On the Road with Dawn and Clea: Musical Edition

We thought we would share this wonderful story with each of you. I went to school with Courtney’s mom, Janet and I can tell you the apple does not fall far from the tree. Courtney displays the poise, talent and beauty of her mom.

Perhaps we will see Courtney at a barrel race sometime in 2012 entertaining everyone.

We hope you enjoy this story and the voice of Courtney Stewart.

We are sad to inform you that our closing “get your pet spayed or neutered” is not something we can conform to so we always say practice what your preach we must sign off with the following…

Enjoy your life, this ain’t no dress rehearsal and “Sakatini” (said with a strong Japanese warrior accent)

Clea and Dawn
On the Road with Dawn & Clea

“Sakatini” comes from the Wasabi Steak House Friday – January 13, 2012

Kaci Riggs: Charlie 1 Horse Hat Designer

…and that’s just the beginning with this Texas cowgirl. Kaci Riggs has made some of the most popular and stylish hats in the barrel racing (and Western) world, and that’s a combination that’s not always easy to create. Her Charlie 1 Horse hats have popped up everywhere from the National Finals Rodeo to the IBRA Nationals, and every barrel race and roping in between. (And quite a few Best of the Best competitors looked fabulous in them this fall!) 

Kaci’s taken her knowledge of the fashion industry and combined it with her in-the-arena know how to produce some of the finest hats we’ve ever seen. Whether she’s jet-setting across the West or kicking the boys’ butts in the roping pen, Kaci is looking fabulous in one of her designs.   

Tell us about how Charlie 1 Horse started, and how you came aboard to create these hats.
Charlie 1 Horse started in 1978. It was HUGE during Urban Cowboy. Many, many celebrities have worn Charlie 1 Horse; the list is long. It’s so cool to look back at the old stuff. They are TRULY works of art. Richard Petty, Kid Rock and Eddie Montgomery still wear the old ones.

I was hired as an assistant to the Resistol designer, Bob Posey. In spare time, we worked on C1H styles. When I was hired, we just didn’t sell many of the fancy ones. I chose to make a few things I thought I could relate to and wear. I kept the competitive cowgirl in mind, but I also had to consider the business woman who needed to look fabulous at a Cattle Baron’s ball. We started seeing a lot of success within the barrel racing industry and fashion industry.

What is your background in the horse industry?

I grew up in 4-H, junior rodeos, high school, amateur and college rodeo…. I ran barrels when I was little. I rode English for a couple years. I started roping when I was 11; my dad needed a heeler ;-D

My senior year of high school, I qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in the breakaway roping. I placed at Nationals that year in Gillette, Wyo. and received some scholarship money. That helped me continue my education and attend Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX with additional rodeo scholarships. I qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. my senior year of college. Since college, I have always continued to rope. No matter where I was in my career, I have always continued to rope. I feel very fortunate that my career allows me to cross over into many disciplines of the equine industry. I’m passionate about the western lifestyle.

How does that background affect your designs?

My background really helps me to know how important the FUNCTION of a hat is. When you compete, you can NEVER have to worry about losing your hat. It has to fit, be comfortable on your head, stay on during competition and you have to feel good wearing it. It has to fit your personal style and not make you feel awkward…. And it has to be affordable. I believe your horse, your rig, your entry fees have a higher priority than fashion. That is why Charlie 1 Horse is committed to making the most FABULOUS~LOOKING hat at the most affordable price.

When you’re making a hat, what kind of cowgirl are you thinking of as you design it?

I’m thinking of a cowgirl with the most original style. She wants a look that is her OWN. She DOES NOT blend~in. She’s a leader; not a follower – she blazes trails…. She respects the lifestyle, but she likes to put a modern TWIST on her own personal look. Her appearance is important to her and her hat is how she expresses her eccentric personality. I have to make a hat that appeals to a variety of women – I personally prefer the more core-western styles, but I also design some that are completely outlandish. You gotta give ‘em what they want….

So far, what has been your favorite moment of your career?

Gosh, that’s tough… I enjoy each moment. I guess seeing it come full-circle is best. It’s really fun to see C1H published in magazines. I love when girls WIN BIG who wear our hats – I LOVE seeing C1H in win-picts. I love seeing the flag girls at the NFR totally blinged-out wearing our stuff. I love getting tagged in photos on Facebook of little-bitty girls that look SO gritty and tough wearing Charlie 1 Horse – it makes me laugh! I guess the most rewarding part is to see how happy the hats make people.

Tell us about your all-time favorite hat, either one you’ve made or otherwise.

