I was eight years old, I started riding a
Welsh pony named Rexy. He was fresh-as-paint
and threw me off more times than I could
count ~ but I was crazy in love with him!
I have been cutting for 5 years, but
honestly the first 4 years seemed like 2
steps forward and 3 steps back!!
introduction to cutting was when Karla Camp
asked me if I wanted to try the flag on
Jewel, a horse I had purchased in 2010 for
trail riding. It was totally intriguing to
me! When I bought Jewel, I had no idea that
she was a cutting horse. It was just a fluke
thing that Karla asked me if I wanted to try
her on the flag!
At the time I was
riding at Bill Crabtree's barn, a Quarter
Horse trainer in Red Lodge MT. Throughout
the winter of 2012, I traveled with Bill to
the Thermopolis WY winter cutting series. My
first time walking to the herd, it was such
a rush! That was really my beginning of this
addiction we call cutting! Unfortunately,
Jewel tore her deep flexor tendon and so
cutting for her came to a screeching halt. I
was crushed, but eventually ended up with
John L. Dublin and bought Stylishs Good Son
from Dr. Tim Johnson, and things started
moving in the right direction again!
Last February at a North Ridge Ranch
Cutting in Pierre SD, I saw NRR Jack the Cat
and was instantly captivated by him. So I
said to his owner, Jason Reed, if you ever
want to sell him, please let me know. About
a week later, Jason let Rachel Showalter
know that Jack was available. Holy cow, I
could not believe it! So I went back to test
drive Jack in March, and I was head over
boots in love! Jack is a 6 year old gelding
sired by Black Catamounts Rey. He has NCHA
earnings just under $50,000 and was raised
at the North Ridge Ranch, trained by Tracy
Through my purchase of Jack
and training with Tim Stryker, I feel like
it has finally been (almost) a year of
moving forward with cutting! I am still such
a total rookie, but a great horse and a
great trainer can make all the difference in
My favorite Cutting Horse
Show so far with Jack was Henry's Lake ID,
last summer. Such fun! My 2016 Goal in the
Cutting Pen, keeping my head screwed on the
right way! Something which Rachel Showalter
said to me several years ago really
resonated with me, “There's no such thing as
good luck. It's all about practice,
patience, and persistence."
of the cutting pen, I love hiking with my
dogs. Do it every day! In September 2014,
along with my husband and son, we opened
Moon Lake Market in Red Lodge MT. The
purpose of our market is providing good
nutritional choices to our customers, so
that they can live healthier and happier
lives! The market places a lot of importance
on local goods, and carries a diverse
selection of local Montana products.
Provisions include dry goods, refrigerated
and frozen foods (including local meats and
dairy) fresh organic produce (local MT
produce whenever available!), bulk goods
(grains, beans, nuts, dried fruits, herbs,
healthy snacks and treats), vitamins,
supplements, herbal remedies, tinctures,
homeopathy, eco-friendly household products,
healthy pet treats and supplies, health and
beauty products, essential oils and
diffusers, and much more! We support all
dietary needs and habits, including
gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, diabetic,
paleo, vegetarian, vegan, raw, and healthy
omnivores. We believe in sustainability,
responsibly-produced goods, the humane
treatment of animals, and the healing power
of healthy, natural foods.
to Sheila and Jack this year in the cutting
pen, and thank you to Moon Lake Market for
your Platinum level sponsorship of the
Esther Peterson -
MCHA 2015 Rookie of the
In April, Esther Peterson and her husband,
Joel, made the trip to the famous Pitzer
Ranch in Ericson, NE for their Spring
Catalog Sale in search of a rope horse for
Joel had a short list of seven
or eight horses picked out prior to the sale
and when sale day came, the Peterson's
purchased Oh Brother Boon, a 2008 AQHA Red
Roan Gelding x Peptoboonsmal and out of
Little Shiney Twist.
On the trip back
to Montana, Esther googled Peptoboonsmal and
found out that Gary and Alycia Bellenfant
bred and raised the gelding. And the news
gets better - Gary had trained the gelding
as a cutting horse and - "Boon" had actual
NCHA earnings to his credit.
had met trainer, Kip Denton, in Bozeman
earlier that spring. She made the phone call
to Kip and asked Kip to work the gelding.
Everyone was pleasantly surprised and Esther
left the gelding with him for a refresher
course for three weeks. Esther eagerly made
the trip to Belgrade on a daily basis to
keep up with Boon's progress and to take
lessons on her new horse. Ester had always
wanted to cut. Life has its ups and downs
and finding “Boon” this past spring as
Esther's first show
was on June 6. Her first class was described
by Esther as a "royal disaster" however she
redeemed herself on her second run in the
Never Won A Buckle class and earned her
first cutting buckle and the championship.
