Journal on the Road

Ranch Remuda Finals – Battle in the Saddle

July 10, 2010

Mike Major and Black Hope Stik win the ranch remuda contest at Battle in the Saddle in Oklahoma City on July 10.

By Larri Jo Starkey

Mike Major

Mike Major ropes his cow under the judges' eyes during the ranch remuda contest at Battle in the Saddle in Oklahoma City on July 10.

Mike Major knows a little bit about ranch horses. For the last two years, the cowboy from Fowler, Colorado, has been the world champion in versatility ranch horse. He added to his prize bucket at Battle in the Saddle with a win in the ranch remuda contest.

Better still, the win was on a homebred, a mare named Black Hope Stik.

“We’re proud of this mare,” Mike says. “Her mother goes back to one of the first horses I started raising when I got into the horse business. Her daddy is the Smart Whiskey Doc stud that we won the world on in the versatility ranch horse twice, and so we’re really proud to have something has been in our program all the way through, especially by our stud horse that’s done us so much good.”

Mike’s black mare — yes, that’s really what he calls her — was also the top scorer in the preliminaries. Mike studied those scores before his finals run.

“I looked at my scores from yesterday and some of my weaknesses,” he says. “My mare was a little bit sore on the right side, so she’s not wanting to spin to the right much, and she’s not used to standing on cement, so she’s a little bit sore through her body.

“I really worried about her stops, but when we got in there, she really come to me good and really wanted to try to do it right. She really wanted to get her stops good, her turnaround to the right wasn’t quite as good as I’d want it. Going down the fence, I was really tickled with her first turn. She really got up there and took hold of that cow and got that cow bent inside the fence and gave us a chance to really stay with it coming back down. I was really tickled. She stayed with me all the way.”

Mike is appreciative of the chance to show off his breeding program.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to show our horses,” he says. “The guys I’ve talked to have been really really thrilled with (show officials) pulling this Battle in the Saddle deal together. It gives them the opportunity to combine all associations in one show.”

To see photos from Battle in the Saddle , watch the slide show below. Click on the photos to see the captions. To get complete results, go to

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