The Board and Staff of the National Reining Horse Association extend condolences to the connections of Million Dollar Sire Rowdy Yankee, who passed away on Friday, October 7, 2022. He was a horse of great charisma and talent, and, as NRHA Hall of Famer Dick Pieper was quoted as saying, “If he was a person, he’d be the kind of guy that you’d like to sit down and have a drink with.”
Rowdy Yankee was bred, born, raised, trained, and promoted by Non Pro Keith Crawford, now of Circleville, Ohio. By all odds, the circumstances before his birth shouldn’t have produced such a great animal.
It all started when Crawford’s wife returned home from a horse show and handed him a torn piece of a brown paper sack with a phone number and the following words scribbled on it:
Two-year-old filly by Ready Chex eligible for the NRHA Futurity for sale. Cheap.
Crawford was pretty sure that it wasn’t any filly that he would be interested in, but after some encouragement from his wife, he called the number.
After he asked the man selling the filly about her, the man answered, “My wife and I show barrel horses, and we bought the mare in foal in a packaged deal. The filly is eligible for the Futurity, and we don’t show NRHA, so we thought we’d sell her.”
Crawford already had a trip scheduled that would take him near the man’s place, so he agreed to stop by and look at her. “She was a real pretty bay mare, and I was surprised,” Crawford said. “He threw a saddle on her and rode off across the pasture; there was just an open area there with three barrels sitting in it. She rode off quiet and calm, so I asked how much he’d have to have for her, and he said that he’s been asking fifteen. I was thinking $15,000, but then he said, ‘But nobody has really been calling about her, so I guess I’d take $1,200.’”
Crawford bought the mare registered as Nita Chex (out of Pinenita) and began training her for the futurities before disaster struck, or perhaps, it was fate. The filly chipped a bone in her knee, and her show career ended early. Crawford gave her a year off, but she didn’t improve.
After watching the stallion that would become an NRHA Seven Million Dollar Sire and NRHA Hall of Fame Inductee, Smart Chic Olena, show at the NRHA Futurity one year, Crawford decided to breed his mare to the proven cutting champion turned successful reiner, and the resulting foal was Rowdy Yankee, named for a member of Crawford’s other passion: Standardbred Racing.
“I raced out in California four winters, and there was a horse out there that I liked. He actually raced in New York and Chicago, some, but he was owned in California, and he was out there when I was. He was a beautiful Standardbred, and he raced on the trot and the pace, both gaits. He was just a really good horse. He was an open pacer, and his name was Rowdy Yankee. I always liked the name, too, so that’s what I named the colt,” Crawford explained.
As he grew, Rowdy Yankee would go through stages of extreme beauty intermixed with “ugly” stages. “I went in the house one day and told my wife that we needed to sell him. I didn’t think he was going to make anything. He looked long-backed and ewe-necked, then in about a month, he looked gorgeous again. So, I ended up starting him and training him, and he was probably the nicest horse I’ve ever put a leg over.”
Crawford went on to describe Rowdy Yankee as smart, willing, very trainable, and naturally talented. He said, “He almost learned it by himself. I trained him all that winter and started showing him as a three-year-old in the pre-futurities, and we won everything. We won them all. He ended up going on to win the NRHA Futurity, and I showed him as a four-year-old, and he won everything but the Derby.”
Rowdy Yankee finished his show career with $84,480 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings, shown almost exclusively by Crawford. Knowing that there were a lot of cow-type horses out west, Crawford sent Rowdy Yankee to stand at Boyle Ranch in Ione, California, but not long after, he was notified of a problem.
Barbi Boyle called him and said, “Keith, you need to come out here and show this horse. People need to see him so we can get some breedings.”
Crawford explained that Rowdy Yankee had been plastered all over the Reiner for the past two years, but Barbi retorted that people out there didn’t get the Reiner. Keith entered both the Open and the Non Pro at the first annual Reining By The Bay horse show.
“They had a $20,000 Open and a $2,000 Non Pro. People had made some comments that he was a nice horse, but he was just a Non Pro horse, so I felt like I needed to show them everything he was. I rode in there and put the hammer down and showed him like he was an open horse, and he marked a 232.5 to win both the Open and the Non Pro,” Crawford said proudly.
After, Crawford, Rowdy’s had a few different owners, but in 2015 when Bob Peterson’s daughter Morgan graduated college, like many young adults, she was unsure of what path to take or what her purpose would be. The father, daughter team discussed the importance of horses in their lives and how they helped create purpose for the family. So they set out to buy mares to recreate their breeding program like it had been years prior when they had such horses as Reserve World Champion Genuine Hombre. Once they had fulfilled the goal of finding some high quality mares, the next step was to get a stallion for their program.
Tammye Hutton of Hilldale Farm then led them to Rowdy Yankee. It was Tammye that helped the father, daughter team select the right mares to cross onto Rowdy and Hilldale Farm stood him at stud for a number of years, until his age and health started to slow him down.