Esther's cutting career was off and
running. Onto Whitehall, the Big Hole,
Kalispell, Henry's Lake, and Billings - and
- a 2015 MCHA Rookie Championship and fifth
in the $2,000 Limited Rider.
and Boon have now set the new goal of
earning Esther her NCHA Achievement Buckle
And - her new bucket list
item is to one day meet Gary Bellenfant. You
Congratulations to Jann Parker and Merada Jo
Western Nationals, Non-Pro – Champion!
Tell us what you liked about the
show and the format - One of my
favorite shows, it always has been. Loved it
when it was in Ogden, really, really love it
in Reno, and Denver was great, too. I like
the stepped up atmosphere and show set up,
level of competition, cattle, and the
overall professionalism of the event. From
the host city to the practice pen, it's
stepped up. If my schedule will allow it,
it' a "must attend" event for me.
Which classes did you compete in
at Western Nationals? One - the
In reflection, what, in your
opinion, was the piece of advice given you
that helped get you to the finals, and who
gave it? Will Nuttall told me not
to do more than the cow and to be accurate.
I tried very hard to apply that. And - I
knew I had to stay quiet on those cattle. In
the first go, I was totally out of air when
I rode out of the pen and that has never
happened to me before - Will said I did not
breathe the entire 2.5 minutes - I was
trying to stay quiet and make no unnecessary
movement - like breathing, I guess.
Tell us about some of the people
who have influenced you to this point in
your cutting career:
question with a big answer - John L Dublin
helped me catch the cutting bug and I have
tried to learn, watch, keep an open mind,
study horses and riders, pedigrees,
conditions, situations, cattle, etc., ever
since I was bit by the bug. I don't want to
stay in the box and I know I need to
continue to progress with every run and I
try hard to do that. Will Nuttall has been
very good for me, he has my horses on task
and expects me to deliver on my end and that
makes me step up. It's cutting and there are
a lot of variables so sometimes your best
doesn't work that day, but I always, always
leave the run learning or growing in some
manner so you can apply it when you need it
the next time. There will be another run
another day. My husband, Bill Parker, has
made sure I have a competitive horse, may
not always be my first choice, sometimes it
is, but I have made that work to my
advantage and to the best of my ability.
What horse do you show or ride?
I showed MERADA JO in Reno.
How is your horse bred?
Sire and dam - He is by Cats Merada and out
of Sanjo Sue by San Jo Tari.
How Old? 6
Tell us about your horse’s past
and training history - Originally
trained by TJ Good and then purchased by
Bill Cowan who had a lot of success with the
gelding. James Payne most recently had the
horse for Cowans.
What is your biggest, single win
on your horse? Non-Pro at Western
Tell us what makes your horse
special to you - He is a good horse
who is solid trained and likes his job. I
like that he doesn't miss anything, he is
smart and pays attention. He likes me, too.
What are your 2015 plans? Aged Events this fall with Merada
Anything else you would like to
share – It's great when it works
and your runs come together, and it takes a
lot of people to help you get there, and I
appreciate everyone who has helped me along
the way and to those who specifically helped
me at Reno: Will Nuttall, Todd Adolph,
Dustin Gonnett, Josh Sleeman, and Kimberly
Gustafson. Thank you.
Congratulations to Cody Lee and Bluish
Western Nationals, $5,000 Nov. Non-Pro –
Have you competed at Western
competed at Western Nationals maybe about a
half of a dozen times.
Tell us what
you liked about the show and the format -
I really enjoyed the
food and social part of the Doc Bar
hospitality room each day. Also a city like
Reno adds to the excitement of the event.
Which classes did you compete in at
Western Nationals? 5000 Novice Non
In reflection, what, in
your opinion, was the piece of advice given
you that helped get you to the finals, and
who gave it?
We used a strategy
to be as mistake free as possible but be
aggressive when the opportunity presented
Tell us about some of
the people who have influenced you to this
point in your cutting career:
lot of the trainers in Montana and the
longer standing Non Pros have all provided
me with encouragement and advice that I will
always have with me when I ride into the
What horse do you show
or ride? His name is Bluish
How is your horse bred? Sire
and dam: He is sired by Mecom Blue and out
Badge to the Bone
Old? 8 years old
Tell us about your horse’s past and training
Phil Hanson trained
him originally and then Parker Horse Company
got the horse and Will Nuttall and Travis
Young worked with Bluish from that point
What is your
biggest, single win on your horse?