Hahahaaa… that’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite kid! LOL!!! I really love the tonal trimmed felts. I’m not a HUGE fan of flashy…. I love the tacky leopard prints, but they’ve been hard to make. Honestly, my favorites change each season we launch a new line.

What do you do when you aren’t busy making hats or working for Hatco?

I try to spend a lot of time with my family, but I’m sure my family would attest that I ROPE every chance I get! There are a handful of ropings that I like to go to each year. The Open to the World, the Windy Ryon, our Resistol Roping and the USTRC Finals…. I guess I travel a lot and spend a lot of time with friends. I’m all about a road trip…

What is one style tip that every hat-wearing cowgirl should know?

No matter what you think, if it’s creased right, you look GREAT in it. Women are SO UNCOMFORTABLE in hats. It drives me crazy…. They just aren’t used to wearing them, or they don’t wear the right one. I could pick a hat for any woman and I promise she would look great in it! A flattering crease makes all the difference. Don’t EVER just wear it straight out of the box. All brims need to be hand creased.

What is your favorite outfit to rock your Charlie 1 Horse with?

You didn’t really just ask me this…. Every day is a fashion show for me, you know. I’m all about dresses with cowboy boots…. Maybe funky tights? I love my cowgirl suit too!!! (CTC jeans & Barranada shirts) Whatever it is, it CAN’T overpower the hat!!! IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HAT. Sorry, but I just can’t answer this one directly…..

What is next for you and Charlie 1 Horse?

I have a new commitment and dedication to Hatco in product development for Stetson, Resistol, Wrangler, and Dobbs brands. Charlie 1 Horse will always be the most creative and fun line to design and will continue to surprise us each season. You will see a handful of fedoras with western twists (inspired by a fellow cowgirl fashion diva). They are for the cowgirl who wants to cross over into fashion without forgetting her roots ;-D I’m so excited about the new felts we will launch in January at Denver Market. Some can be found at NFR in December with ML Leddy’s.

Charlie 1 Horse has set some pretty high standards…. We will keep moving forward!

Our friends at Rod’s Western Palace in Ohio carry Charlie 1 Horse Hats, as do many fine retailers across the U.S. For a great deal on a Charlie, download and print this coupon! 

On the Road with Dawn and Clea (Catch Up!)

The ladies have much to catch up on after a few months off (“off” sounds like they’ve been slacking, but that’s not the case). Check back throughout the week to get the full story, and for now, here’s part one!

‘Bout damn time huh!?

Seems like forever since we’ve been writing on the blog between getting ready for The Best of the Best and all the stuff after The Best of the Best that we finally finished the following.

We were at Vail Meadows in September as it was Stacy Hartman show, and because she allowed us to piggyback The Best the Best on her show Sept. 30, we definitely wanted to support her other shows. We sold Kisses and Clet’s puppies at Vail Meadows. I cried like a baby! But they all have great homes and we are happy about that!

The next weekend found us at the Hollow in Wooster, Ohio, at the “Wayne County Saddle Club.” Christine Scott and her sidekick Bob put on a great show; if you haven’t been to Wooster for a while by next year the ground should be awesome. They’ve done a lot of work to the ground and put countless hours in to the club grounds. It’s definitely worth going if you like a big outdoor pen. For those of you who used to run at Wooster and run the wee hours of the morning, I think that’s a possibility to have “that-days-gone-by  show” there again. It brought out a lot of different people, and they Calcutta’d which was something you don’t see to often.

Chase Marshall graced us with his presence. During his run going to the first barrel, we were screaming “All the way, all the way!” Sure enough he went all the way to the fence, and he came out laughing. We said, “Have you been schooling your horse to get past the first?” With a chuckle, he said, “Yes…” We say, “You are the first man who ever listened to us!”

Chris and Bob did a great job at the show and had a nice turn out. With all the hard work it should be a great place to show and bring back all the cowboys and cowgirls who used to run there. Keep an eye out for shows there in 2012.

The following day after Wooster we went to Simmons Equestrian Center. It was nice to see some old faces and visit a little with people we don’t see that often. We sold Homer so we delivered him to Lora White. Clea hated that horse LOL Melissa Kelly was there too I loved seeing her. She was asking about The Best of the Best and how that was going. Mari Guido was selling some of our T-shirts to help with The Best of the Best which we thank you so much Mari. It was a really good weekend. No to much traveling and home each night! Sometimes those weekends are great ones.

Next would be The Best of the Best weekend. Oh wait we went to Oklahoma for a weekend. We were headed to Jud Little’s for his barrel bash but with The Best of the Best weekend after being in Oklahoma we decided to leave the horses at home, bypass the Barrel Bash and just head to Oklahoma to pic up our new little gal “Classic High Hope.” We visited with a couple friends, got to see the quarter horse races and then headed on home. It was a good trip and honestly we now say, “Oh hell we can just run down to Oklahoma and pick that horse up!” LOL

Check back tomorrow for more on The Best of the Best! 


