Bill Cowan and homebred Billies Catty competed in their very first Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting class on Saturday at Mane Event V in Las Vegas, Nevada. • Photo by Midge Ames.

No Separating Top Two Non-Pros In Vegas Mercuria

Bill Cowan entered his first Mercuria/National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Series of Cutting event on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada. After tying for the Non-Pro Co-Championship, it’s safe to say he’s a fan.

“I didn’t realize what these Mercurias were until I experienced this, but they’ve done tremendous things for these older show horses, and this industry, and I think it’s wonderful,” he said.

Riding Cowan Ranch homebred Billies Catty, the Purcel, Oklahoma, resident marked a 218 to tie with Elizabeth Quirk, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, for the win during The Mane Event V at the South Point Hotel & Casino. Quirk rode Cat Sheree, a mare she and her husband, Todd, own.

The two talented show mares hold a special place in the hearts of their owners.

Billies Catty was the first foal by her sire Catty Hawk, to be born at Cowan Ranch. An earner of $240,282, Catty Hawk (by High Brow Cat ) has sired earners of more than $874,000, according to Equi-Stat.

The daughter of Little Bonnie Blue (by Mecom Blue) is her sire’s second-leading earner. However, the 2011 mare reminds Cowan of both her parents.

“She’s almost a carbon copy of her mother,” he said. “But ‘Catty,” the way he moved his front end, he had a particular style, and she’s got a little bit of that.”

Cat Sheree is special to Quirk because she was a gift from her father-in-law after the death of her beloved mare, KD Shorty. The mare by Kit Dual was euthanized in January, 2017, as the result of an old injury.

Cat Sheree was a gift from Elizabeth Quirk’s father-in-law. • Photo by Midge Ames.


Quirk had ridden KD Shorty to many successes in a cutting career that saw the mare earn $236,175. She then went on to produce a number of talented cutters, who so far have earned more than $650,000.

Cat Sheree (High Brow CD x Nurse Sheree x Peptoboonsmal) looks a lot like KD Shorty, Quirk said.

“Cat Sheree is a sorrel mare with a little star [like Sadie], and has the biggest heart in the world so it was just a huge gift that I can never really put into words what it means to me,” she said.

The $9,642 first-place check pushed Billie’s Catty to more than $174,000 in NCHA earnings. Cat Sheree’s NCHA earnings stand at more than $165,000.

Cowan and Quirk narrowly missed having to split the title three ways when the final rider, Kade Smith, marked a 217.5 with Hay U to take the Non-Pro Reserve Championship. The daughter of Third Cutting is a maternal half-sister to 2017 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Dual Reyish, as she and the son of Hottish are both out of A Little Reylena (by Dual Rey). The second-place finish earned $6,367 for Kade and Emily Smith, of Star, Idaho.

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