Today I’m starting a new blog called Rodeo Cohorts. One of the definitions of cohort is a companion or associate. That is what the equine contestants in rodeo are, companions and associates to the people who ride them and enjoy watching them compete.
I’m going to spotlight a different horse each week, including barrel, rope and dogging horses along with bareback and saddle broncs. I might even throw in some specialty acts and an occasional bull or two. These are the equine personalities who make rodeo such an amazing sport, and many have their own fascinating stories.
To start this subject off with a bang, I’m highlighting Gills Bay Boy, better known as Scamper. Scamper accomplished what no other barrel horse has come near to doing. He and his owner, Charmayne James, won ten Women’s Pro Rodeo Association World Titles in a row between 1984 and 1993.
Charmayne and her father bought the AQHA gelding from a feedlot when he was a six year old, and she was just twelve. Two years later they qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. They went on to win the NFR that year along with the WPRA World Championship and the WPRA Rookie of the Year.
One of his most amazing runs came during the 1985 NFR. As they came down the alley to enter the arena, Scamper’s bridle broke. James says she couldn’t stop him, so she headed for the first barrel. The gelding ran the pattern on his own and they won the round.
In 1986 the pair won money in all ten rounds at the NFR, a feat only three other riders have accomplished.
Scamper ended up with the enviable record of ten WPRA titles, six NFR titles and ten RodeoHouston titles, along with many other circuit finals and major rodeo championships.
He carried Charmayne to more than one million of her $1,842,506 lifetime earnings. He was retired after the 1994 season and was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1996.
Scamper is a gelding and can’t reproduce. Because of this, James made the decision to clone him. The animal genetics corporation, Viagen, performed the cloning, and the foal, nicknamed Clayton, was born in 2006, kept a stallion and now stands at stud.
Scamper died at the age of thirty-five on July 4, 2012 at the age of 35. James said he enjoyed good health to the end.
“He’s one in a million. He’s a miracle…I doubt there will ever be another horse like him.”
Charmayne James, describing Scamper, 1989
I was only fortunate enough to be able to watch Scamper run in person once, but I watched him on TV many times. He was one of a kind.
Did you ever watch Charmayne and Scamper run? Do you have a favorite horse that is one of a kind to you?