After the fifth race at this year’s Maryland Million Day, Jessie Flores of Rusted Star Ranch (Berlin) rode down the track aboard her American Quarter Horse This Doc Is Zipped to accept a Touch of Class Award, presented by the Maryland Horse Industry Board. Jessie, an Agriculture Teacher at Worcester Technical High School and Worcester County Future Farmers of America advisor, and her 14-year-old gelding were recognized for winning the 2017 Jeffer’s Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association Ladies 3 National Championship.
“I used to race barrels until I met Rob [Johnston]. He introduced me to mounted shooting and I’ve been hooked ever since!” said Jessie. That was four years ago and since then Flores has moved up the ranks of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association from Level 1 to Level 4. “Every rider no matter what their experience starts at level one,” Flores explained. Each level has a set number of qualified wins to move up to the next level. Flores is just one qualified win away from moving up to Level 5, which is considered the first Pro level.
Jessie, Rob and their three daughters have traveled as far as Mississippi to compete in Mounted Shooting competitions. They ride with the Maryland chapter of the Mason Dixon Deputies and primarily compete in county fairs throughout Maryland. “Next year we hope to travel out West and make it to the Vagas shoot,” Jessie explained. “This really is such a family sport. Our kids come with us and Kristen (20) and Hailey (9) participate too. Hannah (6) is excited to start as well!” She went on to say that children can start shooting once they turn 12 years old.
Though the sport is open to all breeds of horses, Quarter Horses like This Doc Is Zipped are preferred for their quick sprinting ability. “Bullseye” has Zippo Pine Bar lines, which is ironic since those offspring tend to eat up the competition in Western Pleasure Classes, not speed classes. “He was advertised as a beginner shooting horse but turned out to be a lot of trouble at first,” Jessie stated. “He would kick out, buck and more but I just liked him.” Four years later, the two have a great working relationship. “He walks into the ring on the buckle quietly and will start out slow, but as soon as I draw my first pistol, he is off!”
One really can’t understand just how fast these riders are going until you watch Jessie’s national championship run. They finished the course in just over 15 seconds. See her run here below!