Martin teenager wins first-ever Rypkema filly

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Jacoby Heathershaw is announced as the winner of this year’s Lloyd W. Rypkema Memorial Quarter Horse Award on Jan. 27 during the Black Hills Stock Show/South Dakota Quarter Horse Association horse sale.

Photo courtesy Myron Heathershaw

Persistence really does pay off.

That’s the lesson — and reward — Jacoby Heathershaw received this year when he won the seventh annual Lloyd W. Rypkema Memorial Quarter Horse Award after two years of trying.

Heathershaw, a 15-year-old sophomore at Bennett County High School, was presented the award, a palomino filly, prior to the Black Hills Stock Show/South Dakota Quarter Horse Association horse sale on Jan. 27 at the stock show in Rapid City.

“We were plumb astonished,” Myron Heathershaw, Jacoby’s father, said when the family learned that Jacoby had won this year’s award.

Rypkema, who died in 2010, was a Pennington County commissioner and member of the Rapid City school board besides being a rancher and supporter of the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo and the Central States Fair.

For the past few years, his family has given away a colt (male foal) to a youngster aged 12 to 18 from several area states who pens the best essay on why they want to own the colt and how they would care for it.

This year is the first time they’ve awarded a filly, or female, according to Marv Rypkema, Lloyd Rypkema’s son. The filly is from the bloodline of one of Rypkema’s favorite quarter horses, Devil Cat Dancer, sired by Tough San, out of Sapphire Colonel, granddaughter of Cocoa Bar Two.

Marv Rypkema praised Jacoby Heathershaw as this year’s winner, describing the teen as “very involved, focused & determined.”

“Dad would approve and be proud that his bloodline of horses continues with this young cowboy,” Rypkema wrote in an email to the Journal.

Heathershaw lives on a ranch north of Martin with his parents, Myron and Tara Heathershaw, and his eight siblings. In his essay, Jacoby Heathershaw said he hopes to train his new filly as a calf roping or team roping horse.

An active member of 4-H, FFA and the rodeo circuit, including the Great Plains Indian Rodeo Association, Heathershaw is also a budding cattleman. He has utilized youth cattle loans through Farm Service Agency to grow his herd, and now owns a herd of six cows.

He hopes to have 20 head by the time he graduates from high school; then, he’ll go for a bigger loan to increase his herd to 100 head.

Myron said the whole family is invested in the ranching and rodeo life, and each of his children gets an FSA loan when they turn 10 to start building up their own cattle herd.

Jacoby wants to build his horse herd, as well, Myron said. In addition to using his new filly for rodeo and ranch work, Jacoby hopes to eventually breed her. He’s named her Sugar, a nod to an American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame stud in her pedigree named Sugar Bars.

“It was really great for him,” Myron said of the award.

Marv Rypkema said all of the candidates are “quality young cowboys and cowgirls,” but Jacoby stood out because he reflects how Lloyd Rypkema got his own start. Lloyd Rypkema was “the real deal,” Marv said, as are the Heathershaws, whom he described as “just a terrific family.”

Particularly important to the Rypkema and Hunt families, who select the winner, was Jacoby’s desire to eventually breed Sugar and continue the horse’s bloodline, and by extension, Lloyd Rypkema’s own legacy.

“He was a terrific cowboy, and I’m proud to be his son and very grateful to the stock show to let us continue to honor him and let us do this award,” Marv said.

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