In a class of 77 entries, Dusty Nelsen and Bill Riddle both marked 219s in the first go of the $5,000 Novice at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Western Nationals. But in the finals, Nelsen stood alone, scoring an impressive 225 – a full 6 points ahead of second place finishers Randy Chartier and Peptos Jazzy Cat.
Nelsen, of Pilot Point, Texas, rode Ichin In The Reyn, or “Shorty” (Cat Ichi x Little Rey Gal x Dual Rey), a homebred owned by EE Ranches, of Whitesboro, Texas, and trained by Guy Woods. This is the first season the team has competed together.
“Shorty is a really nice little horse,” Nelsen said. “He is a cowy horse that is quick and has a lot of eye appeal.”
In the first go, Nelsen was the last draw of the third set, a tough place to be all week, he said. He credited his help with coaching him through cutting the best cows.
“They acted good and I was able to cut up in the middle of the pen,” he said. “We cut clean, and it worked out well.”
Luck was on his side in the finals with a better draw. He was the third of 29 to show. The pair cut three straight black cows that worked well for them, cutting the first right up the center of the pen. When they turned around for their second cow, it was standing right on top of the herd.
“I drove in, got behind it, and it shaped up real nice,” Nelsen said. “By the third, I didn’t have a lot of time left. There was one standing on the edge of the herd that offered itself, and it turned out to be my best cow.”
He described the final cow as a bit quicker, which tried Shorty a litter harder than the others and allowed him to demonstrate his athleticism. For the win, the pair received $3,317.
This was the second big finish for the duo. In March they finished second in the $5,000 Novice at the NCHA Eastern Nationals in Mississippi with a 217.5, which earned them $4,234.
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