It’s hard to know how a 3-year-old cutter is going to handle its first time going to the herd. Jeff Barnes added anther wrinkle to the equation with Tuff Crowd at the Cascades Futurity: It was the first time he’d ever cut a cow on the gelding.
“I had worked the flag on them once before I showed them,” Barnes said, of his two horses in the Futurity Non-Pro finals. “And, I never worked a cow on them, so the expectations were not…Really, I had no idea.”
However, Tuff Crowd (Woody Be Tuff x One Smart Swinger x Smart Little Lena) put in two good efforts to take the Futurity Non-Pro Championship with a composite of 432.5 (217/215.5). He and his second horse, Spookys Tesla, finished fourth with a composite of 420 (207/213).
Approaching a show that way isn’t the norm for the rider from Wilton, California, but it has worked before.
“I did it on a mare [High Cash Gal] at the Pacific Coast Futurity about, I don’t know, probably 4-5 years ago. I won that also, so maybe that’s my new norm, I guess,” he joked. “Don’t get on them; just go show ‘em and don’t have any expectations.”
Tuff Crowd, who Barnes bought three months ago, and Spookys Tesla also made the Futurity Open finals with trainer Brent Erickson. Although Tuff Crowd lost a cow in the finals, homebred filly Spookys Telsa (Dual Smart Rey x Spookys Nine Eleven x High Brow Cat) marked a 212 in the final round to finish fifth.
In the Non-Pro finals, Barnes hoped to cut two cows with Tuff Crowd and get plenty of working time on each cow, rather than try to cut a third and run the risk of getting “run over.” It worked in the first go and, although Barnes had to adjust his plan when the cattle “married up” on his final cut, Tuff Crowd hung in there and brought home a 215.5 score and the title.
“The [final] cow wasn’t that good, but the horse was correct and did what it was supposed to do and held the cow,” he said. “So, yeah, it kind of ran all over the pen, but he handled it really well.”
Barnes not only had the distinction of winning the Futurity Non-Pro, but bred and sold Cascades Futurity Open Champion Hott Rox to new owners Dacole Investment Group. He was thrilled for the success the son of Hottish earned his new owners, who bought him less than a week before the show began in Redmond, Oregon.
“I’m happy [owner Debbie Day] won it. That’s what the plan was,” said Barnes, who still owns the gelding’s mother, Spookys Roxy Girl (by Smart Little Lena). “I told her when I sold it to her, I said, ‘Hey, this is probably one of my best horses, so it should work out for you.’ And, the first one it did, so hopefully it continues.”
The Futurity Non-Pro win added $3,121 to the Equi-Stat record of Tuff Crowd, an Iron Rose Ranch LLC-bred who is the second money earner of his dam, One Smart Swinger. The daughter of Smart Little Lena out of Swinging Little Gal (by Justa Swinging Peppy) also is the mother of 2011 mare Halreyzn Swinger ($59,826, by Halreycious).
Although Tuff Crowd was a purchase, the other two futurity contenders Barnes had a part in – Hott Rox and Spookys Tesla – both descend from his foundation mare, San Starlight. Barnes still owns the 29-year-old Grays Starlight mare that, as of the July 15, 2018, issue of Quarter News, was No. 5 dam of money earners on the Equi-Stat Lifetime Cutting Statistics. Barnes raised four or five foals per year.
“They’re all either daughters or granddaughters of her,” Barnes said of his broodmare band. “I just kind of keep that line going.”
Going forward, the plan for Tuff Crowd is to compete at the Idaho Cutting Horse Association Futurity & Aged Event, the El Rancho Futurity and Foothill Fiesta and the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Futurity.
The Futurity Non-Pro Reserve Championship went to Katie Fonsen-Young and Pocket Change. The Cloverdale, California, rider and her gelding (Im Countin Checks x Cat Cora x Smooth As A Cat) earned $2,601 for a composite of 429 (211/218).
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