“She makes me look a lot smarter than I am,” said Gaines of the 9-year-old mare by Dual Rey and out of Nu I Wood (by Zack T Wood).
After battling a tough herd of cattle and tough draw, Gaines attributed the win, which was just one point from the Congress record of 231, to Baby’s athleticism and grit. Five years ago, it was Gaines who rode CD April Fool to the record score at the 2010 Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting.
Special Nu Baby’s win earned the Crystal Creek Ranch-bred mare, owned by Barker Ranch, of Madill, Oklahoma, $11,094. Randy Chartier and Cat Black I (Smooth As A Cat x Smart Little Gal x Smart Little Lena) scored a 224 for second place, netting $8,721 for owners Charlie and Denise Seiz, of Cedartown, Georgia.
“I went into this leading with one horse to go, and I thought, ‘If I lose this, it’s going to be the best Reserve Championship I’ve ever had, and I’m probably going to lose it to the best mare that’s probably ever cut,’” Chartier said.
Earlier in the evening Joe Howard Williamson and Wendel/Eakin-bred Sweet Little Cats (High Brow Cat x Sweet Little CD x CD Olena), who is owned by Denver Barnett, scored a 220 to win the Non-Pro division of the Mercuria finals, which helped solidify his lead in the overall standings by adding an additional $10,896 to the coffers.
“[Sweet Little Cats] is a tremendous young horse. He’s just 6-years-old,” said Williamson, a rancher in Wichita Falls, Texas, who recently won the Classic/Challenge Non-Pro at the Idaho Cutting Horse Association Futurity with Sweet Little Cats. “He’s really helped me out this year, so far, trying to win the world. He’s young, but he’s pretty experienced.”
Paula Wood rode her daughter’s gelding Pepto Boom (Peptoboonsmal x Stylish Play Lena x Docs Stylish Oak) to a score of 215, which was enough for the Reserve Championship and $8,572.
“I don’t know what we would do without this Congress event,” Chartier said. “I know it’s a lot of work, but it’s great to show off our horses at the Congress.”
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