Dilday. Prior to the competition, each team was auctioned off in a Calcutta, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.

World and National Champion Dan Roeser led his team - Karen Gardner, Sales Manager of Vina Robles Winery, Kadee Coffman, 2007 Miss Rodeo California, and Ron Mullins of CenCal Mortgage - to the Championship.

“My team was so far in the lead, we couldn’t even see anyone in the rearview mirror,” joked Roeser after the awards ceremony.

All of the coaches gave their riders instructions via the PA system. Roeser said he took a lot of ribbing for remaining somewhat quiet on the microphone, but he contends that his team was so good, they really didn’t need much help.

“Everybody on our team had ridden, and hey, one of the keys to coaching is recruiting!” Roeser said with a laugh. “But in all seriousness, I did have a great team, and this was a really fun experience.”

Each rider could donate their earnings to a charity of their choice. Garner, who shows cutting horses, was riding for the Hearst Cancer Research Center, while Coffman rode for the NRCHA Crisis Fund. Mullins, also a cutter donated his winnings to the North County Humane Society.

Coffman has already made the headlines once this week at the NRCHA Derby. The former Miss Rodeo California and host of a TV show on RFD-TV recently started showing her own cow horse and won the $5,000 Limited Non Pro class at the NRCHA Derby earlier in the week. After showing her horse, “Willy” the day before, Coffman didn’t plan to show him hard in her segment of the Celebrity Cow Horse Challenge – but it didn’t take long to change her mind.

“They told me to go out there and just have fun, but I get pretty competitive,” Coffman explained. “Thankfully, I’ve got a great horse, and he did a really good job for me.”

Winning team or not, Coffman said she was honored simply to be asked to participate in the event, and had a lot of fun doing it.

“I especially want to thank the Snaffle Bit Ranch for donating the beautiful Gist buckles for the winners,” Coffman said. “It’s actually the first buckle I’ve won on a cow horse, so it’s pretty special!”

Snaffle Bit Ranch owners Diana Ceresola-Helgesen and Larry Helgesen were on hand for the awards presentation along with Wendy Heinen of Gist, and City of Paso Robles Representative, Shonna Howenstein. Earlier in the program Howenstein had accepted on behalf of the City of Paso Robles a special commemorative NRCHA Morrison Trophy from NRCHA President Lyn Anderson.

Ron Emmons was the coach for the second place team - Chrissy Sheppard, Sales Executive for Gist, riding for the El Dorado Search and Rescue Mounted Unit; Casey Lane, representing Paso Robles Main Street Association representing Hospice Partners of San Louis Obispo County; and Tim Murphy, Paso Robles Police Department Lieutenant.

The city of Paso Robles was commended for its help in putting together the Celebrity Cow Horse Challenge - as was Jake Gorrell, who had spearheaded the event for the NRCHA.

Carol Rose of Gainesville, Texas, had purchased both the winning team and the reserve finishers in the Calcutta, and announced that she was donating her Calcutta winnings - over $1,000 - to the new National Reined Cow Horse Association Youth Association.

National Reined Cow Horse Association, the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Wayne Hodges 4-Star Trailers and Outlaw Conversions, Bob's Custom Saddles, Cinch, Inc., Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, MD Barns, Platinum Performance, Inc., Nutrena, Quarter Horse News & Performance Horse magazine, the Peppermill Hotel/Resort, Fort Dodge West Nile Innovator, Rios of Mercedes, Merial products, Silver Legacy Hotel, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at http://www.nrcha.com.


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