The Ogden Connection
Looking for that National Finals Rodeo-caliber horse? You might want to give Randy and Lisa Ogden a call.
Former National Finals Rodeo qualifier Lisa Ogden and her husband Randy have a knack for finding and making rodeo superstars.
Among the horses that have gone through their hands are Shelley Murphy’s Mighty Classy Flight, Whitney Baker’s Mr Slick Bug and Kelly Maben’s Mystic Angela. All three have their riders among the Top 21 in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Standings.
The Gail, Texas, trainers also encouraged Terra Bynum to purchase Hempen Streak, whom they rode for a few weeks, and raised her backup Cadillac N Karats.
“Ninety percent of our horses come off the track or are straight race bred,” says Lisa Ogden. “We try to pick bloodlines that we like and have had success with in the past.”
Even though they like the running breds, they don’t want their horses built like string beans. They want them on the shorter side, with solid frames and low hocks, something built to handle the athletic demands of the sport but stay sound through the challenges of the rodeo road.
Here, Lisa discusses how she and Randy found some of their superstars and the roles they had in their development.
Mighty Classy Flight
They say nothing impacts a horse more than the first 30 days of its training. When Shelley Murphy set out to reform Mighty Classy Flight (“Flick”) he at least had solid foundation with which she could work.
The Ogdens purchased Flick, whom they called “JoJo,” from Taylor Hodges of Brownfield, Texas, late in his 3-year-old year. Bred to be a barrel racing superstar, Flick, a 1995 model, is by a former Top 50 barrel horse sire Freedom Flyer out of the Three Ohs Wild mare Mighty Oh. Three Ohs Wild is also the dam sire of Ruth Haislip’s great NFR mare Go Royal Scarlett. Flick had run on the track, earning a speed index of 79 at 330 yards, but never broke his maiden.
“From the beginning he had an extra amount of rate and wanted to turn,” recalls Lisa. “He was also a little lazy. He was still pretty green but we took him to (the Old Fort Days Futurity in) Fort Smith. Randy roped on him a little too and used him a lot. He was generally a ranch horse.”
In the fall of his futurity year, the Ogdens sold Flick to the Groen family of New Mexico.
“They came and tried a bunch of horses,” Lisa remembers. “He was really green, but he was really gentle and would do whatever you wanted. The little girl took him to some playdays and won some saddles on him and the dad roped on him.”
The Ogdens lost track of Flick until Shelley Murphy rode up to Maben at the Fort Worth Stock Show.
“She said to Kelly, ‘I think your dad started my horse,’” says Lisa. “We met Shelley at Cheyenne this year. He (Flick) still looks the same and has that same look in his eye. Shelley gets all the credit for making him what he is, doing all the hauling and such, but he did have a foundation on him.”
Ironically, Murphy put Flick into the same regime that the Ogden’s first used—a steady diet of roping, ranch work and barrel training.
Whatever the circumstances that made Flick for sale, Murphy’s glad she has him now.
“They were using him as a pony horse on the track when I got him,” Murphy says. “I figured I could rope on him if I didn’t get him figured out as a barrel horse, because I love to rope. He was really frustrating, but we finally got it figured out. I’m lucky I got him.”
Mr Slick Bug
The same day the Ogdens bought Mighty Classy Flight, they picked up Mr Slick Bug (“Beetle Bug”) too. An unraced 1996 gelding by One Slick One, Beetle Bug was out of the Bugs Alive In 75 mare, Bugs Along. Ogden had put One Slick One on the leading sires list with her Speedhorse Futurity Champion One Slick One Two and Bugs Alive In 75 is the leading barrel horse broodmare sire of all time.
“I wanted him so badly because he was a One Slick One,” laughs Lisa. “That’s one of my favorite bloodlines.”
Even though he had more training time being a year younger than Flick, Beetle Bug ran pretty green during his futurity year too.
“He was just out at Fort Smith,” she recalls. “He placed at the futurity in Clovis, N.M., that they used to have with their sale. He just didn’t do that much at that time. He just wasn’t running like he could.”
Holly Brooks, Welch, Texas, purchased Beetle Bug when he was 5. She ran him in the High Plains junior rodeos, won on him in college and filled her WPRA permit on him before deciding to sell him to concentrate on school.
Whitney Baker, Stephenville, Texas, purchased Beetle Bug and placed in the first go of the 2007 Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo in Odessa, Texas—their very first rodeo run.
“It took her some time to get with him,” says Lisa, “but she rides him really well now. They’re a team. She came really close to making it this year, but had some hit barrels that hurt her late in the year. There is no doubt in my mind that she’ll make it (to the NFR) on him.”
Baker’s trek to the 2008 NFR took a big detour in January when Beetle Bug was diagnosed with Equine Protozoa Myeloencephalitis (EPM). After a four-month layoff for treatment, Beetle Bug was back in time for the summer run.
“We won $34,000 in two months,” says Baker. “He’s been a wonderful gift. Randy and Lisa did an excellent job with him. He’s very solid. He’s good indoors, but he’s absolutely wicked outdoors. He’s just amazing.”
Baker stills calls the Ogdens from time to time for tuning advice.
“Those two are extraordinary trainers and wonderful people,” she adds.
Beetle Bug and Flick not only came from the same place, but the two look almost identical.
“Shelley and I were up in San Antonio at the same time and I kept looking over at her,” Baker recalls. “I finally said you have my horse. Flick’s got a little more speed than Beetle Bug, but they work the same. If you didn’t know it, you would think they’re twins.”
