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Valdez wins NRCHA Stakes Youth Bridle Championship

Posted: Thursday, Apr 11th, 2013


Josh Valdez, Alamosa, won the Youth Bridle Championship with his horse, Jac Be Light, at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Stakes Mar. 29 at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Courtesy photo by Primo Morales


LAS VEGAS, NEV. — Josh Valdez, a 17-year-old Alamosa high school junior, rode to the winner’s circle in Las Vegas, Nev., Friday, March 19, claiming the National Reined Cow Horse Association Stakes Youth Bridle Championship aboard his gelding, Jac Be Light (Jac Daniels Neat x Spooky Lucy).

The Centauri High School student has been riding since he was five, and started showing reined cow horses when he was about 12. He also knows how to handle a rope, and can often be found team-roping with his father, Virgil Valdez, who also shows cow horses.

Jac Be Light, a 17-year-old bay gelding known around the barn as “Dan,” is a seasoned campaigner who shares valuable knowledge with his young rider.

“I’ve been riding him for about three years. He’s one of my first real cow horses. He’s taught me a lot; he’s such a good horse and such a good teacher for me,” Valdez said.

During the competition at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Valdez piloted “Dan” to scores of 140 in both the rein work and the cow work, and the total 280 score earned the $537 Championship paycheck. The win also came with a C.R. Morrison Trophy and Gist buckle sponsored by the NRCHA, and a $50 gift certificate and cooler bag sponsored by NRCHA Corporate Partner Santa Cruz Biotechnologies.

Valdez, who also plays on the Centauri High School baseball team, trains with leading professional horseman Don Murphy, Marietta, Okla., a NRCHA Hall of Fame inductee widely respected throughout the cow horse industry.

“I don’t know if I can break down to just words what Don has taught me – it’s everything. Confidence in the show pen, working your horse at home, preparing your horse, showing smart – anything you can think of. He’s helped me so much,” Valdez said.

At the NRCHA Stakes in Las Vegas, he received some words of wisdom from his aunt, Betty Lou Valdez, La Junta, also a cow horse competitor. Her insight steadied Josh’s nerves the night before he showed.

“I was feeling unsure. She said, ‘You know what your horse can do. You know what you can do. Just put it together and get your mind straight and go out and ride your best.’ I’d like to thank her, and Don Murphy, my dad [Virgil Valdez] and my mom [Sherri Valdez]. My parents have helped me so much. I wouldn’t be showing horses if it wasn’t for them. They give me all the confidence in the world. My dad helps me so much,” Valdez said.

Cow horse competition is a family affair for the Valdez clan, and there was cause for father-son celebration in Las Vegas when Virgil claimed the NRCHA Stakes Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular Reserve Championship on his horse, He Be Fierce (Peptoboonsmal x Smart Starlight), taking home $2,736.

“I’ll be showing horses, or roping or something until I die. I love it,” Josh said. “Being humble is a big lesson that I’ve learned from showing cow horses, and how to work hard and cope with disappointment. Always keep going, and know there will be another show and another chance to be on top.”














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