Welcome to the Extreme Cowboy Association   

We are excited about 2013 and the many fun filled and exciting Extreme Cowboy Racing events that are on the schedule.  The formation of EXCA has been an thrilling and challenging adventure! Many people have worked tirelessly to create an association that you will be proud to tell your friends about.


This is the latest issue of your monthly newsletter, The Brave Horse.


You will receive it each month electronically around the middle of the month.  The Brave Horse will be full of interesting stories, EXCA event results, point standings, human interest stories about EXCA members and Tips and Tales from our founder, Craig Cameron.  We encourage you to communicate your suggestions for stories and ideas that will make The Brave Horse fun, better and more informative.  The Brave Horse the best newsletter in the equine world.


Please forward your ideas and suggestions to Frank Turben at




Craig mm photo
Photo By:  Marilyn Merrick

Craig Cameron...

Perseverance - Riding the Tough Ones (continued)

Sage got regular sessions in the round pen.  He wasn't the type of horse you'd ever want to miss working on. I worked with him afoot, and I worked with him from other horses.  I desensitized, sacked out and ponied him on a regular schedule, at least once a day and sometimes three sessions per day.  This horse truly tested my patience more than any horse and most mules could.  The way young Sage bucked with me the first saddling, I knew he was an outlaw; but more importantly, I could see that he was a great athlete.  That athleticism made me determined not to quit on this horse.  I knew if I could get that athletic ability to work positively, instead of negatively, he'd be a great horse.

I had a young apprentice at the time named John Ross.  John was all "cowboy" and was working hard to become a horseman.  I think you needed to be both to deal with Sage.  John and I'd take turns topping him out.  He was the kind of horse that was no fun.  Sage was dangerous.  One of us would snub and the other would ride.  It was tough going.  If you could stay on Sage, your problems weren't over.  He might settle down for a while, and then break in two again.  Nerve-wracking was the way I think John put it.  He was right, and these sessions were always long.

One more thing, getting off Sage was just hard and as dangerous as getting on.  If you've ever been on a horse you couldn't get off of, then you know what I'm talking about.  I'd lean over to get off and away Sage would go again.  We used the rodeo pickup-man style of get-off or the just-jump-and-onto-the-fence-to-save-your-life type exit.  On several occasions, we discussed, where Sage could hear us, of course, getting rid of that S.O.B.  Determination got the best of me, however, and I kept on.

Slowly, Sage improved.  First bridling, first circles, first pasture ride - the slow process began to show some progress.  It seemed Sage's job in life was to make everything hard.  I must say, though, he did have natural talent.  Great natural stoops, turns and spins seemed effortless to Sage.  In spite of the long, dark journey, a small light of hope began to break through.  A year and a half came and went, and Sage became quite the item and topic of conversation at the ranch.  Not totally trustworthy, by any means, Sage, in spite of himself, was getting good.

One afternoon one of the new apprentices spoke about Sage being hard-headed, hard-to-handle, ill-tempered and just plain old mean.  Laughingly, Dalene said, "That sounds like Craig." Everyone howled and got a good laugh, but from that moment on Sage became "Craig."

Throughout the training process, I kept Mark Chestnut, my good "friend," abreast of this interesting horse.  We had many good laughs and, needless to say, Mark pleaded innocent of any prior knowledge about Craig at the time of the sale.  He did, however, say he wanted to ride him for a while.

Craig spent a whole year with Mark.  In that time, Mark never sent even one bill. I kept telling him I'd come and pick up Craig, and he'd just laugh and say, "No." I'd ask how the horse was doing and he'd casually comment, "Oh, he's doing okay." I was never sure if he was riding him or what he was doing.  Finally, I insisted that I'd better come and get him. When I got to his ranch, Mark surprised me with an incredible horsemanship demonstration of roping, cutting and reining skills on the outlaw Craig.  What a great job Mark had done! Craig still snorted when approached, and Mark had to admit that he still couldn't get him shod.  In an unguarded moment, Craig had even bucked off Mark once.  But Craig was the athlete I knew he could be.

