Tate Kirchenschlager and Cole Davison have been thick as thieves for years, and it was with Davison that Kirchenschlager won his American Rope Horse Futurity Association World Championship in 2021.
So when Davison needed someone to spin steers on his brother- and sister-in-law’s first-ever rope horse prospect Meradas First Diver, Kirchenschlager was his obvious choice. And it’s one that paid off in a big way when Kirchenschlager won the 2022 Royal Crown 4-&-Under Heading Futurity in Rock Springs, Wyoming, worth $9,300 for owners Lindsey and Brent Bartlett, plus $1,800 for breeders the Flag Ranch and $1,800 for owners of Royal Crown Sire First Prize Diver.
“A Family Horse”
“Tallian Thompson (who owned the horse Davison won the Open heeling on a day earlier) bought him from the Flag Ranch, and he sold him to my family because he thought he had too many,” Davison explained. “Since then we’ve just done a little bit of everything on him because he’s so easy and gentle. Tate and I are like-minded, so that makes it easy for us to work on horses together. We don’t break it down too much, and I know he’s good people. So it was an easy call for me to have Tate show him.”
“Tallian had to sell him to us so he could actually win something. Make sure you put that in there, he’ll love it.” — Cole Davison
In Rock Springs
And show him he did. Kirchenschlager was eighth in the first round, sixth in the second round and eighth in the third round, coming back second high call to the short.
“That horse reads a cow real good, and every steer we run kind of stepped one step left,” Kirchenschlager, 29, originally from Yuma, Colorado, explained. “That’s really good for that horse, because he reads them good. He scores really good, and he’s just a really easy horse. He may not have some flash that other horses have, but he lets you win and he won’t get in your way.”
At just 4 years old, the son of First Prize Diver out of the Smooth As a Cat mare Smooth As A Merada is as easy going as they come. The Bartletts’ kids ride him, and he’s a family favorite. Plus, he’s wicked to heel on, too, and won second in the first round of the Royal Crown 4-&-Under Heeling, too.
For Kirchenschlager, the win came at a perfect time as he is coming off the rodeo road, launching his full-time training business and building a place.
“Right there the first of May, I decided I didn’t have good enough horses, and my wife and I are building a place,” Kirchenschlager said. “So all of my money was going to that. I mean I miss rodeoing, I do, and I’d like to do it again someday. But right now, I like the training, and I want to get my place built. The Royal Crowns have been decent to me this year as I’ve been working on it. I’m not killing them, but it’s been ok. They’ve been more than fair.”
Plus, winning with Davison and for the Davison family is more than a bonus.
“We just got close when we roped together, and the Davisons, they’ve done a lot for me and my wife with buying a place. They’ve just helped me a bunch. Plus, the time plays more of a factor than people think it does, and Cole naturally likes to throw fast. I don’t care if he throws on the first hop and misses or catches, but he gets us a few extra points every run by how fast he throws.”