November Cover Horse Headed to NFR
The cover of November’s rodeo-themed Western Horseman featured a painting of Cervi Championship Rodeo’s saddle bronc Hello Dolly. The horse was recently voted as a National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc mount by the NFR-qualified bronc riders.
Colorado painter Sophy Brown saw Hello Dolly at the Evergreen, Colorado, rodeo and was attracted to the bay gelding’s expression. Brown painted the horse going “Straight Up,” which is what she titled the painting. In Jennifer Denison’s “Concept to Completion” article on page 142 in the November issue, the artist said she has completed four paintings of the gelding.
“Hello Dolly was full of surprises that day,” says Brown in the article. “I liked that there wasn’t a lot of forward movement during this ride. It was almost as if the horse had been thrown up into the air.”
Surely, the cowboy riding felt the same way.
An 8-year-old gelding, the bronc comes from the Cervi’s Colorado-based breeding program, which was detailed in November’s feature, “Young Bucks.” Hello Dolly is out of the mare China Doll and sired by Magnificent Street. The stallion also sired the Cervi’s champion bronc Party Shop, who bucked his way to a round-four win at the 2010 NFR.
This will be Hello Dolly’s second trip to Las Vegas. In 2010, the gelding traveled to the NFR as a bareback riding mount. This year, the Cervis bucked the horse in saddle bronc riding instead.
“A bucking horse will tell you which event they prefer to be in with their bucking pattern,” says Binion Cervi of Cervi Championship Rodeo. “If the horse fights the halter when the cowboy pulls on the rein used in saddle bronc, then they definitely need to go in the bareback. Generally, the smaller horses go in bareback for the smaller cowboys. The ability and heart of each horse is shown with their bucking pattern.”
Hello Dolly’s heart is obviously in saddle bronc. In 2011, he bucked off top bronc rider Cody DeMoss at the Fort Madison, Iowa, PRCA rodeo. Shortly after, an up-and-coming bronc rider, Clay Schaeffer from Dickinson, North Dakota, rode the gelding to Schaeffer’s highest pointed ride—86.
“He is one that can buck a guy off, but if you stay on his back, you will win,” Cervi says. “It’s hard for a cowboy to safety up, or stay on without spurring. With Cody, he is a veteran rider and spurred away, so Hello Dolly won the match. Two days later young gun Clay spurred him perfect for his ride.”
The horse is sure to give the cowboys a run for their money in Las Vegas, at the 2011 NFR. He won’t be traveling alone—the Cervis are also taking 12 horses and two bulls. The Cervi family has had horses bucking at the NFR since the 1960s, but it never gets old.
“We are always honored and humbled to have our animals voted,” says Cervi. “This is a tough business, and we know it could all change in one year. How can something you love to do and see ever get old if you truly love it? If you don’t appreciate it, then it will go away on its own.”
For more information on the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, including the cowboys and stock that will be competing, visit prorodeo.com. For the complete story on Cervi Championship Rodeo and Sophy Brown’s painting, pick up a November issue of Western Horseman.
The complete NFR Stock List can be seen here.
Read more Arena articles here.
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