The ninth annual Cattlemens Derby and Classic offers $125,000 in added money, which draws much of the industry’s top talent. On March 7, the 5/6-Year-Old Open finalists were the first to officially cash in. It was Stevie Rey Von who delivered for his new owners Alvin and Becky Fults, of Amarillo, Texas.
Ridden by Fort Worth, Texas- based trainer Beau Galyean, Stevie Rey Von (Metallic Cat x Miss Ella Rey x Dual Rey) was the 13th draw in the 16-horse finals. The pair had marked a 216 and 223 in the first go-rounds, and Galyean knew he needed to put in a big performance with the Brandon Dufurrena-bred stallion to walk away with the $15,000 check.
“We were the last draw in the first go-round,” Galyean said. “That’s challenging when you’ve only been riding a horse for a few weeks because you don’t know all his little nuances and you’re not one with each other.”
In the second go-round, the team had a better position, allowing Galyean to cut the cows some of the other riders preferred. Galyean rode three horses in the finals, and “Stevie” was the last. The horseman scored a 0 aboard Bet Yer Metallic and then a 212 with Rose Colored Rey.
“The cows hit a patch where they would settle good, but they were tough to get cut,” he said. “On the second horse it was upsetting because the mare had a good run going with three cuts. A miss in the last 15 seconds dropped our score to a 212.”
Galyean decided he needed to change his strategy. He’d been choosing all black cows that had been popular with the other riders. For this ride, he and herd helper Casey Green went for the cows no one else wanted to take a chance on. The last minute change of plans paid off.
They marked a 228, a full seven points ahead of Reserve Champions Miss Stylish Katz (High Brow Cat x Miss Stylish Pepto x Peptoboonsmal) and Adan Banuelos, riding for Lone Oak Performance Horses. That duo had been the first to perform in the finals and maintained the highest score – a 221 – up until Galyean’s run.
“This was a big night for us,” said Alvin Fults, who purchased the 2012 red roan stallion one month ago. “It was vindication that our thinking on this horse was correct.”
The couple had been impressed by Stevie’s National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Championship in 2015 and jumped at the opportunity to buy him when he was offered for sale in early February 2018.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think in one month’s time that Stevie would finish fifth at the Arbuckle [Mountain Futurity] and win The Cattlemens,” Fults said.
He explained that when Galyean took over the reins just three weeks ago, the goal was to give the horse and rider team a chance to get to know one another and allow Stevie to play, show expression and get “cowy.”
“My wife, Ashley, has really made this horse feel very comfortable and right at home,” Galyean said. “She’s the one that spends the majority of the time getting the horses ready and spends a lot of time in the stalls with them. I couldn’t do this without her.”
Stevie’s performances at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity and The Cattlemens Derby & Classic are proof that he loves his job.
“He is extremely fast-footed,” Alvin said. “Beau is amazed that he hits his stops as big as he does and gets back through himself. Some horses are good at stops, some are good in the middle. It’s a rarity to get one that can do both well.”
Fults was always impressed by the stallion’s athleticism and followed him closely until he had the chance to buy him. By 2019, the stallion will be standing full time at Fults Ranch, where his sire Metallic Cat once did.
As for the rest of this show season, Galyean and Fults hope to continue as much as possible around breeding season. They have plans to enter the NCHA Super Stakes, Breeder’s Invitational and hopefully the NCHA Summer Spectacular.
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