Meet the Best of the Best in Ohio: Ashley Hopkinson

Ashley and Zan

Ashley Hopkinson and Zan are one of the few rodeo teams in this race. They’ve made their mark in the amateur associations as well as in the big barrel races, and we’re excited to see what they can do in The Best of the Best in Ohio Charity Barrel Race! Also, we want to send a major thanks out to some of our sponsors: Chick’s Saddlery, The Classy Cowgirl Couture Tack Store, and G4 Ranch! These are not our only sponsors, just a few we’re mentioning today. We’d love it if you’d send them a BIG thank you for their help with this awesome cause! 

Tell us about the horse you’ll be running in The Best of the Best in Ohio Barrel Race. (Name, bloodlines, style, age, owner, any other fun details.)

My horse Zan (Up To Par Joe), is a 12-year-old Quarter Horse out of Mr. Zan Pressto and Show Nifty Reed. I have had him since he was a 3-year-old. Zan was broke out by Rick Cox as a 2-year-old. He definitely has a mare’s personality and picks up on his rider’s mood. His running style is a push style, fast making up his time coming out of the barrels. This year I started to rodeo on Zan, and we have qualified for the Mid States Finals Rodeo in the top 5 as well as currently leading for Rookie of the Year.

What is the biggest race this horse has won?

My biggest win with this horse would be either my run at an NBHA show at WB Ranch this year running a 16.2, or else my run at the IPRA and Mid States Rodeo in Bluffton, Indiana last weekend winning 2nd (my toughest rodeo to place at this year).

What is your biggest win as a barrel racer?

These wins would also be my biggest wins as a barrel racer.

Have you ever run at the WB Ranch before? (If so, what did you think of the facility and the ground, and how did your horses work there?)

I have ran at WB Ranch before (too many times to count). The ground is good. My horse works decent there and has been very consistent this past year. Although, I am not a fan of big pens because of his running style!

Tell us one little-known fact about you or your horse.

One little-known fact about my horse is that he is awesome at pole bending and loves to team pen.

This race is all about charity – What’s the biggest cause you believe in and why?

The biggest cause that I believe in would have to be any type of animal protection or adoption agency. I used to foster dogs for a local agency to get the dogs adopted out to good homes.

Meet the Best of the Best in Ohio

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be introducing you to the Best of the Best in Ohio Charity Barrel Race competitors. They’ll tell us about the horses they’ll be running as well as their own background as a competitor. There are some in this race you might know, and others you’ll be meeting on The Barrel Racing Blog for the very first time!

Stay tuned for the start of this series next week! We’ll be posting two interviews each day so you can meet everyone before the slot race on September 30.

Front of shirt

And now you can really be a part of the race – buy a t-shirt from Dawn Shirey for $15, with all $15 going to United Cerebral Palsy in honor of Miss Marley Rickly, who you met Tuesday on The Barrel Racing Blog! Check out these photos of the shirt, and then email Dawn and Clea at g4horseranch@gmail.com to order your shirt. Remember, all money goes to UCP.

T-shirt Bonus: If you’re seen at a show with one of these shirts on, you could win a $50 gas card courtesy of On the Road with Dawn and Clea!


Back of shirt

Guess Again! The Last of the Invitees to The Best of the Best in Ohio Barrel Race

Well it is 6:30, and you guessed it we have a few more. So the remaining story on how we then numbered the invites that come back is…

We would pull them out of the mail box and number them from top to bottom as the mail lady put them in the mail box. Simple enough…

Thursday no issues – numbered and logged.

Friday no – numbered and logged.

Saturday well… let’s just say we went to Kelly Pitt’s wedding, got all liquored up, and if you have not already seen some pics by the wonderful Drew DeGregorio, you will see we had a great time. When we got home, we decided to get the mail, knowing there were more invited to be numbered and logged – ISSUE!!

As we were fishing them from the mail box, they hit the ground in a heap all over Jeffrey Road. So, there was no way to know whose invites were first and whose was not so ALL that come on Saturday get it! We are running 22 teams and not 15. We will be paying at least one more place and all these details will be listed in the next two weeks on The Barrel Racing Blog!

So here are the last of the teams!

Natalie Davidson and Jeter
Abi Ringer and Eudie
Barbara Jimison and CC
Taylor Schnitkey and Unforgetable Copy
Justin Theado and Andy
Jenna Shirey and Fashion
Mikayla Conklin and Junior