It’s hard to believe that one prospective buyer told the Odgens that Mystic Angela (“Bubba”) might be “a good junior high horse.” It must have insulted the multiple NFR go-round winner and runner of the fastest time in 2006, because he came alive in the pro rodeo arena.
The Ogdens bought Bubba, a 1993 gelding by Mystic Eye out of Angela Channing by Extra Easy, off the track as a 2-year-old. He had eight outs on the track, placing second twice. He earned his speed index of 71 at 350 yards.
“We liked the way he looked—short, heavy and low hocked. He switched his leads really well. He looked like he’d make a barrel horse,” recalls Lisa.
Bubba went to the futurities, but wasn’t really mature enough. He did come back and placed in the Old Fort Days Super Derby, Randy and Lisa’s daughter, Cassidy (Carpenter), ran him the Josey Jr World, and Lisa hauled him as a backup horse in 1998 when she made the NFR.
“I remember Burlington, Colo., in 1998 was his first rodeo money,” says Lisa. “It was a big old run.”
Bubba was originally trained to the right and ran that direction for a year.
“He was always stiff to the left,” she says. “We tried to round him up a bit, but he always seemed to roll back.”
Lisa used Bubba as her grand entry horse at the NFR, but after her good mare Easy Gold Director (“Juice”) expressed her dislike of the Thomas and Mack, Lisa gave Bubba a try.
“I rode him in the grand entry every night,” she remembers. “You make a sharp turn to the right and just run all out. I never got a chance to get in there to work the pattern, so I didn’t know what he was going to do running to the left. He handled that OK, but he discovered the camera pit on what was everyone else’s first barrel.”
After the Ogdens decided to sell Bubba, they gave him to Randy’s daughter Kelly Maben to ride. What was supposed to give the gelding some exposure turned into a dream come true for Maben, who was just breakaway roping until she climbed aboard.
Maben and Bubba came close to winning their first world title in 2006 after winning six of the 10 rounds at the NFR. Making her qualifications more impressive is the fact that Maben rarely attends more than 30 rodeos a year because of her dedication to her teaching job at Spur Elementary and her and husband Tye’s daughter Macy.
Ever since she was a little girl, Terra Bynum has found her winning mounts from and through the Ogdens. Bynum’s first futurity champion Moonlight In Paris (“Vegas”) was purchased for her by Randy at a horse sale in Roswell, N.M. Cadillac N Karats (“Cadillac”) was raised by the Ogdens and sold to Bynum as a 2-year-old. And then there’s Hempen Streak (“Maverick”).
Lisa had decided to breed Juice and was discussing stallions with Blaine Todd, Lamesa, Texas. Lisa and Todd ended up breeding their mares to First Down Streak, who they decided looked like a barrel horse.
Sadly, Lisa lost Juice while she was in foal, but Todd ended up with two colts by First Down Streak. One of those colts, out of the Cashtaking mare Pass Em Sugar Cash, was Maverick, who hit the ground in 2000.
“He broke him and took him to a few team ropings,” Lisa explains. “I rode him a few weeks at the house and took him around the pattern a little.”
Shortly afterwards Todd decided to sell Maverick and Lisa told Bynum she needed to go look at him. Bynum was skeptical, but she did as she was told.
“I looked at his papers with Streakin Six and First Down Dash, I was expecting this big old horse that looked like he could run barrels,” laughs Bynum. “I go and here’s this scrawny little 14.2 thing with a rubbed out mane. He was ugly. I called Randy and Lisa and they said just ride him, because he’s got some action to him. So I rode him and he was a little skitzo—well, he’s still a little skitzo. I called them again, and ended up taking him home.”
“She kept calling and asking, ‘Are you sure this is what we should do?’” Lisa laughs. “She did all the work with him. I never dreamed that he could run like he can. He can fly, but he always wanted to turn.”
Bynum says Maverick was no daisy to train. She remembers one day telling Randy that she already had him in bit with shanks and he was working well.
“He told me in three days I’d be back in the snaffle,” Bynum laughs. “Three days later I’m digging for a snaffle to put on him!
“It’s always been kind of like a parent-child relationship with them. My brother used to go over and rope with Randy too. It was like whether they liked it or not, they had to take us in.
“I’m always calling them for help. At my first NFR, Kelly and I were riding at practice and she called her dad. I said, ‘hey let me talk to him too!’ They’ve helped me so much. I’m an independent person and try to figure things out myself, but I always need that reassurance.”
Bynum also joked that she can only win on horses that they find for her. Ironically, her first independent purchase was a mare by the name of Sail On Lena. Bynum never could get the mare to fire for her, but she’s taking Stephanie Fryer to the NFR.
“Randy and I believe that we try to pick a colt that has the looks and the breeding to be a nice horse in the future,” says Lisa. “They don't all make barrel horses, but we have had pretty good luck by just giving them the basic foundation and then letting them have their time and individual style.
“A good rodeo horse doesn’t have to be a good futurity horse. If we see that a colt is just immature, but still shows signs of wanting to run the barrels, we just give them a little more time. At that time we usually don't do much barrel training, and Randy will just use them for a ranch horse for a little while.”
The Ogdens also credit their Purina feeding program for keeping everything healthy and performing well. They started feeding Purina in 1998 and believe it has made a difference in their program.
They’re very proud of what people have been able to do with the horses they trained or discovered, but are quick to give their riders credit for taking those horses to the next level.
Says Lisa, “Randy and I just want to wish everyone luck on the rodeo trail.”