View from the Good Seats"
By Earl Martin

This past week I had the privilege to attend the filming of season four of the Extreme Cowboy Race.  Which airs on RFDTV or on the Internet at www.Horsecity.com/extreme.  The setting was at Craig Cameron’s beautiful Double Horn Ranch, Located in the hill country north of Stephenville, Texas.  Craig provided hospitality and chow second to none for 14 contestants and their guests, not to mention a course that tested the ability of both horse and rider.  I don’t think television does it justice.  Being there in person gives the feeling of riding with each competitor.  Everyone was really behind each rider on every run.  Partly I guess, because everyone seemed to become good friends in a short period of time.  Each season Craig seems to come up with more new and exciting obstacles.  Season four was no exception. It did get a little Western at times.  Along with the antics of some competitors, Thomas Sonders trying to beat the heat by washing his face in the middle of the water crossing during the race.  And how wild the Texas 3 step became when the contestant was bare back.  Not to mention some of the competitors interviews were very entertaining.  Craig even borrowed an event from Little Britches rodeo, the flag in the bucket.  And golf balls on parking cones?  Not sure what discipline that represents.  Not wanting to give away the surprises that you will witness in the upcoming shows, I would like to focus on the experience I had.

I have been to a lot of different competitions, but this experience was unique, being that all the competitors were top representatives of their own disciplines.  They were from Oregon, Washington, California, Indiana, Louisiana and of course Texas.  The big difference I noticed about this competition was that it didn’t seem to be as much of a competition, as a bunch of professionals having a good time, doing what they love.  They cheered each other on, and everyone helped each other out in different areas.  I learned more just listening to the conversation over supper than you could imagine.  And as always Jerry Diaz was the consummate entertainer.  He entertained us with his rope expertise every chance he had.  He was only upstaged by his son Nicholas who is an entertainer himself.

The course was set up to allow at least one obstacle for each competitor to show case his own expertise.  Of course Jerry’s was roping, and he held a clinic.  Todd’s was the turn around (spinning).  After which he was riding other’s horses helping them get a better turn around on their horse.  Later he filming two short segments on starting your horse spinning, which should air sometime in November.  The different disciplines represented included, barrel racer, rodeo pickup man, reining trainer, cutting trainer, ranch hands, mounted cowboy action shooters, charro and Ty Murray (he is his own discipline).

In the past I have heard the term “cowboyed on” used in a negative regard toward horse training.  In seeing the bond and trust exhibited between horse and rider, I would be honored to be able to cowboy on a horse as these professional’s do.  This was a race as the name implies, however Craig’s comments were, horsemanship, safety and take care of your horse above all.  The competitors also shared his view on horse care, some purposely taking an obvious deduction to protect their horse.   Craig had a Vet on site at all times, (no MD’s) he said if anyone got hurt the vet would look at them also. 

We arrived back home late Wednesday night.  But the motivation had me up early Thursday morning, riding my own horse and building obstacles in the back yard.  That morning I received a phone call advising me not to unpack.  Todd will be going to Guadalajara in the near future to hold a clinic, and I get to tag along!  Thanks Todd, I am so proud and thanks Taumi for letting me make some of the trips.  For these professionals the saying rings true. “ The road goes on forever, and the party never ends!”     

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