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Ward And Roeser Tie For High Score In World’s Greatest Horseman Herd Work Prelims

It was an exciting day of competition at the Fort Dodge Animal Health National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions as the first leg of World’s Greatest Horseman preliminaries began. Regardless of the spelling – John or Jon – two prominent competitors share much more than just a name. They tied for first place in the herd work (cutting) competition at the Lone Star Arena in Stephenville, Texas.

John Ward and Jon Roeser both come from prominent families in the reined cow horse world Both of their fathers, the late Greg Ward and Jim Roeser, are NRCHA Hall of Fame members. Both men have built on their family tradition, and are known in the industry for training great horses.

But there are even more similarities between the two – both horses they are competing with are prominent stallions, and each stands at its rider’s barn. Jon Roeser rode Diamond J Star, a 10-year-old stallion owned by Judy Siebel that he promotes and stands at Jon Roeser Training Stables. John Ward is entered on his 15-year-old stallion Smart Little Pepinic, who he stands at Ward Ranch.

Both stallions have had much success in the show pen. Diamond J Star, by Grays Starlight and out of Diamond J Playgirl, was the 2001 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Co-Reserve Champion, and has lifetime earnings of more than $86,000. By Smart Little Uno and out of Pepinic, Smart Little Pepinic has earnings of over $60,000, and recently won the 2007 NSHA World’s Richest Stock Horse competition.

And each stallion has passed on those winning genes. Diamond J Star has produced National Cutting Horse Association money earners, while Smart Little Pepinic has sired earners of $500,000 in NRCHA, NRHA, and NCHA competition. In fact, one of his most successful offspring, Smart Plain Pep, is being ridden in the World’s Greatest Horseman by Tim Unzicker.

The two talented equine athletes were ridden by their equally talented riders to scores of 221 – with the next closest score being a 218. Although that 3-point lead gives them a little breathing room, neither team can afford to let up. There are still three more phases of preliminary competition to decide who will go to the finals that will decide the title of “World’s Greatest Horseman.”

On Thursday, February 21, the 33 entrants will compete in the reining prelims, and on Friday will finish up with the steer stopping and cow work. Once the composite scores are finalized, the top ten will advance to the clean-slate finals Sunday, February 24.

The 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 ULCERGARD and GASTROGARD, Great American Insurance Company and the 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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