Mike Major Wins Project Cowboy

October 10, 2010 Off By Roberta Johnston

The Top 3: l to rt, Ben Baldus, Mozaun McKibben and Mike Major.

After three days of tough competition involving unbelievable obstacles, screen tests, riding unfamiliar horses and working with yearling American Quarter Horses, the dust settled and three incredible horsemen remained.

Dressed as Frank Sinatra and riding his American Quarter Horse Black Hope Stik without a bridle doing cow work, flying lead changes and sliding stops, Mike Major of Fawler, Colorado, wowed the crowd and the judges and won the inaugural Project Cowboy. Ben Baldus of Electra, Texas, finished second, and Mozaun McKibben of Whitesboro, Texas was third.  

Shanae Major rearranges stars on Black Hope Stik.

Fort Worth, Texas, was rocking October 8-10, as more than 165 contestants competed for the Project Cowboy title and a $10,000 paycheck. Major emerged as the star after enduring three days of grueling competition that tested horsemanship ability, readiness to be in front of a camera, general horse knowledge while under fire and livestock handling skills. Major received $10,000 cash, a Martin trophy saddle and a Gist trophy buckle. He also received an invitation to appear at the 2011 Road To The Horse Legends World Championship and a 2011 Extreme Mustang Makeover event, as well as other major equine events and expos as a clinician.

Mike Major accepts his prizes.

Jointly produced by Tootie Bland Productions, creator of the popular Road to the Horse competitions, and Patti Colbert Enterprises, producer of the Extreme Mustang Makeover events, Project Cowboy was filmed as a reality TV pilot and included many twists and turns.  

“We are honored to have so many great horsemen and so many amazing horses competing in Project Cowboy and give notice to the industry that it’s time for equine competitions to step into the 21st century while also remembering the cowboy code of the past,” says co-producer Patti Colbert. “I think we have started a movement by combining so many elements from the equine world including a clinic atmosphere while testing show arena skills and on-camera appeal without forgetting our audience. We are very encouraged about the future of the horse industry after seeing so many talented people compete in Project Cowboy and the number of fans that came out to support this inaugural event.”

“My mind is still trying to grasp it all,” said Major. “It was an overwhelming experience. I am so happy to have this opportunity, and I still haven’t grasped it all.”

Project Cowboy is the most unique equine-related talent search to ever be held. Never before have horsemen and women from different riding disciplines been able to showcase their talents in this way and display their training ability with their own horse and with unknown horses while competing for more than $10,000 in cash and prizes. Project Cowboy is sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association, Western Horseman Magazine, Gist Silversmiths and Martin Saddlery. Visit www.projectcowboy.net for more information.