AQHA and PRCA Announce Rodeo Horses of the Year

There will be an all-new class of superstar horses on display at the Dec. 2-11 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., including one nicknamed "Vegas."

His registered name is RA Sonoita Silver, but owner Turtle Powell calls him Vegas. This seems fitting enough, given that Powell splurged four years ago, paying Terry Thompson $25,000 to get a team roping heading horse that he believed could give him a chance at a gold buckle.

Vegas is the 2010 AQHA-PRCA Heading Horse of the Year--his first such award--and Powell arrives at the Wrangler NFR in third place in the world standings.

"Without him, I would be struggling," Powell told ProRodeo Sports News. "I would be in the bottom half, 20 to 25. When I didn't have him, it was very hard for me to make money. Probably 75% of it is him. You have to have a really good horse. He's awesome. I wouldn't be where I am without him."

Travis Tryan's Precious Speck, aka "Walt," who won the heading horse award four times (2003, 2007-09), was voted into second place posthumously, ahead of brother Clay Tryan's Bears Cash Partner, aka "Syndicate." Walt died April 24 of an aneurysm at the Clovis (California) Rodeo.

For the first time since 2003, all of the AQHA-PRCA-WPRA horses of the year are first-time winners, a rather notable changing of the guard.

Jade Corkill's Fine Snip Of Doc, aka "Cave Man," was named the heeling horse of the year, ending a four-year reign by Baileys Copper Doc, aka "Diesel" (2006-09), who is owned by fellow Nevadan Randon Adams. Diesel finished third in this year's balloting behind Travis Graves' Startime Diablo, aka "Super Star."

Dashs Dapper Star, aka "Wick," owned by Wade Sumpter and Ken Lewis, was voted the steer wrestling horse of the year, ahead of Bailey Tokum, aka "Pump Jack," and Rocks Eye Opener, aka "Jessie," the legendary Canadian horse owned by Lee Graves who won the award in 2007 and 2009.

Eightys Sport, aka "Sweetness," was second in the tie-down roping horse of the year balloting last year, but moved up to the top spot in 2010 by earning more than $90,000 for the cowboys who rode him, a list that includes three Wrangler NFR qualifiers: Clint Cooper, Trent Creager and Fred Whitfield. The 16-year-old gelding is owned by Karen Herbst and Spur Resources 1 in Whitesboro, Texas.

Rocky Patterson will take the steer roping horse of the year, Skips Harlan Tyree, aka "Pops," to Guthrie, Oklahoma, next month when he attempts to repeat as world champion at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. Pops out-polled White Hot Ike, aka "Bullseye," owned by Chance Kelton, and Tonk Champ, aka "Champ," who is owned by Chris Glover.

Judge Buy Cash, aka "Jethro," owned by Frank and Lynne Mays, and ridden by Brenda Mays, is the barrel racing horse of the year.

2010 AQHA-PRCA-WPRA Horses of the Year

Steer wrestling

  1. Dashs Dapper Star, "Wick," owned by Wade Sumpter and Ken Lewis and ridden by Sumpter, Lewis and Billy Bugenig. 

  2. Bailey Tokum, "Pump Jack," owned by Dean Gorsuch and Darrell Krampie and ridden by Gorsuch and Gabe Ledoux. 

  3. Rocks Eye Opener, "Jessie," owned by Lee Graves, ridden by Lee Graves and Trevor Knowles

Team roping (heading)

RA Sonoita Silver, "Vegas," owned and ridden by Turtle Powell 

  2. Precious Speck, "Walt," owned and ridden by Travis Tryan (honored posthumously) 

  3. Bears Cash Partner, "Syndicate," owned and ridden by Clay Tryan

Team roping (heeling)

  1. Fine Snip Of Doc, "Cave Man," owned and ridden by Jade Corkill 

  2. Startime Diablo, "Super Star," owned and ridden by Travis Graves 

  3. Baileys Copper Doc, "Diesel," owned and ridden by Randon Adams

Tie-down roping

  1. Eightys Sport, "Sweetness," owned by Spur Resources 1, Ltd, and ridden by Clint Cooper, Houston Hutto, Timber Moore, George Rowland and Blair Burk

  2. Docs Hot Express, "Big Iron," owned and ridden by Joseph Parsons

  3. Smokin Reata, "Reata," owned by O.L. "Buck" Daniel and ridden by Shane Hanchey

Steer roping

Skips Harlan Tyree, "Pops," owned and ridden by Rocky Patterson 

  2. White Hot Ike, "Bullseye," owned and ridden by Chance Kelton 

  3. Tonk Champ, "Champ," owned and ridden Chris Glover

Barrel racing

  1. Judge Buy Cash, "Jethro," owned by Frank and Lynne Mays and ridden by Brenda Mays 

  2. MP Meter My Hay, "Sting Ray," owned by Mel Potter and Sherry Cervi, and ridden by Sherry Cervi 

  3. Sugar Moon Express, "Martha," owned and ridden by Lindsay Sears
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