Butch Shaver, 74, a real estate businessman based in Parkersburg, W. Va., a cancer survivor and a longtime cutting horse owner, had owned champions before. He had never guided one to a big win in the arena on his own until his $15,000 Amateur victory Friday aboard 11-year-old mare Lasso My Colors.
Shaver, whose actual first name is Holmes, has owned cutting horses since the 1970s and he served as executive director of the National Reining Horse Association several years during the 1980s. He viewed Friday’s win in Jackson, Miss., with a 217 on “Lasso” (Color Me Smart [PT] x Haidas Little Lass x Haidas Little Pep) as his top achievement as a rider.
Asked how it felt to edge a pack of tri-reserve champions who all posted 216 scores, Shavers said, “I can’t even begin to tell you. It feels like a dream.”
Securing his all-time top check, $4,761 seemed insignificant to a man given only a slight chance at surviving, after he was diagnosed with throat cancer about seven years ago. He’s continued working, spending time with his wife, Donna, competing as a cutter and watching his son, Steve Shaver, compete as a race car driver while continuing to receive treatments and stop in for occassional check-ups at a New York City clinic between now and then.
Shaver made a point of thanking his great mare, a prior American Paint Horse Association Junior Cutting World Champion with trainer Craig Morris, plus herd helpers including Casey Moore, who also trains for him, Colt Moore, Ted Sokol and Billy Kid.
Dylan Brewer, Weatherford, Texas, and Zacks Tiana Doc, Paul Coleman, De Kalb, Texas, and Triple Ya Bet, and Bradley Newman, Rockledge, Fla., aboard Haidas Lil Shorty, all tied for second with 216s.