Reserve champion at this past
Western Nationals would be our biggest
How did you
find your horse or hear about your horse
prior to purchase?
I knew the
horse was going to be in the February BLS
sale and all I knew about the horse was he
What was it
that convinced you to purchase your horse
I bought the
horse sight unseen over a phone to be a
horse to use on our ranch. I had zero
expectations on him being a successful show
horse so with the way things have turned out
I am very proud of that.
us what makes your horse special to you -
The horse is special because he
is quirky and like to drink lots of beer. He
is most generally a happy horse too.
What are your 2015 plans?
plan to continue to show Bluish at the shows
that I am able to attend and try to become a
very consistent team with him.
Which is your favorite show and
I like the Heart K show and
Nampa Idaho show because the facilities are
so nice there.
you would like to share –
would like to thank all the show producers
for their hard work in providing a place for
us to compete and enjoy this great sport.
MCHA Non-PRO Horse of the Year
Miss Chiquita Boon owned
and shown by Jim Bower
to Jim Bower on a great year in 2014. See
below for some interesting information about
this amazing team.
How is your mare bred?
Sire: Blue Bayou Boon Mare: Smart Lil
How Old? – Foaled
February 10, 2004
Who raised her? –
Breeder; Smith Starkey (DeKalb, TX)
Tell us about her past and her
training history – Lee Francois
rode in Aged Events early in her career,
Marlyn Egger worked with her (horsemanship)
as a 7 year old, to calm her down.
What is her biggest, single win?
– (2) Kentucky Cutting Horse of the
Year – Montana Cutting Horse of the Year
Total NCHA Earnings to date
How did you find her or hear
about her prior to purchase? – John
Dublin referred me to Jeremy Barwick
What was it that convinced you to
purchase her? – I walked into
Jeremy Barwick’s Barn in Texas and she
watched me like a Red Tailed Hawk.
Tell us what makes your mare
special to you – She can be a
ballerina, and American “Sniper”, or Grandma
all at the same time. VERY UNIQUE!
What are your 2015 plans with
your mare? – Compete with her in
Open and Non Pro in Montana.
Anything else you would like to
share – I feel honored to ride her
as she is a world class athlete and thinks
like a human. Above all she makes “ME” look
better than I am as a rider.
and Rachael Showalter have done a superb job
in maintaining her conditional and overall
health maintenance. I never worry about her
being properly handled as she is in Montana
and my main home is in Indiana.
MCHA Open Horse of the Year
Sues So Smart – owned by Bambi
Gress, rider Brian Anderson
to Bambi Gress and Brian Anderson on a great
year in 2014. See below for some interesting
information about this amazing team.
How is your mare bred? -
Sire and dam - WR This Cats Smart x Meradas
How Old? - 9
Who raised her? -
Frank Vandersloot of the Riverbend Ranch,
Idaho Falls, ID, bred and raised her.
Tell us about her past and her
training history - Brian Anderson
has been her Life Long Trainer. He was
Reserve Champion 4yr. Old in Las Vegas, made
Mercurial Finals in Calgary and 4th in the
Mercuria World Series in Nampa Idaho 2013.
What is her biggest, single win?
- Western Nationals Open Reserve Champion in
Denver – 2014.
Earnings to date - $86,728.38
How did you find her or hear about
her prior to purchase? - I had
watched her and Brian for
years.....especially as a 4 yr old, she was
really something but Not for sale .
(So....patience and a lot of luck)
What was it that convinced you to
purchase her? - My gut....and
Brian, she had been in the same program her
entire life. I didn't need convinced.
Tell us what makes your mare special
to you - So grateful to have a mare
if this caliber. She's very confident and
absolutely loves her job!
are your 2015 plans with your mare?
- We are off to a good start. Weekend shows
and plan on the World Series Events in Las
Vegas, Calgary, Nampa in hopes of making the
top 15 in December at Ft. Worth.
Anything else you would like to share
– Many thanks to Brian, Mr. Vandersloot and
my husband Tim for believing in me! THANK
Jim Brown showed Light Up At Noon in the
$5,000 Nov Horse/Non-Pro last March & April
2014 at the Cottonwood Equestrian Center in
NCHA number is 202. That is a what card players
would call a “tell”…..you can “tell” just about how
long Jim Brown has been a member of the National
Cutting Horse Association. Early. Try 1972. He has
been an NCHA member every year since.
