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Today is January 27, 2020

Born to buck

By Sandra M. Buckley

Born to buck

Bucking horses competing at the Inaugural Sappington Bucking Stock Yearling Futurity. Held in Pontotoc, this is the first and only sanctioned event of its kind in Mississippi where yearlings vie to progress on to the World Champaionships. The 2019 event will be held May 25.

In 2018, a new “first” for Mississippi took hold as the United Bucking Horse Association (UBHA) hosted its first-ever event in the state and is set to host its second this May. The event is a Bucking Stock Yearling Futurity competition, which is part of regional contests held throughout the western United States and Canada, with the top horses going on to Las Vegas, Nevada, to compete in the World Championships, where millions of dollars are awarded each year.

“Last year was the first time a sanctioned event of the UBHA was ever produced east of the Mississippi River,” said Jim Sappington, who along with his wife Marilyn, hosts the event on their property in Pontotoc.

The 2nd Annual Sappington Bucking Stock Yearling Futurity is scheduled for Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. where more than 15 yearlings from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas will be vying for a coveted spot in the World Championships. 

The young horses that participate must be three years old or younger and buck with a dummy instead of a live rider, as they don’t get a live rider until they are four years old. “The goal that day will be to buck all these colts for the first time, keep all animals and contractors safe and establish point earnings for World Championships,” said Sappington, explaining that points accumulate throughout the year with the top 15 horses in world standings going on to compete in Las Vegas.

Because of the high caliber breeding and energy of bucking horses, many compete in World Championships well into their twenties. Over the years, Sappington is proud to have had horses earn world standings, including one “Horse of the Year” as well as multiple ranking in the “Top 5” and “Top 15.” “My animals have been bred for four and five generations to be the very best at what they do,” he added. “Born to buck!” 

Sappington, a lifelong resident of Pontotoc County, currently serves as the national vice president of UBHA. He also spent years competing in rodeos and producing rodeo events across the southeast before taking an active role in UBHA competitions, which was a natural fit for him and also his family.  

“As a husband and wife team, Marilyn and I have made a huge commitment to developing these animals,” he noted. “These horses are so awesome to have around! The Lord has blessed us in a mighty way by allowing us to experience some success. And, all three of our children enjoy the hoopla of the competitions. It’s definitely a family affair.”

The May 25 event is open to the public and free to attend. “We provide a noon meal for everyone and donations can be made to the Hayseed Cowboy Church Youth who will be cooking and serving,” he said. “The donations will go to help fund their annual trip to Cowboy Church Camp in Oklahoma this June. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the colt bucking, good food as well as the always awesome Hayseed Cowboy Church Band playing gospel music as we fellowship in God's goodness. 

Contact Jim Sappington 662-305-5620 or to RSVP for the catered lunch or for more information.

Marilyn and Jim Sappington are members of Pontotoc Electric Power Association.

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