After a standout 2018 season that culminated with the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Non-Pro World title, Elizabeth Quirk was ready for a break. She wasn’t planning to haul this year, but that may change.
To say Quirk was stunned when she piloted Wood U N Me Baby (Nitas Wood x You N Me Baby x Smart Mate) to a 218.5 from the last draw of The 40 Non-Pro during the Augusta Futurity is an understatement. Smiling ear to ear, she walked from the arena praising her 8-year-old mare for a job well done.
“The mare went twice tonight — she made the Open and Non-Pro finals, and she drew last in both sets,” Quirk explained after her winning run. “The cows were tough. We finished on a rerun and just thought, let’s just get through this. It was really tough down there.”
Wood U N Me Baby, whose lifetime earnings before Augusta totaled $148,643, marked a 214.5 and finished fifth in The 40 Open with longtime trainer Russ Westfall after taking second in the go-round with a 222. That performance paid $1,650. For the Non-Pro Championship, the Laurie and Mike Jones-bred mare garnered $8,857.
While 2019 started off with a bang, Quirk admitted she’s not sure she’s ready for another full year of hauling for a year-end title. As a wife, mother and business owner, the Denham Springs, Louisiana, cutter has her hands full.
“I better wait and talk to my husband [Todd] about that,” she said with a laugh about the potential for another World title race. “New year, new horse … I don’t know. I can’t believe it. I’m literally in shock right now. 2018 was crazy, so I’m glad to start 2019 off this way.”
Quirk’s parents purchased Wood U N Me Baby in June of 2018 from Bobbie Kay Davis. The family was searching for an “off-bred” mare they could breed to many of the top stallions in the industry. The match has turned out better than they even expected.
“It means so much to have a big Non-Pro win like that,” said Quirk, who rode Cat Sheree and Kattalyst to much of her $120,587 in 2018 year-end earnings. “It’s really neat to have another horse to go and show. Every win is just so spectacular to me. It always seems like this one means more than the last one.”