When a shot at a one-day rodeo paying out $2 million knocks, Talmadge Green, Sandy Hook, Miss., answers. For Green, a $2 million earner in barrel racing and a 42-year veteran of the sport, winning The American barrel racing qualifier held in Jackson, Miss., at the Kirk Fordice Equine Center on Nov. 23 put him one step closer to achieving a dream during a year wrought with personal tragedy. Green lost his best friend and fiancé on Sept. 16, with the untimely passing of Megan Stockstill following the birth of their son Sterling.
Green jockeyed 2012 Barrel Futurities of America Futurity champion RJL High Intedsity, owned by Dino and Joan Chouest of Cut Off, La., to the victory topping the 108-entry field with a silky-smooth 14.185-second tour of the cloverleaf pattern.
Talmadge Green and his baby boy Sterling flanked by family at the 2013 NBHA Open World.
“I wasn’t going to run the yellow horse that I won the NBHA World on (DTF Way Ta Fire). He’s young and we’re giving him a break before the futurity at Oklahoma City. Allie Chouest has four open horses and she was going to run Briscoscangetit and Buddy Rose so I rode Sixums Lady Luck and RJL High Intedsity,” said Green of how the sorrel standout came to get the call in Jackson.
“He’s a nice, nice horse. He let me handle him and stand him up when I was a worried that the ground might be a little slick. I let him step off the third just a touch because I’d seen some horses try to come straight back that had a little trouble. I just tried to not get in his way after the first and second because he ran right to his points and I was thinking that we were about where we needed to be to get qualified. He ran three 14.1s over the weekend and won the three-run average by over four tenths. I’m very fortunate with the Chouest family and my other clients to have some of the best open horses in the country here.”
Jackson was the fourth barrel racing qualifier of five slated for The American semifinals. The final stop will be in Buckeye, Ariz., on Jan. 19 in conjunction with the PacWest race where Green hopes to qualify one additional horse and his protégés Max and Allie Chouest.
“If we make it to Arlington I’d like to haul four or five horses there and see what the setup is and then chose which ones fit the conditions the best,” said Green. “We’re going to go to Arizona and shoot at it; this deal’s good for the sport.”
Among the other top finishers in Jackson who will join Green at the semifinals in Mesquite, Texas on Feb. 22-23, 2014, was No. 2 qualifier Kebo Almond. Almond jockeyed HM Cornerstone, the horse he rode to the 2011 NBHA Open World Championship and the 2011 BFA World Futurity Championship. Almond, Green and 2012 NBHA Open World Champion Clint Sherlin join Mark Bugni, who qualified in Lincoln, Neb., in October, as the four male riders thus far advancing to Mesquite.
Robyn Herring, Huntington, Texas, took third riding her stallion Firewaterontherocks ( “Happy”), while Jessi Eagleberger, Stringtown, Okla., took fourth on Breezin Flit Bar. Tammy Fischer, Ledbetter, Texas, rounded out the top five on MP Quick Money.
The top finishers from each event after the semifinals will advance to RFD-TV's The American presented by Polaris Ranger on March 2, 2014 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The American is the richest one-day rodeo in history, with a payout of $2 million.