Bucking horses: BHBA simultaneously promotes industry and provides refuge for victims of trafficking
“In 2016, we saw a need to add value to an already valuable industry by having the ability to prove pedigrees of bucking horses,” says Steve Stone, co-owner with Kenny Andrews of the Bucking Horse Breeders Association (BHBA).
“Our mission is to record and preserve the pedigrees of the world’s premier bucking horse, while maintaining the integrity and enhancing the value of the breed as well as generating and promoting interest and growth in the bucking horse industry and partnering with organizations, events and associations to help develop programs and incentives to educate members and the general public,” Steve explains.
“We try to generate and promote interest through registered horse ownership, membership, education, sponsorship and involvement,” he adds.
Promoting interest in the industry
One of the ways Steve and Kenny are trying to promote the bucking horse industry is through an event they recently started called the Super Stakes Futurity.
“A horse that has bucked in the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas in December, is considered ‘accredited’ and a gold seal is placed on their papers,” Steve explains. “If a horse has produced offspring that bucked in the NFR, they are also considered ‘accredited’ and a silver seal is placed on their papers.”
He continues, “All of this is proven. Everything we do is 100 percent DNA certified.”
Steve explains for the Super Stakes Futurity, they hold an online sale featuring two-year-old colts with an “accredited” parent.
“When a buyer buys a colt, they are immediately entered into a dummy futurity, which is limited only to the colts sold in the sale, and the person who sold the colt pays the entry fee,” Steve says. “The buyers have those colts for a year, and then they come buck them at the futurity.”
Steve notes the BHBA held their first annual Super Stakes Futurity at the New Year’s Eve Buck and Ball in Gillette this year, where they bucked the colts sold in the sale for six seconds. Over $20,000 was given away to winners.
“We do it to give people who don’t normally have the opportunity a way to buy top-of-the-line genetics like that through a sale,” Steve states.
He also points out they will be holding the Super Stakes Futurity again this year.
“We already had our online sale in February and we will be bucking the colts in December at the New Year’s Eve Buck & Ball in Gillette,” Steve says.
One of the preeminent goals of the BHBA is to provide papers to breeders for their bucking horses, after performing a DNA test.
“Our members send in DNA of their horses, usually mane or tail hair, and the BHBA sends it to a lab at UC Davis for the DNA work,” Steve explains.
“The test tells us the sire and dam of each horse,” he adds. “A lot of bucking horses are bred in the pasture so it’s hard to know for sure who the parents are, and it’s easy to get this kind of information mixed up. But the lab is able to determine the sire and dam and we issue papers on those horses.”
Steve also notes members have a username and password for the BHBA website, which gives them access to every registered bucking horse in the BHBA database.
“Our membership isn’t made up of just stock contractors, although there are a lot of contractors in the BHBA,” Steve explains. “However, anyone who raises bucking horses, even if they aren’t a contractor, can become a member of the association.”
In addition to their work with registered bucking horses, the BHBA has also started a 501©3 nonprofit known as the Freedom Foundation.
“This is something my wife, Jamie, and I have been involved in for many years, but we wanted to introduce it to the rodeo world,” says Steve. “The Freedom Foundation is dedicated to rescuing girls and women who have been involved in sex trafficking.”
“We do a lot of work in Belize, which is a hotbed for human trafficking. We bought some land in Belize and are in the process of building safe houses,” he adds.
Steve notes this safe house also has a pregnancy center where they help young girls through a pregnancy and take care of their babies.
“When we started this work, we didn’t have a place for the girls to stay, but now we will have the safe houses,” Steve points out. “We already have girls waiting for it to be finished. It’s going to be full as soon as it opens.”
Although rescuing girls out of sex trafficking is Steve and Jamie’s main mission, they don’t just limit themselves to that. They also provide assistance to other people who need refuge.
“We had the opportunity to speak at the Legacy of the West Gala during the NFR the past two years, which is where a lot of our funding comes from,” Steve notes. “A lot of our money comes from cowboys and cowgirls in the rodeo world. They are helping us rescue these girls.”
For more information, visit buckinghorsebreeders.com.
Hannah Bugas is the assistant editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.