Featured Athlete: Baby the Steer Wrestling Horse
Written by: Ruth Nicolaus< Back to Articles
There’s a Baby making a big splash in the steer wrestling world, and she’s doing it with 5 Star Equine Products, too.
Baby, a nine-year-old quarter horse, is a steer wrestling horse owned by Sam Dixon and ridden mainly by Jacob Talley, Justin Shaffer, and Will Lummus.
The blaze-faced sorrel, off the race track, was purchased by Dixon in 2018. Jacob and Justin rode her in 2018 a bit, and they considered taking her to the National Finals that year, but thought she might not be ready for the big stage
In 2019, Jacob was out with an injury for three months, so Justin, Will and Cody Harmon rode Baby. She responded well, carrying the three men, plus Dixon, to the pay window several times, including big wins in Salinas, Calif. “People started asking where she came from,” Sam said.
Now, in her second full year of rodeo competition, Dixon says she’s won over $130,000 in the last two years.
Equine products are often overlooked for steer wrestling horses, Sam thinks. Some of the steer wrestlers are big men, and it’s not a natural movement for a horse when the wrestler hangs off the side. It can cause horses to have sore backs. “Here we are, hanging off the side of them, and that puts a major strain on their back. Ever since we’ve been using 5 Star pads, we’ve never had a problem.”
Sam had a horse at home with back concerns, and he switched products. “I got a 5 Star pad and since then I’ve never had any back problems” with the horse.
The saddle pads clean up well, he said, and the material, one-hundred percent wool, “wicks the sweat away very well, compared to others.”
He has a few 5 Star saddle pads that he customized with certain neon colors that will be put into use at the 2020 National Finals, but they’re a surprise. “We’re waiting till the Finals to bust them out. When we do, they’ll be very noticeable.”
He and his wife Allison’s kids: daughters Bailey, Hadlie and Reiny, use the boots, pads, and breast collars. “I’ve always believed that 5 Star (products) were above and beyond.”
At the 2019 NFR, Baby came out of nowhere. She was the backup horse for Will, and when things weren’t clicking for him, he decided to ride her in the eighth round. Dixon and the guys were a bit worried; she had been seasoned, but they were concerned that she wasn’t quite ready.
There was no need to worry. Will was3.6 seconds that round to win it, and he rode her in the ninth and tenth rounds, placing in the tenth. Dixon was in a motel room, on night eight, trying to bring up the NFR with limited service, when his phone blew up. “I spent three hours answering phone calls and texts,” he beamed, “before he could download the video to watch her run.”
Baby, whose registered name is Babysgonecountry, lets guys do their job, Sam said. “She’s so good in the box, as far as scoring. She stands still, and lets you do your job and not worry about it.” She’s also versatile. “She fits any situation you’re in. A long score, running them down like at Salinas or Cheyenne. Everybody likes her in the short scores, too, because she’s quick off your hand.
But she comes with an attitude. “She is very much a woman,” Sam said. “She wakes up on the wrong side of the bed many days.” Her quirks can be overlooked. “She is so gritty,” Sam said. “It doesn’t matter what she’s doing, she gives one hundred percent every time.”
Baby loves to run and often plays with the hazing horse. She thinks it’s a contest to be the fastest, Sam said. “She’ll put her ears back and it’s like a race to the back end. It’s pretty fun to watch. If you really get after her, she’ll catch another gear.”
Sam has been a 5 Star customer for as long as he can remember, even before Terry Moore bought the business in 2012. “Since the Moores bought it,” Sam said, “they have gone above and beyond to make sure their stuff is right. They put a lot of time and money into it, and it shows.”