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Lieutenant Colonel ropes in world championship on Veterans Day

Veterans Day didn’t start on a good note for Valerie Baker, but the roping enthusiast and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel of La Vernia, Texas, found her luck changing before the day was out.

Waking up early before her APHA World Championship roping classes, Val took a young mare to score cattle for exposure.

“We probably scored the 120th steer and she’d finally had enough of me, so she came up in the box and broke my nose at about 6:38 in the morning,” Val said.

After stopping the bleeding and changing into a clean shirt, Val cowgirled up and prepared for a day full of elite competition.

“I had a few challenges because I couldn’t breathe out of my nose, but I had to carry the piggin’ and goat strings in my mouth,” Val said. “So I made some adjustments—like learning to string from the hip—to be able to breathe and have success.”

Paired with Capital Business, a 1996 bay tobiano gelding by Ris Key Business and out of Smooth Embrace (QH), Val caught her cattle and earned the world championship in Amateur Heading, third in Amateur Tie-Down Roping, fourth in Amateur Heeling, sixth in Amateur Breakaway Roping. The heading win is especially sweet, as it comes after years of eluding the well-decorated horsewoman.

“I’ve had wins with ‘Cappy’ throughout the years in breakaway, goat tying, tie-down calf roping and just about everything else, but I’ve never won the heading, even though he’s one of the best heading horses I’ll ever own,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming and I’ve worked a long time to get this.”

Val stopped in with the Paint Horse Journal for a Cinch Winning Words interview to talk about her special victory.

Val and Cappy are no strangers to the World Show; Val’s been attending the premier Paint event every year she’s been on American soil since 1996.This year’s win, however, was particularly special and gave Val an added reason to celebrate.

“I’m just glad [this win] came on Veterans Day,” she said. “Go Air Force!”

Catch more coverage of the APHA World Championship Show in the January Paint Horse Journal. Subscribe, renew or extend your subscription today!

[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]

About APHA

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their