Saying goodbye to two great athletes

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Being around rodeo as much as I am, I’ve learned of the relationships cowboys and cowgirls have with their horses.

Partners, friends, sometimes best friends.

On Thursday, two great horses that were featured a month ago at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo died in separate incidents. Mister, which Shawn Greenfield rode to earn nearly $100,000 in Las Vegas, died from the effects of salmonella poisoning while being housed in Decatur, Texas. I didn’t know much about Mister until I read Friday’s story on

Dean Gorsuch’s Pump Jack, who finished second in the votes for steer wrestling horse of the year had to be euthanized after a pastern bone was shattered during a practice run in Gorsuch’s hometown of Gering, Neb. Gorsuch had ridden the great white horse to the 2010 world title, his second career Montana Silversmiths gold buckle.

While in Omaha this past fall, Gorsuch explained to me just how special Pump Jack was to his family. Not only did the 15-year-old horse help the champ win lots of money, Pump Jack was a big part of the Gorsuch family.

“I would have done anything to have him back home with us, just so we could see him every day and give him a big hug, but he was in too much pain,” Gorsuch told the PRCA. “There was nothing anybody could do. It was tough. I had a hard time with it.

“He was more than a bulldogging horse. He was part of the family. I loved that horse. My wife and two children loved him. I’ll never find another like him.”


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