The Lucas Oil National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes spanned more than three weeks in Fort Worth, Texas, all building toward the exciting finale at Will Rogers Memorial Center. The Open finals showcased 20 exceptional 4-year-old horses, and the class became the highlight of the show when it ended in a draw between two of the richest riders in cutting.
From the seventh draw in the first of two sets, 2014 NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champions Smooth Talkin Style (Smooth As A Cat x Stylish Play Lena x Docs Stylish Oak) and Equi-Stat Elite $7 Million Rider Lloyd Cox, of Marietta, Oklahoma, marked a 223. That score held until the cattle change, but with 10 more competitors left to cut, the race for the title was far from over.
“It went really good,” Cox said. “I was real happy with the run and my horse was excellent. I couldn’t be happier, and I wouldn’t change anything.”
Dont Stopp Believin (Dual Rey x Dont Look Twice x High Brow Cat) carried Equi-Stat Elite $8 Million Rider Phil Rapp, of Weatherford, Texas, to the herd third from last in the second bunch. In arguably one of the best sets at this year’s event, the crowd’s enthusiasm had been building for that moment. The stallion’s quick moves held tough cattle, carrying the horse-and-rider duo to a 223 to tie for the win.
“We’re just so blessed,” Rapp said. “This is his first victory. I can’t say enough about my four helpers – Sean Flynn, Johnny Mitchell, Kory Pounds and Matt Gaines. They were right on it, and it was with God’s blessings the whole way through that it just worked out.”
Smooth Talkin Style, bred by Double Dove Ranch, of Fort Worth, is owned by a partnership between Double Dove Ranch and Bobby and Dottie Hill. The stallion’s lifetime earnings now exceed $200,000 after his performance in Fort Worth, which paid $56,954.
Dont Stopp Believin, who more than doubled his Equi-Stat record, was bred by Waco Bend Ranch Ltd., of Graham, Texas, and is owned by Rapp and his wife, Mary Ann Rapp.
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