I now do colt-breaking, reining, and cutting demonstrations on this amazing horse.  The crowds love him.  Still, he has an unbelievable sense of self-preservation about him.  That's what makes him unique and, in some ways, I think that's what I like about him most.  I always say the toughest horses teach you the most.  It's raw horsemanship and that takes lots of desire, determination and dedication on the part of the horseman.

When last I talked to John Ross, he asked me if Craig was still tough.  I told him, "Yeah, he's still more than a little snorty." 

Taken from: RIDE SMART by Craig Cameron with Kathy Swan. Page 156 & 157. Published by Western Horseman.  

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Bill Cameron
Photo by Andrea Kaus

What qualities make a great EXCA Horse? 

It does not seem to matter what breed of horse it is; I have seen every breed excel in the event including mules.   The judge is looking for a horse/ mule that is comfortable in his surroundings and not stressed by everything going on around him.  They are looking for a horse that operates on a loose rein and a soft touch; and, when a rider puts a leg on them, they move over without hesitation.  I personally like to see a horse in frame or on the bit, which is very important for some of the dressage like maneuvers.   What is most impressive is when a horse approaches a ground obstacle, their attention is focused on the obstacle and not simply running over it when they are told to. It is always impressive to see a horse that takes care of himself a little bit when he goes over a bridge or a jump. 

The judge also rewards horses that depart softly on the correct lead and are ready to move onto the next obstacle.  When you are running a horse aggressively and put him to park or ground tie, to do an obstacle, it is very important that the horse does not move their feet and stands motionless.  In my travels, EXCA horses are among the bravest and well-trained horses in the world.  Many of the top riders in EXCA are champions in many disciplines.  No other association can claim the versatility of the Extreme Cowboy horse and rider. 


          - - -     Bill Cameron


December Winning Article: EXCA Horse Hall of Famer

TATER by Laura Green


Tater; aka: "The Spud", "Fabio", "Ole Tartar Sauce", "Surfer Dude" and "*$@#head"! Tater is a GREAT horse. He is a ten year old, beautiful palomino gelding who thinks he is NOT a gelding, thus the name "The Spud". He is sweet to people, but very protective of his girls, Chloe and Lightnin', around other horses. He does not like small animals or coyotes and will run them off, or worse! It's pretty obvious where he gets the nickname "Fabio"...that Mane! "Ole Tartar Sauce"? I don't know it's just something we call him. "Surfer Dude" is kind of just his attitude... laid back, just chillin'. And, "*$@#head"... well he can be a real...pest! He un-ties other horses standing close to him, he will take the hat off of your head and swing it around, he will grab hold of your rope when you are trying to shake out a loop, he will take the brush out of your hand, he has even picked a cat up by the tail and swung it around! (She wasn't hurt!) We do not know anything about his breeding, but it is obvious he has some Haflinger and Quarter Horse in him. Other breeds have been suggested, such as, Morgan or Welsh Cob, I don't know nor do I care. He is just an awesome horse. There is a palomino, mustang stallion, named Corona, in the Sand Wash Basin, Colorado herd that is a dead ringer for Tater, so I like to think there is a link there!


We got Tater because a ten year old girl was "deathly" afraid of him. I was working at an equestrian center that focuses on riding lessons and training "everyday horses for everyday people". I was the barn manager and assistant to the trainer. Tater came to the center for training when he was about 6 years old. He had been started but the grandfather of the girl wanted him "completely" trained. The trainer and I looked at him and thought, "What a cute guy!" He completed the 90 days beautifully with no issues. He was so smart, laid back and willing. He went well Western, he went well English, he loved to jump, he did great bareback, single and double, he pulled a cart. He was easy going and easy to stop. Everything about him was easy. He was a little spooky at big, new objects, but he wasn't stupid about it, just very cautious. He went home to the little girl and we thought, "How lucky is that kid?" However, about three months later, when a five day camp for riders was about to start at the center, we heard a little girl's voice, over in the crossties, next to this cute palomino saying (more like yelling), "I don't want him!... I won't ride him!...He scares me... I want a different horse!" I immediately looked at my boss, pointed at Tater and said, "MINE!" She brushed me off and told the trainer and I to go figure out what was wrong with him. So we did. We tried everything to get him to "act up". He wouldn't. The little girl's grandfather traded Tater for a 24 year old, very slow, little pony at the end of the week, and Tater became the center's. Once again I told my boss I wanted him and so I bought him for my then nine year old son, Cullen.


