Canadian- Bred Named AQHA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year

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Photo courtesy of PRCA

By Lane Karney for The American Quarter Horse Journal 

The Canadian contingent of steer wrestlers has long been a force in professional rodeo, but it’s their horsepower that reigns over the Horse of the Year history books. Two-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion steer wrestler Lee Graves’ Rocks Eye Opener, aka “Jesse,” won the award in 2007 and 2009. The Cassidy family’s famous RTR Little Willy, or “Willy,” took top honors in 2008. And Curtis Cassidy’s Dashin Haze, “Tyson,” struck for three consecutive titles from 2020-2022. Again in 2023, the Nutrena Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, presented by AQHA, goes north of the border, this time recognizing two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo bulldogger Tanner Milan’s Eds Famous Bar, “Eddie,” as the best in the business.

“I don’t know what the hell it is in the water, but I think because the horses up here are started (in the steer wrestling) in the wintertime in smaller indoor arenas, it takes a tough horse to keep trying and running that hard. You go through so many that don’t make it, but these tough ones, like Willy, Tyson and Eddie, are gritty and tough,” says Tanner, who calls Cochrane, Alberta, home. “When they keep trying that hard, then you take them to the bigger arenas, I think it helps them.”

Eddie is a 2013 brown gelding by EMW Noah Famous One and out of Hortons Kim Bar by Mr Horton. He was bred by Janet Patriquin of New Sarepta, Alberta.

Tanner’s journey with Eddie started early in the spring of 2020, when he first tried the “reject” barrel-racing-turned-heading-horse in a third event.

“They had run barrels on him, and (Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer and Calgary Stampede steer wrestling champion) Lee Laskosky was heading on him. He was too strong to head on, and Jordan Holland had probably run 20-25 (bulldogging) steers on him. When COVID hit and Houston got cancelled in 2020, we went to Arizona, hoping the California rodeos were still going to happen. They had Eddie there, and after the first steer I ran on him, I knew I had to own him,” Tanner says.

Although Tanner felt that Eddie was special from the start, getting to the point of being voted the Horse of the Year by the top 25 steer wrestlers in the world wasn’t without some trials and tribulations. 

“He started out really good and was going great. I think I overmounted him a little early, and he got a little hot in the box. It was a long process of a lot of slow work on that front, but as far as bulldogging went, from scoring and reading the cow in the field, he has been a natural. There are still times when his wires will cross, and he’ll jump out of the box. But you ride him back in, and he’s back to normal,” Tanner says. “Eddie scores outstanding and runs a nice pattern. He really puts you behind the horns and tries so hard every time.”

Eddie played a significant role in 2023 steer wrestling accolades at the highest level, including carrying world No. 1 Dalton Massey to the win at RodeoHouston and the likes of Cassidy, 2023 NFR first-timer Stephen Culling, Mike McGinn, J. D. Struxness and Tanner all to the pay window. Dalton and Stephen both plan to ride Eddie at this year’s NFR. Tanner will be on hand for the hazing duties and also to accept Eddie’s Nutrena Horse of the Year, presented by AQHA, award.

“It’s pretty awesome. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to happen this soon. Everybody who rode him this year was a big part of it. A big thank you to Curtis for the hazing horse, ‘Mission,’ that’s beside him. Curtis sent me the hazing horse, and that’s huge. The haze horse has to run as hard or harder than the bulldogging horse. He’s the quarterback of the whole situation to let the bulldogging horse shine,” Tanner says. “I just want to thank everybody who rode Eddie and voted for Eddie.”

Cassidy’s Dashin Haze was voted this year’s reserve steer wrestling horse of the year. Clayton Hass’ Be Dun By Three, or “Benz,” who finished reserve in 2020, 2021 and 2022, finished third in the 2023 voting.

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