It was a tale of two mares in Rock Springs, Wyoming in the Royal Crown’s All-Ages heading and heeling—with Colby Lovell winning the All-Ages Heading on the 2018 mare Yes Im Sassy and Andy Holcomb winning the All-Ages Heeling on the 2016 mare Fine Vintage Cash.
Yes Im Sassy
Lovell was 636.18 on four head, worth $4,500 to owner Neal and Jody Wanless on the daughter of Mr Sassy Frenchman out of the Paddys Irish Whiskey mare Full Irish Whiskey. Breeders and stallion owners Bill and Deb Myers took home another $1,500, and the mare won her owners another $3,000 for winning Rounds 1 and 3. The mare previously had $10,514 in QData earnings in her futurity career.
Raised in South Dakota on the Myers Ranch, Yes Im Sassy has been in training with Dakota Kirchenschlager. When Kirchenschlager broke his hand earlier this summer, Lovell jumped on her to show her for the Wanless family at Oklahoma City’s ARHFA Red Bud Futurity.
“She tries hard, and you can see the emotion when she’s running to the cow through her ears,” Lovell said. “She’s good in the box, she runs right to the cow, finishes good, is strong to the horn, really doesn’t make any mistakes. She hasn’t with me yet. She’s felt solid. With the fresher steers and the setup, you could could on her and she was dependable right there.”
The mare’s run-cow cross is a departure from Lovell’s usual all-cow background. Her sire, Mr Sassy Frenchman, is a son of Frenchmans Guy on top and out of Jess Sass Me—Mr Jess Perry daughter on the bottom. Paddys Irish Whiskey, her maternal grandsire, is all cow but a popular outcross on barrel horses with the speed, bone and work that makes a tough, long-lasting horse.
“I ride her the same,” Lovell said. “With her, you can feel the cow is there. She hooks up good, and she’s strong to the horn. She feels like a cow horse to me.”
With the fresh set of cattle in the first roping of the day, Lovell scored sharp and set the run up for Kirchenschlager on the back side.
“She won the first go round, and that set up the rest of the day,” Lovell said. “Get you a good start in the competition, you can maintain and ease and take control and relax.”
The mare has been in Kirchenschlager’s program since she was 3, with Kirchenschlager taking his time to get her ready for a long career.
“Dakota lets his horses work,” Lovell said. “They don’t ever feel like they’ve been picked on or aggravated. They’re relaxed, and they hook up to a cow good. His loop, the way he swings his rope, has got a lot of timing to it. So his horses always feel like they have their feet under them, bringing the saddle horn to you. You never feel like you’re having to lean off the side of your horse or your horse is leaning against you.”
Fine Vintage Cash
Fine Vintage Cash and Andy Holcomb won their second Royal Crown All-Ages Heeling title of 2023 in Rock Springs, putting the mare over the $100,000 mark in career earnings. With the help of NFR header Brock Hanson on the head side, Fine Vintage Cash and Holcomb won $5,700 for the average title, plus $1,900 for Robertson Ranches for both breeding the mare and owning the stallion, One Fine Vintage, and another $4,000 in go-round earnings.
“We’ve been showing her in the heeling since she was a 4-year-old,” Holcomb said. “She figured out her path and wanted to be a heel horse and not a cow horse. She’s been my jackpot horse lately. Daniel Rice has been showing her in the Intermediate as well. We like trying to get money earned on her. We want to just keep going with it.”
Holcomb won the ARHFA World Championship in 2019 on Blue Berry Please, and since then, he’s stayed at the top of the game despite the changing—and always-more-challenging—rope-horse futurity climate.
“There have been new things I’ve incorporated, but I’ve really worked on my roping and getting help from different people,” Holcomb said. “I want to improve my roping, and I think there’s a lot of guys you talk to who talk about improving your roping, but improving your roping improves your horsemanship and how you ride and how you rope on them as a finished horse. That comes out in a finished product, and it helps me stay up to date because it’s pretty tough out here.” TRJ