Some people say birthdays get less exciting the older you get, but Evan Moffitt’s 24th birthday was one he’ll remember forever. The young horseman got the chance of a lifetime when he was given the privilege to show Jim and Marylin Crawford’s homebred He Bea Cat in the $2,000 Limit Rider class at the Michelle Lynn Holsey Foundation Benefit Cutting.
“Our clients, Jim and Marylin Crawford, have grown very close with him [Evan],” Katie Rice said. “Jim called Tarin [Rice] and said, ‘Hey, I’ve really been thinking about what to get Evan for a birthday present because he means a lot to us, and if it’s alright with you, I’d like for him to pick one of my two horses – either He Bea Cat or Miss Callie Cat – to show in the $2,000 Limit Rider.’”
Moffitt chose He Bea Cat (High Brow Cat x Mae Bea Marie x Freckles Playboy) and took home his first buckle when the duo marked a 74 to win the class on Oct. 6. The Centerville, Texas, resident, who is originally from Missouri, began working for the Rices in January of 2014, but before he ever moved to Texas, he remembers watching Tarin win the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Co-Championship with “Crawford” in 2012.
“I can remember, four years ago, watching the Futurity on my computer and watching Tarin and Ronnie [Rice] win that night,” Moffitt said. “That was really cool. At the time, I didn’t live in Texas, and I never thought I would ever work for Tarin. In 2013, he had a really big year and I remember seeing his name time and time again in the Quarter Horse News and stuff. Then fast-forward three years and here I am at the Michelle Lynn Holsey showing this horse. It was kind of surreal.”
Before this year, Moffit had only won $59 – a check he posted in 2009 from a weekend event. He brought his Equi-Stat record to $1,427 when he made the $2,000 Limit Rider finals at The Non Pro Plus The Open in June with the Rices’ gelding Lenas Star War (Lenas Busy Bee x Lena Leo War Lady x Shorty Lena). The 2016 season has been one for the books for Moffitt, and he credited the Rices for giving him the opportunity to learn about cutting and allowing him to do what he loves.
“When I graduated [from college], I wanted to move to Texas and work for somebody because I wanted to be a non-pro and learn how to train my own horses,” Moffitt explained. “It was about Futurity time, and Tarin put up a help wanted deal on their [Facebook] page. I sent them an email pretty much telling them I didn’t know anything but I’d sure love to come down and work for them. Tarin called me one day and I was really nervous. He asked me to come down and ride for two or three days to see if it would work.
“On the last day, he asked me if I wanted to come back and he’d give me the job,” he continued. “I told him I could drive back to Missouri that night and I could be back in two days. He told me to take a week and say my goodbyes because I wouldn’t be going home for a while. So I went home and packed, and I’ve lived here ever since.”
Moffitt fits right in at Tarin Rice Performance Horses and has become very close with a lot of their clients.
“He’s pretty much family,” Rice said. “He eats every meal at our house. All of our customers just love him so much. He takes great care of the horses, and he’s got a great personality. He’s a person that anybody would like in a matter of minutes.”
Moffitt’s dedication allowed him the chance to show Crawford, who was the 2013 NCHA Open Horse of the Year and has an Equi-Stat record of nearly $350,000.
“It means the world to me to get to ride and show a horse that’s that caliber,” he said. “Just the fact that Jim and [Marylin] were so generous to let me show their horse, it meant a lot.”