A native of the Golden State, Jim
was still living in sunny California. He had some
horses and had been playing around with horses in
general and met a man named Art Miller, a cutting
enthusiast. Jim purchased his first cutting horse
from Art, “Albers Jessie” a gray gelding that had
won a fair amount of money.
He was 16 or 17
when Jim bought him – Jim followed the advice of
another cutter about purchasing an older, seasoned
horse to learn on.
Jim showed the gelding
for a bit. He got out of cutting for a while then
got back in thanks to the help and support of June
Mitchell, Yucca Valley, CA.
Jim purchased a
young horse that he kept in training for the
California Cutting Horse Association Futurity held
in Temecula, CA that year. June showed the gelding –
“Poco Plaudit” - and won all three go-arounds of the
The three year old was by a son of
Poco Bueno. Jim kept him a few more years, but felt
he still wasn’t capable of handling a young, less
experienced horse. Jim sold his gelding and took a
break from cutting as work was busy and other
In 1984, Jim purchased
a two-year named “Bonito Lynx” a gelding by a full
brother to Peponita, named Bonita San. Former NCHA
President, Chris Benedict, was Jim’s trainer at the
time, living in Temecula, and showed and trained the
1987 PCCHA $10,000 NP Classic Champion Jim
Brown seated on Bonito Lynx. From left to
right the people are Dave McGregor, Chris
Benedict, Lindy Burch, Joyce Brown, and Bill
Three months before the California
Futurity that year, the push was on to get the
gelding trained and showable. Show he did, placing
in the first two go arounds and qualifying for the
Chris continued to show the gelding
through his four year old year and at the Pacific
Coast Derby, Chris and Bonito Lynx placed third in a
tough field of horses.
As a five year old,
Jim took over the reins in the $10,000 NP while
Chris showed him in the Gelding Class and Open.
Jim earned Championship honors in the $10,000 NP
Classic on the nice show horse. Both he and Chris
earned top ten in PCCHA standings.
As a six
year old the gelding won the PCCHA
Classic/Challenge. The best show Jim had with the
gelding was in a $10,000 NP class with 51 entries
with the duo earning a first place finish.
The gelding lived to be 31 years old and lived with
Jim until the day he died
Jim’s work and career
picked up speed and cutting again was put on the
In 2000 Jim along with his wife
Joyce, moved to Montana. They reside in Gallatin
Gateway where Jim continues to enjoy the sport of
cutting, competing and attending select MCHA shows.
Cutting Season - by Dakota
Montana Cutting Horse Association's
"Rerun Cattle Win A Saddle" Winner!
In the beginning, I had no idea I would be a saddle
(Left) Dakota Arno with Pretty Boy Jax and
saddle donated by Tim Johnson (right)
Andi (Andrea James) got me on my first cutting
horse in October of 2013, just a few months after we
met. Steve (James) has taught me everything I know
about cutting and Andi has been my support and
traveling partner. And we can't forget Mavis
(James), she keeps everything at the ranch alive
while we are off showing. Without these people I
wouldn't be where I am today!
I started off the season showing Smashing
Aristocrat at NCHA Days in June and won the average
trophy in the 2000 LR there. We then headed for
Whitehall and that is where I learned I was in a
class that was in the rerun cattle win a saddle
running. I didn't own my own horse so the only class
I could show in was the 2000, so we weren't sure if
the saddle would be in reach or not. Andi and I love
all the Montana people, they always welcomed us and
took us in like family everywhere we went. We
enjoyed it so much that we traveled to the rest of
the Montana shows. I even talked Andi into going 11
hours to Kalispell. Tom Campbell and Tim Stryker
were always there to help, and we appreciate them
and all the other trainers who are willing to help
all day long show after show.
As the show season was winding down and we loaded
to head to Henry's Lake Idaho it was raining on us
the whole way. I was 45 dollars behind to win the
saddle. Saturday morning the show was cancelled due
to rain. Sunday we got to cut and I had one chance
to win the saddle. It all came down to the last
show, the last day, and the last class!
Pretty Boy Jax and I had an average run with a
bobble on our first cut but still winning 191
dollars. I didn't know if I had won the saddle
though because the second place person in the
running for the saddle also placed and won some
money. When it was all said and done, Andi told me I
had won by 87 dollars! Even though we were stuck all
weekend, freezing cold, wet and muddy, we left the
cutting that weekend full of joy and excitement!
What a season we had! I wouldn't trade our many
miles traveled, lessons learned, or the new friends
I have met for anything now! I would like to thank
Tim Johnson for donating the saddle and also
everyone else who rode down this show season journey
Thank you, all. Dakota
Foote – MCHA Vice President for 2015
Longtime Montana cutting horse enthusiast,
competitor, supporter and breeder, Kathy Foote, of
Livingston, Montana, was recently elected Vice
President of the Montana Cutting Horse Association.
