Ascencion Banuelos (left), pictured with his son, Associate Producer Nicole Webster and Director Rusty Leaver • Photo by Kelsey Pecsek

Documentary Screening Scheduled at NCHA Futurity

Ascencion Banuelos’ story is one few people know, but that’s all about to change. In the new documentary film “Ascencion,” viewers will learn more about the cutter who left his home in Lobatos, Mexico, at age 13 to come to America. The film is set to show at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity on Dec. 4.

“Ascencion” premiered Nov. 12 in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Lone Star Film Festival. It is the first documentary directed by Rusty Leaver, owner of cutting establishment Rock Creek Ranch in Weatherford, Texas. It details the life of Banuelos, who has made a name for himself in his sport as an NCHA Hall of Fame inductee with more than $2.4 million in lifetime earnings.

“I was very proud to tell the story of a guy who brought out the best in a lot of people,” said Leaver, who came up with the idea for the documentary about “triumph and perseverance in a border story.” “His evolution, to me, was about what America’s all about.”

“I think everybody can do it,” Banuelos added in a question-answer session after the film’s premier about realizing the American dream. “I want young kids to understand, I didn’t do anything to get where I am that doesn’t belong to a poor kid. I didn’t do it with money; I didn’t do it with school. I did it old school. And thanks to all my American friends in this country, I became an American citizen.”

More information about “Ascencion” is available online at, where the movie trailer can be viewed, as well. For those interested in the NCHA Futurity screening at the Will Rogers Memorial Center on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m., tickets can be purchased at the door. They are $10 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under. A Q&A with the cast will follow the film.