Most people consider themselves lucky to walk away from an event with one championship. On June 16 at the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Core Balance Derby, Emily Clark did one better – she gained not one, but two titles at the show with her gelding Cool Cat In Shades.
“I was a little bit surprised, but it’s pretty great,” Clark said. “We’re proud of that little horse.”
Clark’s first victory came in the Classic/Challenge Unlimited Amateur, where she and “Ray Bans” marked a 222, the same as their go-round score. Her game plan entering the finals was simple: make good, clean cuts.
“He just was super solid all week and easy to show and get ready, so I just figured I’d go out and try to make good, clean cuts and have a smart run,” she said. “He was just easy and right there for me.
“I did the same thing for the non-pro – I thought well, shoot, I’ll just try and do it again,” she continued. “It was a real small herd in the non-pro finals and I was first, which I don’t really like to be first. The cows that I wanted, we got them in a good spot. I was super lucky to have great pen help.”
Despite having worked hard earlier in the morning, Clark and Ray Bans came back in the Classic/Challenge Non-Pro finals and scored another 222, putting them on top there, too. Clark said the PCCHA Derby was “probably my luckiest horse show to date.”
“I did the two non-pro go-rounds first, and both my scores were reviewed and adjusted up, thank God,” she said. “ We finished off the week pretty darn strong.
“I always feel bad [to do another run with him in the same day], especially when he was so good the first one – I feel a little bit bad asking him to come back. But I’m so, so thankful to make two finals. He took a little less to get ready for the non-pro finals, but otherwise he felt great, strong and ready to go.”
Clark and Ray Bans took home $7,093 from the non-pro and $7,406 from the unlimited amateur for a total of $14,499. That total elevated her earnings to $125,170 and Ray Bans’ to nearly $70,000.
Clark described Ray Bans as sweet and a “little bit goofy,” saying that even though he is 6 years old and has been all over the country showing, he still likes to spook at silly things, like the hay he is eating. She plans to take the son of WR This Cats Smart (out of Jasons Little Pepto x Peptoboonsmal), who was bred by Terry Ratto, back home to Bend, Oregon, to do some local shows, including the brand new Cascades Futurity.
Outside of cutting, Clark owns an equine rehab business and is a personal assistant. With little time on her hands to compete, she stressed how thankful she was for the people who added money to the amateur purse.
“A huge thank you to all the added money sponsors that increased the amateur purse,” Clark said. “I get to show in the non-pro and the amateur, and I can’t tell you how big of a difference it makes to be able to win a good check in the amateur. Pretty much I only show him [my horse] for the most part. Morgan [Cromer] shows him every now and then. But to be able to take a good check away from the show helps me go to the next one, and it’s just nice to be able to put a greater amount of money on him than what it has been in the past. I know Morgan was a sponsor and John and Kara Kratzer were sponsors. Just a huge thank you to everybody that not only added to the 5/6 amateur but to the derby amateur as well. It makes a huge difference for us and I so appreciate that.
“And, thanks to my awesome herd help! Eric Wiseheart [and Morgan Cromer] were in the corner, and Russ Elrod and Matt Miller were out front.”
Cameron Maben Thompson and This Isa Third took the Classic/Challenge Non-Pro Reserve Championship after marking a 219. This Isa Third was bred by Carl and Shawnea Smith and is a gelding son of Third Cutting out of Cat Fancy This (by High Brow Cat). He and Thompson garnered $5,923.
In the Classic/Challenge Unlimited Amateur, Langston Pattillo rode Mary Cavanaugh- bred Dualin Smooth Legacy (Smooth As A Cat x Dual Legacy x Dual Pep) to a 219 for the Reserve Championship, which came with $6,905. The duo also took the Classic/Challenge Amateur Championship and went home with a total of $10,941.
Derby Unlimited Amateur
With 13 entries, the Derby Unlimited Amateur finals were one of the bigger sets on June 16. When the dust settled, Von Sutten and his mare were at the top with their score of 217.5.
Sutten and Stylish Hallie Cat (Halreycious x Stylish China Cat x High Brow Cat) received $7,424 for the Championship, nearly doubling the Linda Holmes-bred mare’s previous lifetime earnings. She and Sutten were Unlimited Amateur finalists at the 2018 Abilene Spectacular, Bonanza Cutting, Cattlemens Derby and Classic and Breeder’s Invitational, and they made the semifinals at the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes.
Sutten, of Weatherford, Texas, is nearing the $500,000 in earnings mark.
The Reserve Champions marked a 215. Michelle Barnes rode Keefer to the title, collecting $6,219. Keefer, who was bred by Billy Martin, is by Cats Merada and out of the Playgun mare Keechi Pep.
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