Karl Stressman can’t turn down a challenge. Coming out of retirement, the 71-year-old accepted the position as CEO of the American Quarter Horse Association, the […]
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Scoop O Petty, “Tag”, took home AQHA Horse of the Year at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Perry, Georgia. The 21-year-old gelding has been the main mount for Craig Sciba for the past ten years. “We bought him when I was 4.” said Craig, from Victoria, Texas. “My grandma found him; and I’ve ridden him ever since. I started roping on him when I was young, and he’s just gotten better; he listens to everything I ask.
“It’s great to have a horse that will do the same thing every time; he’s reliable. I’ve never had a run that was messed up because of Tag. You don’t recognize a horse when he does something good, it’s when they are bad that you recognize them.”
Tag received the award because he accumulated the most points during the NJH Finals and his owner, Craig, was an active youth member of AQHA. His winnings included a saddle, and a $750 check presented by AQHA. Tag was nominated through the National High School portal prior to the Finals. Craig’s membership as a youth member of AQHA allows access to more than $500,000 in scholarships, an annual subscription to the AQHA Journal, and the ability to compete in the AQHA shows. As part of the membership drive, the annual cost of this is $19.
Craig and Tag also won the Boys All Around Champion, the World Champion Ribbon Team – roping for his sister, Bella the World Champion Chute Dogger and reserve champion goat tier. “It’s hard to say that we are world champions – I don’t realize we were the best in the world – it doesn’t feel right, there’s other kids there equally as talented – I just roped better that week.”
Craig is preparing for the next finals, the Texas Youth Rodeo Association finals. He ropes on Tag three or four times a week, and then rides him one other day. The other two days, Tag gets to be a horse in a 10-acre pasture. Even at his age, Tag is not on any supplements and has only been injected once. “My uncle is a vet, and he says Tag is sound and doing great.” If he needs it, Craig has access to use his sister’s horse (Quanah – a registered quarter horse) and the family has a new horse that Craig is working on. “She’s really good and energetic, but she hasn’t been roped on so it’s been a lot of work. It makes me appreciate Tag.”
“It was a long shot to get All Around,” admitted the 14-year-old. “I was entered in three events and there were guys there in five and six events.” His game plan was doing the best he could. Going into the short go, he knew he needed to do his job in order to get the All-Around title. “I go at it the same way as I do any other round – make the run. In Ribbons we had to be 12 and we were a 6.3. I didn’t safety up at all. If I start thinking about all that then things go wrong.” His dad, Clay, is his main coach in the practice pen.
Craig is moving into the high school competition next year and his goals for the future are simple. “Take one step at a time; high school next and probably college rodeo.”