Steve Anderson and Littlemak marked a 223 as the third-to-last draw of the Classic/Challenge Non-Pro finals to win it all! - Photo by Katie Marchetti

Anderson and Littlemak Hit the Mark in Classic/Challenge Non-Pro Finals

On Sunday, July 22, the Metallic Cat National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular Classic/Challenge Non-Pro finals started off with Carol Anderson Ward and Crafty With Cows, who marked a 218 from the first draw. They continued to hold the lead against a field of 21 teams until the third-to-last team took the pen. Texas rancher Steve Anderson marked a 223 aboard his 6-year-old gelding, Littlemak, in a thrilling demonstration of cutting at its best.

“I love showing at the Will Rogers,” said Anderson after claiming his second title this year under the coliseum lights. The duo brought home the Classic Non-Pro title from the NCHA Super Stakes in April, and came back ready for more.

“We were in the first set that first day and I didn’t cut my first cow very good – I’m not a morning person, and that first set is hard,” Anderson explained of the first go-round. “But he was good and I marked a [2]15.5, and then I went to the second round, and the first two horses blew the cows all over here. You’ve got to have a little luck, and I was deep, thank goodness. I got him showed good, marked a [2]16.5. We just kind of scootched on into the finals that way.”

The 2012 gelding by Starlights Gypsy and out of Justa Swinging Gal (by Justa Swinging Peppy) did anything but scootch in the show pen during the finals.

“He’s a beast; he just so big and strong out there,” Anderson said of the sorrel horse he purchased as a 4-year-old from Joann Parker. “He doesn’t take any work; I didn’t even work him on a cow here, not this whole show. I bumped a flag a little bit, and then went to showing. He doesn’t take a lot of riding, he’s just a little bit lazy. He just fits me, so we trot around a little bit and then we go show.”

The high numbers marked before Anderson and Littlemak took their turn didn’t faze the horseman, who has garnered more than $786,000 since his first paycheck in 1993.

“I don’t think about that stuff,” he said. “I was letting my heart beat. I was trying to be strong, trying to be aggressive and trying to show my horse.”

And they did just that – the gelding, who had $154,896 in earnings prior to the Summer Spectacular, earned another $15,050 for Anderson Cattle Co.

“It was a strong run. That last cow got me a little excited!” Anderson said.

Anderson gave credit to Traci Burgess, who put a lot of work into preparing the gelding for the show pen.

“My help is always good, that’s why I like them,” he said. “They’re the No. 1 help crew! Kory Pounds has been a herd holder for me for so many years, I can’t remember being in here without him. John Burgess has been with me even longer, and he and his son-in-law Chris turned back for me. They’re good together. Pedro Ornelas, who works for me, is in there too, and he knows cows better than I’ll ever know, so I darn sure listen to them!”

Anderson and Littlemak are bound for the West Texas Futurity in Amarillo, Texas, if all goes according to plan.

“It’s been a good year. I’ve got a real good horse,” Anderson said. “He’s 6 years old, so I’ve got to take my shots while I can!”

The reserve title in the Classic/Challenge Non-Pro finals went to 2013 sorrel gelding Crafty With Cows, who is by High Brow CD and out of Miss Haulin Hickory (by SR Instant Choice). Crafty With Cows was ridden by owner and breeder Carol Anderson Ward, of Rancho Murieta, California. The duo marked a well-deserved 218 to bring home a check for $13,593, which rasied the gelding’s lifetime earnings to $287,429, according to Equi-Stat.