As a large crowd gathered in Oklahoma City, 17 horse-and-rider teams entered the Jim Norick Arena in hopes of taking home a share of the $53,891 purse in the Junior Cutting at the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Championship Show. When it was all said and done, Cody Hedlund and Meteles Cat’s score of 221 won the Junior Cutting World Championship.
Drawing up 15th in the working order left the Wilton, California, rider with plenty of time to watch the competition.
“I know what’s been marked and I knew there was room up there at the top and then in between all those people that I could try to sneak in if I could and it just worked out that we won it,” said Hedlund, an earner of $438,122. “We cut everything we had talked about, for the most part, and then the last cow was just really good and it just capped off the end of run.”
Meteles Cat (Metallic Cat x Teles Lies x Lenas Telesis) has had quite the success under the saddle of Cody and his father, Rock, who bred the horse. Meteles Cat has lifetime earnings of $111,279, and is currently in a battle for the 2014 NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year title.
The Reserve title went to Ronnie Rice, of Centerville, Texas, and CR Tuff Hearted Cat, owned by Center Ranch, of Centerville. The duo marked a 220, just one point shy of winning.
Equi-Stat Elite $1 Rider James Payne and Once In A Blu Boon (Peptoboonsmal x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep) marked the highest score of the night, 226, to win the Senior Cutting World Championship.
“He’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden,” said Payne of Once In A Blu Boon. “He has a neat way of breaking a cow down.”
Once In A Blu Boon, owned by Charlotte Farms, of Rosston, Texas, has been in Payne’s training program since he was a 2-year-old and has earned $296,510. This World Championship title has brightened his future beyond just accolades. Payne hopes to see many Once In A Blu Boon babies in the years to come.
“I hope he breeds a whole lot of High Brow Cat daughters. I think the cutting horse industry needs something like him, where there’s no High Brow Cat or Smart Little Lena in there. He’s roan, versatile, and built to do anything,” Payne said.
The Senior Cutting Reserve Champion was Weatherford, Texas, rider Phil Rapp and Cox Trinity Equine LLC’s Desires Blue Trinity, who marked a 223.
Riding a horse that she says is part of the family, Rieta Dufurrena won her first AQHA Amateur Cutting World Championship aboard Miss Ella Rey (Dual Rey x Hugs Olena x Chic Olena). The Gainsville, Texas, rider was last to go in the first set and had to wait for 10 other runs to see if her score of 222 would hold. As the last rider finished, Dufurrena knew she a secured the Championship.
“Me and her have been through so much this year. It took us a while before we clicked, but we just finally did,” said Dufurrena.
The Amateur Cutting Reserve title was shared between Jo Ellard and Ichi La Roo, and Ray Baldwin and Cat Like Kit. Both teams marked a 218.