RAPID CITY, S.D. – Two words adequately describe the inaugural season of the United Bucking Horse Association: Resounding success.
The organization concluded its first campaign with the UBHA World Finals, which took place Nov. 14 in Rapid City. Fifty of the top young bucking horses in North American qualified for the championship in two age divisions: 2- and 3-year-olds. It was the perfect way to wrap up an amazing year.
So was the competition. Three horses earned 91-point markings, the top scores in the finale: French’s Wazzup and Jim Lawrence’s bay mare each claimed the prize in the 3-year-old division, while Joe Waln’s sorrel gelding won the 2-year-old class. The young animals are bucked under a mechanical dummy instead of a rider to allow the horses the opportunity to develop with age.
“That mare is out of one of our top producing mares we use in bareback, Up In Smoke,” said Lawrence, a stock contractor from Kennedy, Saskatchewan. “It’s a real honor to be able to compete at a North American level and come out on top.”
Lawrence has made a living raising bucking horses. He loves the idea of the UBHA.
“For someone like me who’s already in the business, we can take some of the younger stock that we’re raising anyway and establish them a little sooner in their lives,” he said. “By the time they get into the full rodeo circle, they’ve already built a name and reputation.”
French has been touting Wazzup all season. He knew there was something special in the colt, and the proof has come through the season.
“He’s been an awesome colt, and I’ve never seen one like him,” French said. He just loves to buck. I’m proud to own him. The future that he’s going to have is just unbelievable. Hopefully he’ll go onto the big leagues and be a big name in the PRCA.”
That also may be the future for Waln’s gelding, who is carrying on a family tradition as a stock contractor whose ranch is near Martin, S.D.
“This means the world to us,” Waln said. “It’s a great promotional tool, something you can hang your hat on as a horse man and a horse breeder.
“The UBHA is an outlet to buck these horses earlier on and see what I had. This is a great opportunity to do that and promote these horses.”
That’s why so many horse owners are excited about the future of the organization. They see great potential, not only with their own young horses but also with the opportunity to develop the next great line of rodeo bucking animals.
United Bucking Horse Association World Finals
Nov. 14, 2014
3-year-old class: (horse, owner, score) 1. (tie) Wazzup, Guy French, and bay mare, Jim Lawrence, 91 points; 3. Snow Bear, Ron Solomon, 84.5; 4. Black mare, Lance Lesmeister, 84; 5. Surprise, MX Bar Ranch, 81; 6. Betty Boop, Kenny Andrews, 80.5; 7. Unnamed, Hat Brand, 80; 8. (tie) Clyde, Steve Stone, Hallelujah, Skip and Elaine Jones, and Shadow, Justin Twogood, 78.5.
2-year-old class: 1. BF SOB, Joe Waln, 91 points; 2. Martin, Ken RealBird, 86.5; 3. Oscar, Wes Janis, 81; 4. 4. Xotic Lady, Guy French, 80.5; 5. Dream Girl, Joe Waln, 78; 6. Brown mare, Ron Solomon, 77; 7. Buckskin filly, Darcy Hollingsworth, 76; 8. (tie) Black filly, Jim Lawrence, and Jasmine, Ken RealBird, 74.