Rowdy Yankee was then lent to the Equine Program at Feather River College in Quincy, California by Hilldale Farms where he could spend his final years, teaching students how a stallion is supposed to behave. The 25-year-old breeding stallion was welcomed with open arms, and Equine Program Coordinator Crystal Anderson lobbied hard to get him.
Anderson liked what she knew of the stallion. Not only was he a champion in competition, but “he had such a sweet, kind disposition.” She knew his foals would be the same because she’d already worked with some that students had brought to the program. She was certain that they would be valuable assets both to the breeding and training programs. The college breeds its own horses, then foals and raises them until they are trained. Later, they are offered in the college’s annual Feather River College Production Horse Sale held in May each year.
At the college, Rowdy Yankee was treated like the celebrity that he was for his remaining years. He was given the best stall on campus which allowed him both indoor and outdoor access and was always deeply bedded with fresh, clean shavings. He enjoyed lots of turnout time when he first arrived and was hand-walked as his years advanced and his health declined.
The campus was only able to get one foal crop out of the old stallion, but they are excited to work with the now-yearling sons and daughters of the Million Dollar Sire. “We’ll be excited to get them started under saddle this coming spring, and then, hopefully, we’ll have them ready for the sale in 2024,” Anderson said. “I wish we could have kept him going. I would have loved to have had a thousand of Rowdy’s babies in the program.”
She added, “He was loved by everyone. He was a stallion, but he never really acted like one. He was more like a puppy dog than anything. He was just so friendly to everyone; he was so kind.”
Rowdy Yankee was 28 years old when he passed.
“Our family had been involved in the horse industry for decades, but Rowdy gave us a second generation of excitement and the motivation we needed to jump deeper into the reining industry,” said Peterson. “We are thrilled to know that there will be a resurgence in Rowdy offspring and hope that those foals will reignite sparks of excitement about reining horses for other families like it did for ours.
Rowdy Yankee will have frozen semen available in 2023 through Oswood Stallion Station. For more information visit oswoodstallionstation.com.
As we move into the busiest time of the year and some may look ahead to the NRHA Futurity, Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships (ARC), World Titles, Year-end standings and more – there are already events to look forward to in 2023! Read below to learn more about the exciting events coming.
Buckle ceremony to be held at NRHA Derby 2023
In February 2022, the NRHA Board of Directors made plans to host a ceremony to honor prior year NRHA Top Ten achievers and Top 20 Professionals, Non Pros and Owners during the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Nearly 200 NRHA members from around the world attended the event and enjoyed an evening of fun, food and recognition. Following a successful event this year, the NRHA Buckle Ceremony will be back in 2023! It is scheduled again during the NRHA Derby and is the perfect stage to honor those horse and rider combinations for the accomplishments they made in the prior year. The exact date of the event will be posted as the show schedule is finalized.
Total of $160,000 Added to the 2023 4-Year-Old Stakes
Debuting at the 2023 Derby will be the reinvigorated 4-Year-Old Open and Non Pro Stakes with an additional $100,000 added. Last year the Tamarack Ranch Open featured $40,000 added with $20,000 in the Colston Paving Non Pro. With the additional $100,000, those added money totals will grow to $110,000 in the Open and $50,000 in the Non Pro.
It was the consensus of the NRHA Board that this would give 4-year-old horses the opportunity to show one more year for good money while not having to compete against older, more finished horses. As in the past, the division will be run concurrently with the Derby preliminaries, and the placings will be decided in the first round. Entry in the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel will be optional.
Masters class added to Affiliate Regional Championships
After requests from NRHA members and affiliates, starting in 2023 there will be an optional Affiliate Regional Championship Masters Non Pro class! The addition of this class offering is another way that the affiliates can expand participation in their region. This will function like the optional ARC Short Stirrup class where it is not a qualifying class for the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship, but the host will be required to buy and present the special ARC awards for this class.
Additional North American Affiliate Regional Championship Support
Along with opening host bids for multiple regions for the 2023 North American Affiliate Regional Championships, we have exciting news! At the August Board Meeting, the board approved a new budget item – NRHA will provide the trophies for all North American ARC classes! NRHA recognizes the financial commitment affiliates must make to host an ARC, and the Board was thrilled to show their support of the grassroots level by providing this future support. Contact your affiliate to inquire about an ARC in your region.
Cedar Ridge Stallion Station, created and owned by NRHA Million Dollar Owner Casey Hinton and his wife, Kathy, has been a mainstay in the reining industry. The ranch has produced, through both the breeding and training programs, countless winners and has been home to some of the most elite sires in the reining industry.
Now, with new owners Josh and Kelsey Crawley, the ranch has elevated its support of reining with a Ranch Partnership with the National Reining Horse Association.
“On behalf of NRHA, I am excited to welcome Cedar Ridge Stallion Station as a new NRHA Ranch Partner,” said Christy Landwehr the Senior Director of Corporate Relations for NRHA. “They stand wonderful stallions and provide excellent mare care.”
