Barrel Horse — BHN0809
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Garry and Debbie Steinhoff and their daughters Tanya, Tyrney and Taylor of Team Steinhoff, along with Danny and Darla Ray of Victory Farms, have joined forces to form the Wild Shot Venture Partnership and are pleased to announce the cloning of the greatest barrel horse in the last 10 years—Nate Shilabar, barrel racing’s beloved “Hotshot.”

“Wildshot” made his earthly debut in Canyon, Texas, on April 14, after nearly two years of planning and waiting. He will head to a new home in Oklahoma in July.

Tissue samples were collected in January 2007, and the Austin, Texas-based ViaGen staff was extremely pleased with the quality of samples, as Hotshot was one of the youngest horses that they had collected at the time.

However, the closing of the slaughter plants in the United States put the process on hold. Since the ovaries of slaughtered mares are used in the cloning process, ViaGen had to move its laboratories to Canada, where they had access to these slaughter by-products.

The buckskin colt is almost a spitting image of the original Hotshot, with just a small thumbprint of white on his forehead.

“He’s darker than Hotshot,” Garry Steinhoff says. “You know how some colors of horses fade with age, but other than that, he looks and acts just like Hotshot.” It’s no secret that Hotshot adores his Steinhoff girls and simply tolerates others in his presence.

“We took the girls to Canyon to see the clone,” Steinhoff says. “They go in the stall, and he lets them love and rub all over him. I go in there, and he acts like he wants to run me over. Hotshot’s kind of the same way. He loves his girls.” Initially, the Steinhoffs looked into the cloning process after they lost the great Dial A Red Rooster in June 2005.

“It’s something that I’ve kicked around since we lost Rooster,” Steinhoff says. “I called and tried to get it done with him, but it wasn’t a possibility at the time.” The Steinhoffs feel that bringing the Rays on board was a smart business move, especially since the focus of the venture was to obtain a stallion for breeding.

“The main reason I thought Danny would be a good partner is for his knowledge and expertise in the breeding business,” Steinhoff says.

“We’re familiar with his business, with Tanya having ridden Designer Red a couple of years ago. We don’t have the facilities for the breeding, and he’s already set up with the facilities, the expertise, the knowledge and advertising.” After much deliberation, the decision was made to clone one of the toughest barrel horses of the past decade.

“Garry and I discussed the religious as well as business ramifications of this deal,” Danny Ray says. “We do feel like it will be fairly common within in the next five years. Look at fresh cooled semen, frozen semen, embryo transfer and all these things that weren’t available years ago. Technology is just swirling. It’s not just in our world. It’s in a lot of other disciplines, and I don’t want to be left behind and say ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’.” Both Ray and Steinhoff visited with their pastors before making a final decision.

“I had to run it by my preacher first and think long and hard about it,” Steinhoff says. “It’s just modern technology. It’s really no different than shipped semen or embryo transfer. I feel it’s just a step up.” Debbie Steinhoff agrees.

“We thought long and hard before we did this,” she says. “It’s just one of those things you have to ask yourself, ‘How could you not?’” Hotshot, a 1987 gelding by Shilabar Gold out Talent Lady, by Roll A Coin, has won more than $1 million in his barrel racing career, and he’s not done running yet. More than half of that total was earned at major events tracked through Equi-Stat, the statistical division of Cowboy Publishing Group.

The plucky buckskin burst on to the scene in 1997 with WPRA Rookie-of-the-Year Peyton Raney. After setting an NFR earnings’ record of $126,934 en route to Janet Stover’s 2001 WPRA World Championship, Hotshot was sold to the Steinhoff family.

Under the Steinhoffs, Hotshot has won numerous major barrel races across the country from the NBHA Finals in Augusta, Ga., to the American West Finals in Reno, Nev. Many of them, like the Mega, NBHA Youth and Open Worlds, and Josey Jr. World, he’s won more than once.

Ultimately, Wildshot will stand at Ray’s Victory Farms in Ada, Okla. As for whether or not the clone will be ridden and trained for barrel racing, Garry Steinhoff quips, “We’ve got to halter break him first!”