On July 4, 2012, Scamper, a 10-time world champion barrel racer who was the first horse to reach the million-dollar mark in winnings, died.
But his legacy lives on in the form of a 6-year-old stallion, who is Scamper’s biological clone.
He’s owned by Scamper’s longtime rodeo partner, Charmayne James, who says when they retired, she didn’t want that to be the end of the excellent gelding’s story.
She turned to an Austin company Viagen, which cloned Scamper using his living DNA cells for $150,000.
That was six years ago, and resulted in “Clayton," a stallion named after the small town in New Mexico where James grew up and got her start as the million-dollar world champion.
"I feel very fortunate and very blessed to leave the sport to have accomplished everything that I feel I could have accomplished," reflected James, who spends her time running barrel racing schools around the country, raising and training horses.
She is proud to have saved a piece of her revered horse, who as a gelding, could not have reproduced.
It was a loss to the rodeo world that she was unwilling to make, especially given his amazing longevity as a champ.
His clone does share some of his physical attributes.
"This little guy right here, Clayton, he is so much like Scamper in ways in that he's mentally tough, he's got a very alpha personality. He thinks he's boss."
Today she rides “Halo," the daughter of Clayton, and hopes to bring her along enough to get an up-and-coming barrel racer to take her all the way to the world rodeo arena.
She is training her slowly so that the filly learns to love running barrels.
“I sure hope she's a world champion. I'm going to focus on her being a world champion,” she mused.
Although she no longer competes, she says the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo means a lot to her, since it was there that she won her first pro race at the age of 14 in 1984.
If she had not taken the title in San Antonio, her father had threatened to take her home and her career would have been over.
Instead, she went on to win that year’s World Championship, and nine others with Scamper. She later also won in 2004 aboard “Cruiser," proving she could win on a horse other than her childhood teammate.
To learn more about the story of Scamper and the long career of Charmayne James, you can log into www.charmaynejames11.com.