Kathy has lifetime NCHA earnings of approximately
$250,000.00, and her husband, Jonathan, is a past
executive member of the NCHA, as well as having been
inducted into the NCHA Member’s Hall of Fame. Kathy
rodeoed throughout grade school, high school and
college, and came from a ranching background in the
How it all began: Kathy
attended a wedding of one of her girlfriends who was
marrying a son of Jonathan’s. Kathy and Jon started
talking at the wedding, and he invited her to come
over and try a cutting horse. Kathy worked her first
cow and was immediately hooked. Jon had not been
cutting for several years because of a back injury,
but he let Kathy show his mare, Lady Tivio Barred at
the upcoming cutting in Big Timber. Jonathan knew
Kathy was a cowgirl and was convinced that she would
win the $500 rider on her very first trip into the
herd, even though she had only been riding cutting
horses for a month. She lost a cow that day … but
got the feeling of competition and away she went.
Kathy knew she had a lot more to learn, but was
also on a budget. She had heard that Ray McReynolds
of Gallatin Gateway had a horse for sale, so off she
went to buy him. Trips Lucky Leo became Kathy’s
first show horse. John Edwards was training in
Montana at that time and he helped Kathy earn her
first championship buckle that year – 1991, in the
$500 Novice Rider.
Kathy’s next cutting horse
was Peponitas Docette who she bought from Leah Lucas
from Canada. “Docetta” was a great little mare, who
was very cowy and had a huge stop. Kathy made her
first Limited Aged Event finals on Docetta at the
Cutters of Idaho show in Hailey when they won their
first aged event buckle. In 1993, Kathy won her
first Non Pro in Montana on Docetta, who was now
ten. In order to keep progressing in cutting, Kathy
had to sell her current horse in order to get a new
one, so she sold Docetta to Jim Markle, who had a
very successful cutting career with Docetta.
Kathy went shopping again. Russ Miller directed her
to Smart Little Bunny, a five year old gelding by
Smart Little Lena. In addition to aged event
success, Kathy earned her first Western National
Finals Reserve Championship in the $10,000 Novice
Non Pro, showing “Thumper.” In 1996, she again
earned the MCHA Non Pro championship, in addition to
making the Amateur finals at the NCHA Summer
Spectacular in Fort Worth. When “Thumper” aged event
out, Kathy sold him and he eventually found his
forever home at Switchback Cutting Horses in Red
Now riding with Russ Miller,
Kathy’s next horse, “Miss Telesis” a mare by Lenas
Telesis earned her a second Western National Reserve
Championship in the $10,000 Novice Non Pro, in
addition to making many aged event finals aboard the
sorrel mare. “Tilly” was sold to Buffalo Ranch bred
to WR This Cats Smart.
Moving on again,
Kathy found Sneakin Up Onu in Las Vegas during their
spring aged event. Terry Clifford of Texas had the
mare in training, and urged Kathy to try her out,
but warned her that she bucked and was kind of wild.
Kathy and Russ tried her out and agreed with
everything Terry had warned them about, but they
were willing to take a chance on her. In 1999, Kathy
won the MCHA Non Pro on her, as well as making many
limited aged event finals. Kathy and Russ ended her
aged event year with both of them winning their
respective Open and Non Pro 5/6 year events at the
Utah Futurity. Kathy loved Sneakin and kept her to
show on weekends. Their very first year of weekend
cutting, they ended up in the top ten in the NCHA.
Kathy bred Sneakin to High Brow Cat and her
first foal, “Pouncin” went on to win nearly
$70,000.00 between Kathy and Russ. Sneakin also
produced several other NCHA money earners, including
Times Sneakin Up Onu or “Lola” who was by Peptotime.
Again, Kathy and Russ made many aged event finals,
including the Pacific Coast, Northwest Futurity,
Idaho and many more on her. As a seven year old,
Kathy made the NCHA top 15 in the $5,000 Novice Non
Pro on Lola, and showed her in the finals last
December in Fort Worth. Unfortunately, Sneakin died
at the very young age of 13. Sneakin Up Onu was bred
and raised by NCHA Hall of Famer Don Strain and his
wife, Kathy, of White River, South Dakota.
Pouncin has a One Time Pepto coming two year old
filly and is bred back to One Time Pepto. In
addition, she has a Dual R Smokin yearling stud
colt. Kathy’s plan is to keep her two mares out of
Sneakin and keep breeding them to good stallions.