The Crawleys have a long history with Cedar Ridge Stallion Station, as both worked for the ranch for several years – Josh as an assistant trainer to former owner Casey Hinton and Kelsey as the breeding manager. “It’s wonderful because it has kind of come full circle. We have put so much time and effort here and lived here for ten years or so,” Kelsey shared.
Josh, an NRHA Professional, added, “I started Crawley Performance Horses in 2018, and we had begun looking for a place of our own. We have some partners in the business, and it just happened that the opportunity came up to buy Cedar Ridge, and we were in the right place at the right time. It just felt right.”
The Crawleys noted they look forward to building on the solid foundation and reputation that Cedar Ridge Stallion Station boasts. “We are putting as much time and effort into it as we can to help it grow. Just last year, we were able to get in some great new stallions that will fit our program,” Kelsey shared. “While our focus is primarily reining, we do have several great stallions from other disciplines, from roping to cow horse.”
The couple also plans to continue providing mare care and training services and intends to add sale prep services as well. “The ranch is one of the few places that has a setup where we can really offer services in all aspects of the industry. We can breed the mare, foal her out, raise a yearling, prep it for a sale, or, if the owner wants, we can train it and make it a show horse, and then repeat that cycle,” Josh explained.
Cedar Ridge Stallion Station, located in Whitesboro, Texas, is home to an impressive stallion lineup which in 2023 will include Not Ruf At All, In Like Flinn, Gotta Twist It Up, Gunnabebigtime, Rubys Radar, Justa Swinging Gypsy, High Roller Whiz, and Spooks Gotta Outfire. Find more information about the Crawleys and Cedar Ridge Stallion Station at CedarRidgeStallions.com
When Gina Schumacher and CS O Bingo marked a 220 to win The Invitational Non Pro Championship at the Kimes Ranch Tulsa Reining Classic, it was more than just a win. Not only did Schumacher collect the largest check of her career, she also unofficially became the National Reining Horse Association’s 38th Million Dollar Rider.
“It’s nice to have this kind of achievement, but it doesn’t change anything because I still have to learn, and I still have to work the same amount every day to keep up,” Schumacher said humbly.
Reaching the million-dollar mark was special, but doing so on CS O Bingo, a 3-year-old colt by Snip O Lution and out of Bingo Juicy, made it even more so. “We bred, raised, and trained him. He’s sired by our stud, Snip O Lution, and I know a lot of people don’t really recognize or remember him because he was over in Europe. He’s the sweetest thing ever, but every time he walked into the show pen, he was a machine. CS O Bingo’s dam was my first futurity horse, and my dad had bought her for me,” Schumacher shared. “It was really cool that I’ve shown and won on both the mom and dad and now the baby.”
Schumacher’s love of horses was likely passed down from her mother, NRHA Million Dollar Owner Corinna Schumacher. “Mom always had horses, so I just kind of followed along. I had a dressage pony and some Shetlands, but I always had little Western saddles to ride,” Gina recalled.
Corinna Schumacher established CS Ranch in Givrins, Switzerland, and it became the base of operations, home to about 25 reining horses and host to multiple prestigious reining events. Corinna’s recognition of the scope of the discipline in the United States led to the purchase of 460 acres in Gordonville, Texas, upon which she built a state-of-the-art facility. Completed in 2012, it is home to an impressive show string and 130 broodmares with NRHA $2 Million Rider Duane Latimer as the resident trainer.
“My mom and Duane are both a big part of my success. My mom because she has gotten the right horses for me, and Duane because he’s trained them,” she said. “There are too many people to thank individually for helping me get here, and I’m afraid to leave anyone out. I thank my family for sure and the whole crew – the people who are always there.”
Schumacher’s Top 10 Wins:
- 2021 The Invitational Level 4 Non Pro Champion – $65,000 – CS O Bingo
- 2021 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Non Pro Reserve Champion – $40,215 – Gunin Addy Tude
- 2020 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Non Pro 4th Place – $23,329 – CS Tosmarttoberuff
- 2020 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Non Pro 5th Place – $20,962 – Alpha Attraction
- 2022 NRBC Level 4 Non Pro Reserve Championship – $20,000 – Gunnastepya
- 2020 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Non Pro 6th Place – $18,595 – Step N Past Ya
- 2018 IRHA Futurity 3 Year Old Level 4 Non Pro 3rd Place – $15,080 – Colonels Danger Zone
- 2022 6666 Ranch NRHA Derby presented by Markel Level 4 Non Pro Reserve Championship – $13,616 – Gunnastepya
- 2019 High Roller Reining Classic Level 4 Non Pro Derby Championship – $13,536 – Alittlewhitetrash
- 2019 Elementa Masters Premiere Level 4 Non Pro Championship – $11,052 – Shine N Whiz
For more information about Gina Schumacher and CS Ranch, visit cs-ranch.com