Abilene Spectacular are already landing their first victories of the New Year in Abilene, Texas. During the 4-Year-Old Open finals on Jan. 7, Dual Smart Kitty and Clay Johnson bested the field to take home the Championship.While some people may still be gearing up for the 2014 show season, cutters at the
As the seventh draw in the second of two sets, Johnson and the young mare (Dual Smart Rey x Cats Peptolena x High Brow Cat) rode into the herd and marked a 222.5 for the title. They marked a 219 in the first go and a 218.5 in the second go for a composite score of 437.5, just two points shy of the go-round average leader. The duo seems to be on the verge of a hot streak, as they recently took the mid-December National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Championship. Their win in Abilene earned them a hefty paycheck worth $20,000.
“She was real smart,” Johnson said of Dual Smart Kitty, who is owned by Rusty and Shelly Simpson, of Nemo, Texas. “She doesn’t hardly take any work at all, really. We cut three really good cows, and she handled it good. As long as I do my part, she does her part every time.”
The 5/6-Year-Old Open finals held one set of cattle for 16 horse-and-rider teams. Competitive scores were marked early on in the draw, and it was clear the battle for the title wasn’t going to be an easy one. Riding into the show pen last, Michael Cooper and JJS Catless Merada laid down a run to mark a 222.5 to win the Championship.
“That horse tried his guts out,” Cooper said. “It was just one of those deals where it just worked. You couldn’t really be safe because there was too many good scores, so you just had to come and kind of go for it.”
Cooper, of Weatherford, Texas, has had his share of luck at the Abilene Spectacular before. In 2012, he took the 4-Year-Old Open Championship with Jae Bar One Time. This time, aboard JJS Catless Merada (Cats Merada x Madelena x Smart Little Lena), owned by Rose Valley Ranch, of Weatherford, he earned $15,000 for his 5/6-Year-Old Open title.
The show continues through Sunday, Jan. 12. Subscribe to Quarter Horse News for full coverage of the Abilene Spectacular and other major events.