Kathy says she is very emotional about Sneakin and
her offspring and wants to carry on her good mare’s
Another of Kathy’s favorite horses
is Remanitas Alegria (Noche) who she purchased from
Linda Chambless as a five year old, and went on to
make many aged event finals with Kathy aboard. When
Noche aged out, she sold her to Cody Lee, who had
tremendous success on the little black mare. “I
always said about Noche, that if she could cook,
Cody would marry her!” Kathy added.
have been many other horses that Kathy and Jonathan
have owned throughout their twenty plus years of
raising and showing horses together. They both love
to cut and are very passionate about the cutting
horse industry. Kathy also is very passionate about
helping our youth cutters. With that in mind, Kathy
was instrumental in structuring the Angela Bauer
scholarship fund that is still going strong today.
Kathy says the best thing now about cutting is
watching their daughter, Meghan, compete. Jonathan
and Kathy are very proud of Meghan’s Reserve
Championship this past October in the Non Pro 5/6
Class Challenge at the Wrangler Cutting Futurity in
Calgary, Alberta. Kathy says that Meghan has the
aged event bug and plans on finding a young horse to
show this next fall.
The circle continues ……
Stryker – MCHA President for 2015
Tim Styker grew up in the middle of no where –
between Ekalaka, MT and Camp Crook, SD.
Tim’s father, Donnie Stryker, was a pastor with
Rural Home Missionary Association – and their duties
were to start non-denominational Bible churches in
Sunday was church, and the rest
of the week was day working for area ranchers and
starting young horses. The oldest of three boys, and
having an older sister, their family had a little
place that his Dad leased and Tim and his dad
started colts for the public.
From the time
Tim was five until he was 13, that is where you
could find him after school. Tim attended grade
school in Camp Crook, with a grand total of five to
seven kids in his class.
Tim was 14, his family moved back to Nebraska and
his father Pastored a church – and he and his Dad
continued with their horse business.
graduation, Tim attendee college at Dawson Community
College in Glendive, MT and graduated with an
associates degree in Ag Business. Tim paid his way
through college starting colts and riding young
After college, he returned to
Nebraska and rode colts full time, starting young
horses for the famous Haythorn Ranch in addition to
In 2000, he moved to
Wyoming and worked for Kenny Graves, a rancher in
the Big Horn Mountains. Eventually, Tim went back to
riding colts full time and riding the Muddy Creek
Grazing Association above Buffalo, WY.
about 2005, Tim joined Montana native and cutting
horse trainer, Tom Campbell in Rancho Murrieta, CA
starting young horses for Carol Ward. For three or
four years, Tim was the assistant trainer at Carol’s
cutting facility in California.
In 2009, Tim
made the move back to Montana and started out on his
own. Today, he is training horses in Billings,
Montana and is our new Montana Cutting Horse
Association President for 2015. Tim has a nice
non-pro and amateur clientele – “They are almost
like family”, Tim commented. He has a nice indoor
facility to work out of located on 56th street west
If you are interested in
starting to cut, or would like to tune up your skill
set, Tim can be reached at 406.702.4007.
“It all started with a pony named Duke that drug me
through a barbwire fence”, Jim Bower stated. “Then,
the next day my Dad sold him. I was 13. That was the
end of my career with horses - until I was 45”, he
“I saw Dan Lufkin’s photo on the
front page of USA Today 25 years ago. I was playing
basketball and Tae kwon do, getting beat up
physically, and wanted a sport to compete in
competitively in my 40’s. I thought cutting looked
relatively ‘easy’, so I called Dan Lufkin’s office
in New York. They transferred me to one secretary,
then to the next secretary and then Dan answered,” a
somewhat surprised Jim reflected.
continued “I had never met Dan, he was a big-time
brokerage firm and I introduced myself as a small
brokerage firm. I was minute to Lufkin Jenrette, but
he took my call. He put me in touch with Lindy
“Now, I had never ridden a
performance horse much less a cutting horse, and
just imagine me – cutting with Lindy, on her terms!”
“I loved her work ethic. She
would have 25 head saddled at 4:30 a.m. and didn’t
stop until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. She took me in
as a big favor to Dan, she taught me so much and I
learned how the professionals did it,” he explained.
“I came home to Indiana, bought my first cutting
horse through Marlyn Egger, who was a terrific,
terrific horseman, he taught me cutting from the
horse’s angle. I purchased Smokin Quixote through
Marlyn, that was the first horse I owned, he was one
of the best horses to come out of the Midwest”.
