By Frank J. Buchman
“Trick riding, or ‘trick and fancy riding,’ is the art of performing dangerous stunts on a galloping horse.”
EquiFest of Kansas at Salina, March 18-19-20, will feature elite trick riding presentations according to Justine Staten.
Executive director of the Kansas Horse Council, Staten said, “Trixie Chicks from Poplarville, Mississippi, will entertain during the ranch rodeos.”
Trixie Chicks Trick Riders LLC, professional performance team. plans halftime shows Friday and Saturday evenings in the Saline County Livestock & Expo Center.
The saying goes, “The history of the American West was written from the back of a horse.”
However Kelsey Gascon, Trixie Chicks promotions director, said, “A few daring horseback riders left the comfort of their saddles. They are rewriting history for themselves as America’s trick riders; that’s us the Trixie Chicks.”
Trick horses are trained to run without being controlled while their riders perform. “Trick riding requires physical and mental courage, athletic agility, keen horsemanship, and a trusted equine teammate,” Gascon said.
Traveling the United States and internationally performing and presenting clinics, Gascon has won many trick riding competitions. She has been champion at the International Super Ride, Calgary Stampede, and the National Finals Rodeo.
Shelby Epperson, Willard, Missouri, works with Gascon in directing the Trixie Chicks performances. Riding horses most of her life; Epperson has been trick riding more than 11 years throughout the world. She has furthered her trick riding abilities training with other performers including Karen Vold of the renowned Vold Rodeo Company.
“There are many stunts and different variations of tricks with each rider having an individual style,” Gascon pointed out.
Some of the tricks are the one-foot stand, shoulder stand, layout fender, vault, death drag, back breaker, and around-the-neck.
In Roman riding, the rider stands atop a pair of horses with one foot on each horse. It is one of the older forms of trick riding performed during the time of the Roman Empire.
“We won’t be doing all of these tricks depending on which Trixie Chicks are at EquiFest,” said Gascon, a Roman rider. “With our busy schedule some of the Trixie Chicks will be entertaining at other venues across the country.”
Trick riding is a high risk sport which can only be learned under the supervision of a professional. “Do not attempt these stunts on your own,” Gascon exclaimed.
“The Trixie Chicks Trick Riders strive to promote the legacy of trick riding with professionalism and integrity,” Gascon said. “That’s right. We do our own stunts. We value safety, horsemanship and showmanship.”
Trick riding is not specific to any breed of horse. However, the Trixie Chicks favor the disposition and conformation of Quarter horse and Paint Horse breeds. Their stocky build can hold a rider’s weight and they excel at running fast speeds in short distances.
“In the dazzling and exhilarating world of trick riding, there is nothing more important than a good horse,” Gascon said. “Trick riding mounts need to be strong, intelligent, and trustworthy.”
A favorite of the Trixie Chicks performers is King, a 2001 American Paint Horse. Owner Kelsey Lauberth describes him as “the horse of many trick riders” because of his steady nature.
“This attention-loving steed enjoys performing, but he always takes care of his riders,” Lauberth. “Whether helping thrill an audience or boost a beginner trick rider’s confidence, King is always up for the task.”
Breyer Animal Creations, model horse manufacturer, has selected Trixie Chicks’ tobiano palomino Paint Horse King as one of their models. Many retailers have sold out of the highly demanded model with glitter turquoise blue stylized Breyer brand on his hip.
It is understood that the real life Trixie Chicks’ King has now been retired from performing.
At the Trixie Chicks trick riding clinics, participants have five hours of training each day. “We cover overall safety, horses, equipment, proper techniques, showmanship, and exceptional horsemanship,” Gascon said.
The Trixie Chicks Trick Riders will only be offering eight public clinics in Missouri and Mississippi this year. “They are first-come-first-serve and we have horses and saddles available for rent if needed,” Gascon said. “We welcome any level of rider from beginner to advanced or professional.”
When not on the road performing or teaching, Gascon manages Gascon Horsemanship’s Training Facility & Academy. “I strive to make a difference in the lives of horses and their owners.” she said.
The Poplarville, Mississippi, entrepreneurship encompasses many branches including training, lessons, trick riding, expos, clinics, retreats, sales, online training, and more. Gascon utilizes her equine, communication, business and education degrees from Missouri State University and William Woods University, Fulton, Missouri.
Representing Gascon Horsemanship, Michael Gascon will also present demonstrations at EquiFest emphasizing “fixing the world’s most problematic horses.”
“If you want to be successful, it’s just that simple,” Kelsey Gascon advised. “Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing and believe in what you are doing.
“The Trixie Chicks look forward to entertaining for you at the EquiFest of Kansas during March in Salina, Kansas.”
Details can be found on Trixie Chicks Trick Riders, Kansas Horse Council and EquiFest of Kansas websites as well as Facebook.
Trixie Chicks Trick Riders will provide halftime entertainment at the Friday and Saturday ranch rodeo performances during the EquiFest of Kansas in Salina March 18-19-20.
Kelsey Gascon and Shelby Epperson are directors and performers for the Trixie Chicks Trick Riders during this year’s EquiFest of Kansas at Salina.
Shelby Epperson, Willard, Missouri, works as a performer and co-director of the Trixie Chicks Trick Riders with more than 11 years entertaining throughout the world.
Representing Gascon Horsemanship’s Training Facility & Academy, Poplarville, Mississippi, Kelsey Gascon is a performer and promotions director for the Trixie Chicks Trick Riders.
King, a tobiano palomino Paint Horse ridden in many Trixie Chicks Trick Riders performances, is a model for Breyer Animal Creations.