The Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting Non-Pro was jam-packed with talent, as evidenced by the fact that three horses tied for the top score. Jill Roth and Bea Pure Cat, Bill Cowan and Billies Catty, and Elizabeth Quirk and Cat Sheree each marked a 224 to split the title and garner $8,219 apiece.
Roth, of Lockwood, California, summed up the experience in one word: “Awesome!”
“I was very surprised, but I’m always happy to be in good company,” she said of the tie. “I was very excited to be one of the three!”
Roth said she often has to battle her nerves going into finals, but this time, she was determined to not let them hold her back.
“I was trying to be a little more confident going in,” she said. “I always try to get the cows that my amazing help, Morgan Cromer and Tom Diaz, have picked out for me. I have to drive up out of the herd, and once I do that, my horse can take care of the rest. That was my plan – just cut clean and drive up, and hang on.”
She and her husband, Bill, have owned Bea Pure Cat for three years. She purchased the gelding (High Brow Cat x Mae Bea Marie x Freckles Playboy) to be her Mercuria horse and said he’s doing exactly what he was supposed to do.
“If I don’t do well, it’s because of me,” she said. “The horse is always spot on and easy to show and fun to ride, and he just has a huge personality. I just love him to death.”
“Snoop Dawg,” or “James,” depending on who you are, is a full brother to He Bea Cat ($379,826) and Miss Callie Cat ($142,990). His dam is a producer of $859,378, and that total may only continue to rise, as he and Roth are next headed to compete at the Calgary Stampede Mercuria.
“I’ve always wanted to go there and Morgan’s going this year, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity,” Roth said. “We’re going to go there more for the experience, and there just happens to be a Mercuria at the same time.
“I’m very excited, I’m still kind of on cloud nine!” she said. “I have to thank my help who hung in there with me all week long – Morgan, Tom, Monte Buntin and Rock Hedlund. Big thanks to them. And Jake Pinheiro; he got him spot-on on ready for me every time.
“A very special, deep-hearted thanks to my hubby, Bill, for all the sacrifices he makes so I can walk to the herd as much as I can!”
Tying for a Mercuria win isn’t new for Cowan or Quirk, who recently split the Non-Pro title at the Mane Event V earlier this year. Cowan, of Ardmore, Oklahoma, was glad to be in good company, and while he didn’t get to watch the other runs, he was proud of what his mare achieved.
“I was sure happy with my performance and my mare,” he said. “I had a little glitch in there I think on my second cow, but we recovered and it was good.”
Cowan’s game plan was also to be clean in the finals and let the run develop. He tried to eliminate any mistakes and stay out of his horse’s way. The strategies worked, and Billies Catty’s lifetime earnings now stand at more than $176,000.
“She’s a home [bred] mare we raised,” Cowan said of the mare. “This is our first foal crop from Catty Hawk out of a mare we used to own, Little Bonnie Blue [by Mecom Blue]. She was a good mare in the aged events and just has been a pretty solid citizen in the weekend shows.”
While he isn’t trying to hit all the weekend shows, Cowan will also next head to Calgary for the Mercuria. In the meantime, Billies Catty is already producing the next generation, and her oldest offspring is a 2-year-old filly.
Cowan thanked his help in the pen: R.L. Chartier, Cullen Chartier, Matt Miller and Casey Green.
“The longer you do this, you understand that you can’t have that level of success without really good help in a lot of departments,” he said. “R.L. Chartier helped me with that mare a lot out there. I sure appreciate their [the Chartiers, Miller and Green’s] help. They’ve always been really easy guys to work with.
“And my helper, Bailey Hartung, who helped get that mare ready. She did a really good job. I’ve tried to go it on my own, and it’s a whole lot more difficult.”
Quirk, who owns Ten/27 Ranch with her husband, Todd, said she was shocked to split the championship three ways, but also very blessed to share it with such deserving competitors.
“They’re great people. Bill and I were co-champions in February as well so that was kind of cool that we got to share that, and Jill Roth just had an incredible run. She’s such an incredible show woman. Just being able to share that with those two competitors is just such an honor,” Quirk said.
The plan of the day for everyone seemed to be just cutting clean, and Quirk was no exception. She added “be smart” to her strategy, also thanking the team of people who supported her including her husband, his family and her parents.
“Adan Banuelos just does an amazing job with [Cat Sheree] and always has her prepared and enjoying her job, and the Promotion Equine Therapy crew just keeps her together and feeling awesome,” Quirk said. “We have some incredible help. Cookie Banuelos, Adan’s uncle, was also one of my herd holders, and then Johnny Mitchell and Spud Sheehan were my turnback guys. I couldn’t have done it without our amazing team of people.”
Quirk also expressed appreciation for Cat Sheree, or “Ginger,” who is by High Brow CD and out of Nurse Sheree (by Peptoboonsmal). The 8-year-old mare was bred by Bill Paxton.
“There truly aren’t words to describe her,” Quirk said. “She’s an incredible individual, such a blessing to our program. We are just honored to own her and be able to take care of her. We are just so excited about her future and the babies we have coming out of her. She is a dream to ride. I love her to pieces.”
As for the mare’s future, Quirk said she is going to let Ginger tell her what she wants to do. The mare enjoys her job – in fact, she came to Vegas after a month at the breeding farm and didn’t let the time off keep her out of the winner’s circle. Quirk said she still lights up when she sees a cow, so after a little break, she may return back to competition. One thing is for sure about the next generation, though, including a 2-year-old One Time Pepto colt, a yearling One Time Pepto filly, a 2018 Reyzin The Cash filly, a 2018 Woody Be Tuff filly and a 2019 Metallic Rebel embryo.
“We are just thrilled, and we cannot wait for all these babies to enter the show pen!” Quirk said.
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