“He was my first test at riding a good horse. It
was all about balance. He was my number one horse”,
“Since then, I had some
struggles but have progressed. I went through a time
when I was working on my business and I just ‘stayed
in tune some’ with cutting,” Jim continued.
But Lindy Burch’s advice stayed with him - “If you
want be a better rider, ride a better horse”, she
“Lindy’s seen me flounder. John L
Dublin helped me find Miss Chiquita Boon and
Decidedly’s Kitten, we bought them both from Jeremy
Barwick. Before I ever bought Miss Chiquita Boon, I
knew she was special,” Jim added.
toned her down for me. He didn’t ride her for him,
he rode her for me. She won Horse of the Year in
Indiana, Kentucky, and she was an Open Champ, too.
That mare is so intense”, Jim explained.
“Tim Stryker now has Miss Chiquita Boon for me. I
want to get her to $100,000. I also have a High Brow
Cat mare with Randy Chartier, ‘Pasta Primavera’, and
I plan to bring her to Montana this year.
Decidedly’s Kitten is with me here in Indiana.”
Jim also has a four year old “Wild Haired
Suzzana” that he has with Randy this year. One that
Jim plans to show in the Aged Event classes at as
high of level they can... "want to get better...ride
better horses", Jim reminded.
is Owner and President of Bower Trading, Inc., a
full service commodity futures and option trading
brokerage firm with 40 years of being in business
with no compliance issues.
“Trust is important to us. We’ve proven that if you
manage your risk properly and you don’t over trade,
there are good returns on investments. We know our
customers personally and we try to match the trade
with their level of risk tolerance. Our business has
been built on matching the correct portfolio
Jim and his wife, Vicki, live in
Zionsville, Indiana and also own a home in Billings,
Jim concluded “I have enjoyed
Montana, my Dad told me to go west 50 years ago. I
wish I would have come earlier. I’ve had a good time
A native Montanan, Wylie
Galt Gustafson was born and raised in Conrad,
Montana on his families cattle and horse ranch.
Wylie’s father is a ranch veterinarian and Wylie
grew up enjoying the unique rural lifestyle of
northern Montana. The Gustafson ranch has a long
history including a rich “horse” history. In 1939,
Wylie’s father, Rib Gustafson, along with his older
brother Duke Gustafson, made the trip to Marfa, TX
and picked up some quarter horse type breeding stock
to bring back to Montana. Keep in mind, the AQHA was
in it’s infancy, as it was officially organized in
1940 in Fort Worth, TX .
Duke owned the sale
yard in Havre, MT during the 1940’s and 50’s, and
owned and bred many of the Cadillacs of the roping
and rodeo horses of his era. He bought and sold many
horses through the sale yard and private treaty.
Rib was a partner in their horse business and
also started a breeding program about the same time.
Montana cutter and Conrad native Pat Wyse
purchased his very first performance horse from Rib
and his program. Also, local horsemen John
Balkenbush started with Gustafson bred horses from
Back to Wylie, in the early
80’s, Wylie attended University of Montana in
Missoula where he pursued his music career. In 1981,
Wylie and his older brother, Eric, won the Montana
“Battle of the Bands” and Wylie became fully focused
on a career in music. After six years playing the
northwest club circuit with the band “The Talk”,
Wylie moved to Los Angeles to pursue a national
recording contract. While in LA in 1992, Wylie flew
a film crew to his family ranch in Montana where
they filmed Wylie’s first country music video which
became a huge success on CMT and TNN.
Wylie was based out of Nashville and after
pursuing his music career for over ten years, with
200 or more days on the road annually, he longed for
the simple lifestyle that he had left behind in the
In 1995, Wylie and his then-wife,
Kimberley, moved back to Kimberley’s family ranch in
eastern Washington where her aunt, Marlene Dreger,
was a cutting enthusiast. Marlene introduced the
Gustafson’s to the sport of cutting. They both have
been hooked ever since.
For four years, Wylie
did his time as turnback help and driver for
Kimberley on the Washington club cutting circuit,
and was an avid team roper.
In 1999, Wylie
attended the John Scott Dispersion Sale in Billings,
MT where he purchased the yearling “Irish Whiskey
Sugar” to develop as a head horse. When he returned
home to Washington, Kimberley looked at his
registration papers and informed him that he did not
purchase a “rope” horse, but a “cutting” horse.
After consideration on what to do next, they
decided to send his horse for cutting training to
Bill Speight near Red Deer, Alberta .
“Whiskey” finished his fall futurities with Bill and
then came home to Wylie in Washington state.