Cullen. My cute, smart, a little small for his age, very athletic, not scared of anything, a little cocky, great little rider, the "Marlboro Man", son - a perfect match to Tater. And so it began! So Tater became ours in May of 2010 and the first EXCA race of the season for us was scheduled in late June. Cullen had competed on his pony, Dash the previous year, but Dash is...well Dash! She is the epitome of that pony most everyone knew growing up - ALL ATTITUDE! Riding Tater was a welcome change for Cullen. About a week before the race, I had jumped on Tater bareback, to ride out to where my boss was building some new cross country jumps.   We were just standing there, talking, when something spooked Tater a little, and he did a little sideways jump in place thing. I grabbed his mane, and when I did, he "squirted" forward, with a little upward action, almost a rear. My boss and I looked at each other, as if to say, "Hmmm, could this be what scared that little girl?" So I did it again. And sure enough, Tater went UP and FORWARD, quickly. At the race, there was a bank jump up, with a tall stack of railroad ties as side rails, like a chute. Tater didn't like the look of it, and he was trying to avoid it. I hollered at Cullen, "Grab his mane!" He did and Tater went right up! Hey, I'm all about turning negatives into positives! It didn't take long for Tater to get over his response to someone grabbing his mane. We later talked to the grandfather and he finally admitted that if Tater was going too fast for his granddaughter's comfort (which meant, he might have been jog trotting), she would get scared and grab on to his mane for dear life, fold over his neck, probably squeeze with her legs, and scream! Basically, Cullen's confidence and trust in Tater and Tater's trust in Cullen eliminated that reaction over time.


Tater and Cullen have been together for four and one half years now. Cullen was nine years old when he go t him. He refused to ride in the Young Gun Division for his first two years racing, because he wanted to do more than six obstacles and compete against the people he normally competed against - teenagers! In 2012 we finally talked Cullen into also competing in the Young Gun Division and they won it! They mostly trail ride and race EXCA as well as do some penning and sorting. Though they didn't make the top ten in the Youth Division at their first EXCA World Championship in 2010, Craig chose them as the "Wildcard" entry and Cullen and Tater showed their True Grit and completed a very tough, physical course. They came in eleventh, but they embedded themselves into the hearts of nearly everyone in the stands, I think. Craig loved the pair, shirt tail and mane flying, kind of all over the place, defying gravity, but there was no quit in either one of them. They have finished in the top ten of the Youth Division every year since then.  They now compete in both the Youth and Non-Pro Divisions.


 Everywhere we go, Tater seems to have a fan club. People ask about him if he's not with us, even remembering his name. Much like Fabio, the women swoon over his hair, er, mane. Many times they will stand there asking about him while braiding it. I can't blame them, I play with his mane a lot too! Actually, Tater knows he has an awesome mane, as well. When you turn him out to be with the other horses, he'll toss it up and over - not just straight up, I mean he tosses it like when a longer haired guy comes up out of the water and tosses his hair out of his eyes kind of toss - then Tater lopes out to where his girls are and tosses his mane again and moves them around a little, as if to say, "That's right ladies, The Spud is back!"


Though Tater does not have a long list of titles (yet), other than his 2012 EXCA Young Gun World Champion and now his 2013 EXCA Hall Of Fame title, he is truly a champion. He has a lot of heart, a lot of try, a sense of humor, and he's gorgeous. We are so proud of him, but also humbled that he was chosen as the 2013 EXCA Hall of Fame Inductee. He is proof that any kind of horse can compete and do well in the EXCA. Tater...what a GREAT horse!