Scott Weis and Rubys CD got the action started in the Great American Insurance National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular Derby Gelding Open as the first team to work. They posted a 220 to put the pressure on the remaining 21 entries left in the finals.
Luke Huggins and Big Daddys CD were fifth to work and were almost able to catch the frontrunners, but fell short with a 217. Weis’ 220 and Huggins’ 217 held through the next set of cattle and they ended up Champion and Reserve Champion, respectively.
Rubys CD (High Brow CD x Playboys Ruby x Freckles Playboy) is owned by Ron and Sara Malone, of Petaluma, Calif. The gelding picked up a check for $3,953 and also advanced to the Open semifinals.
“Great riders, great horses; I could think of a dozen that could go top that score,” Weis said after the long wait to see if his 220 would hold. “The idea was to cut two good cows, and the second cow was good. I thought, if I stay, then I’m going to have to force the judges to put a mark up there that they’ll have to let somebody go above me if they do it, but they are going to have to go do it. I wasn’t thinking a soft run. I was thinking try to make it happen on working time and good cuts. The horse was excellent – well prepared by my wife, Melissa. We prepared it as if it was the semis. If this was the semis, this is what we would do. All the chips fell into place.”
Big Daddys CD (High Brow CD x Snazzy Easter Bunny x Smart Sugar Badger) is owned by Mike and Libby Bowman, of Simpsonville, Ky.
“The horse has been good one run since we’ve been here and then he’s kind of off on another run,” Huggins said. “I think we hit the nail on the head because he was good in this run.”
Big Daddys CD is trained by Austin Shepard, who Huggins was quick to credit for the horse’s performance.
“Austin told me, ‘Don’t force anything; just let it come to you,’” Huggins added. “My horse felt really good. Scott’s horse was great.”
Huggins and Big Daddys CD earned $3,775 as the Reserve Champions.
Derby Gelding Non-Pro
Thursday afternoon, the Gelding Non-Pro took center stage in Will Rogers Coliseum. And familiar faces gathered for the win photo as NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Gelding Champions Kristen Galyean, of Claremore, Okla., and Im Reydioactive took top honors again.
Working 12th – next-to-last in the 13-horse finals – Galyean and Im Reydioactive (Dual Rey x Kaboomsmal x Peptoboonsmal) marked a 221 to earn the $4,747 champion’s check.
“I’m really proud of him,” Galyean said. “He was awesome tonight. Wes and I have always felt like he was a really good horse, and I just feel like he’s coming into his own. He felt incredible tonight, so I’m super proud of him. He’s super smart, and I feel like I can ride him and know he’s going to do his job. He’s super athletic. I’m really proud of what he did tonight.”
Ashley Flynn, of Weatherford, Texas, and Cow Scents (High Brow CD x Chiquita Shorty x Shorty Lena) held the lead after marking a 217 as the ninth team to work, and ended as the Reserve Champions. They earned $4,381, but Flynn almost didn’t compete to save the horse for the Non-Pro finals.
“It was a last-minute decision,” Flynn said. “We were not even going to show him because I made the [Non-Pro] finals. My husband [Sean] said, ‘No, we’re not going to show him,’ and then changed his mind at the last minute. That horse has been great from the get-go. He was my Valentine’s [Day] present last year. He’s really special. He’s solid as a rock.
“That second cow was a little tricky and kind of scared me,” Flynn added. “I had to hold it a long time. We won Abilene on him. He’s won a little over $40,000 already. He’s a really special horse.”
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