Both green, Wylie and his horse, started competing
in club cuttings and attending every and any cutting
clinic that was produced in the northwest.
Clinicians included Lindy Burch, Chubby Turner, and
Paul Hansma. Wylie enlisted the expertise of local
trainer John Paul to help finish Whiskey’s Derby
year campaign. In the fall of 2002 they won the Dave
Withnall Memorial Non-Pro Derby in Vernon, BC..
Wylie said the biggest thing that Whiskey has
given to him is confidence. “I used to think I was a
good horseman until I came to the full realization
that it was Whiskey’s brilliance who was making up
for my deficiencies as a green rider and making me
look somewhat competent!”
Wylie began his
first NCHA cutting year in 2003 riding Whiskey in
the Washington State Cutting Club.
The duo was
extremely successful in all the classes they
competed in and eventually rode up through the
In 2005, Wylie and Whiskey earned a
hard to come by NCHA Western National’s Championship
in Ogden, UT in the $20,000 Non Pro. Wylie also has
two Open top ten buckles and two Reserve
Championship Non-Pro buckles from Western Nationals
aboard his great gelding.
Since then, this
duo won many more association titles in the
Northwest and Wylie rode out of the Amateur classes
(earnings in excess of $100,000) in 2007.
After a divorce from Kimblerley, Wylie moved his
horse business “Cross Three Quarter Horses” back to
his home turf in Conrad, MT in 2009. After a 3 year
hiatus in cutting Wylie joined the MCHA in 2012.
Aboard his old-time hard knocker Whiskey they won
the MCHA 2012 Non-Pro Championship and will accept
the 2013 MCHA Non-Pro Championship in March.
Wylie owns the dam of “Whiskey” and two shares of
his sire “Paddy’s Irish Whiskey” who stands at the
6666 Ranch in Texas. Wylie has raised and trained
“Whiskey’s” full brother “Captain Beefheart” who
earned Region 1 NCHA Non-Pro Derby Champion year-end
award from the NCHA. In 2013, Wylie showed the 5 yr
full sister “Whiskeeta” who was third in the $5
Novice Non-pro year-end for Montana. Wylie’s
breeding program focuses on larger sized performance
horses that can cut, rope and be useful and durable
mounts on the northern ranges. All of his cutting
horses are taught how to handle a 1200 lb. cow on
the end of a rope. Getting out of the pen and onto
the range to see how the “other side” lives is an
important part of Wylie’s training program.
This year, Wylie plans to campaigning his 16HH colt
“Hiline Pepto” (One Time Pepto X Selana Starlight)
in the northern futurities. For more information on
Wylie, his music, and his horses, you can find him
on FB at
CLICK HERE to view
"Wylie and the Wild West Quick Facts".
MCHA Member Spotlight: Tim Johnson
Lifetime Earnings: $9,102
From: Bozeman, MT
Five years ago, Dr. Tim Johnson, Bozeman, MT rode
his first cutting horse. Interestingly enough, “Top
Cat Doc” a three-time World Champion originally
shown and trained by Pete Branch, and later in his
career owned and shown by Tim’s mother, Mary Jane
Johnson, was a sprite 23 or 25 years old.
That first year, Tim won his first check aboard “Top
Cat Doc”. Tim explained “I really think it was the
first time I got all three cows cut – it was in the
$800 Limit Rider at a show in Great Falls.”
And - Tim has earned a top five placing in the
Montana Cutting Horse Association each year since.
“I wasn’t getting any younger and neither was the
horse”, Tim acknowledged.
Knowing that “Top Cat Doc’s” runs were limited, Tim
purchased “Debra Badger” from Theresa Nelson the
year following Theresa’s top 15 NCHA honors. Tim
showed “Debra” for the next two seasons, and earned
a Reserve Championship finish in the MCHA’s $2,000
“She is a good, steady horse that helped me learn”,
Tim’s goals for this year? Tim put it like this: “To
not be a bridesmaid - again!” And – with two
previous finals qualifications at Western Nationals,
he would like to do that again, too.
Tim’s current cutting horses include “Dulces Mighty
Oak” a 7 year old gelding and “Stylishs Good Son” a
15 year old gelding.
He has Fort Worth on his mind, too. Tim currently
has a three-year-old “Zacks Little Lena” filly
started by Jeremy Barwick and now with trainer John
L. Dublin being trained for a December trip to the
A busy gastroenterologist with his practice based in
Bozeman, Tim said “I enjoy the people. It’s a fun
crowd, and a good distraction, too”.
Photo by Scootemnshootem Photography – Laurie