Page Bowman, 17, and Athena Mad Man marked a “lucky” score to win the $5,000 Novice/Non-Pro finals at the Eastern National Championships, presented by 6666 Ranch. The pair finished with a 221 to win the 83-entry division and take home $4,765. Earlier this week, in Jackson, Miss., Bowman tied for Reserve in the $15,000 Novice/Non-Pro class riding Roamin Cat.
The first time they showed together, Bowman and the talented Athena Mad Man marked a 221 in the first round of the Rios of Mercedes Amateur division at the 2012 NCHA Futurity.
That’s our lucky number,” Bowman said with a smile. “I’ve done really well on him and his earnings are from my showing. He’s just been a really good boy.”
This latest win kicked the horse’s earnings over the $80,000 mark. Athena Mad Man belongs to Bowman’s parents, Mike and Libby. The Bowman family purchased the horse as a 3-year-old. According to Bowman, at that point, the gelding still had quite a bit of growing to do.
“He was just a tiny, little guy,” she said. “Now, he’s like a huge tank – he’s just gigantic. But he’s so athletic and is so smart about a cow. He can run and stop a cow. You feel like you might be ready to lose a cow, but then he zips right back over with her.”
Athena Mad Man (Athena Puddy Cat x Puppy Breath x Smart N Slick) has the right kind of pedigree. His sire, the late Athena Puddy Cat, won $283,000 during his career. His foals have earned close to a million dollars. His dam, Puppy Breath, has two performing offspring.
Athena Mad Man and Bowman have made the finals at several limited-age events, including the NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Summer Spectacular. In 2014, they won the Non-Pro Classic and Amateur Classic divisions at the Augusta Futurity. Those accomplishments helped push Bowman out of the Amateur division. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Bowman won the Non-Pro Derby at last year’s NCHA Summer Spectacular on Big Daddys CD, a horse by High Brow CD and out of Snazzy Easter Bunny.
“Being able to prove myself in the Non-Pro was really special,” Bowman said. “Having a Non-Pro win under my belt helped because I was out of the Amateur this year. It gave me confidence.”
Bowman, Simpsonville, Ky., has been riding and showing cutting horses for as long as she can remember. This is her second Eastern Nationals Champion title. She won the 2010 Junior Youth aboard Snazzy Easter Bunny. The Eastern Nationals, she said, is one of her favorite shows.
“It’s a great atmosphere and everyone has fun,” Bowman said. “For the weekend cutters, it’s a big show, the ground is great and the cows are good. It’s just a nice experience.”
Reserve in the $5,000 Novice/Non-Pro class was claimed by Alexis Stephas, Chattanooga, Tenn., riding Once You Go Black (Hydrive Cat x RG Sugar Lena x Poco San Lena). They marked a 218. The day before, the pair finished first in the $15,000 Novice/Non-Pro.