When Kelsey Johnson rode to the herd in the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity 4-year-old Non-Pro finals aboard Smart Cat Rey RG, she was relying on the expertise of her husband, Clay, and her help on which cattle to cut. Johnson had her eye on one cow in particular, and the third time was the charm that carried them to the buzzer, with a 222 on the scoreboard and a title to go with it.
“I just kind of trusted them [my help], and they put me on some good ones. The cow I ended up cutting last, I kept trying to cut it on my other two cuts and it never would work out. It never would shape up, it never was in a good spot,” explained Johnson of their finals run. “After I cut my second cow, I had 30-something seconds left, and it was right there on top and it let me just walk it out by itself. It was a really good cow! It worked out. I’m just so excited!”
Johnson and Smart Cat Rey RG (Dual Smart Rey x Smart Cat Moria x High Brow Cat) had a long history together prior to their success in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Johnson and her husband purchased the 2015 mare as a yearling at the National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular Sale and later sold the mare to Johnson’s parents, Curtis and Brenda Weeks, which meant the duo was able to keep the horse in their training program.
“She’s just so much fun to show. She’s the most fun horse I’ve had in a long time,” Johnson said of the mare who added another $12,724 to her lifetime earnings in the finals. “She’s got such a great stop and she’s incredibly smart. She took a little bit for us to get with. We always knew she was a really good horse — she just wasn’t quite ready mentally.”
The couple agreed the most important thing was to get runs under the mare’s belt and build her confidence, as well as theirs. Their faith in “Moria” paid off in spades.
“My parents are the most supportive people in the world, and I told my husband before we rode in the second round that I just want to do good on her for them,” Johnson explained. “I knew that we had her, that it was there and it was about to happen. If not today, then tomorrow.
“She’s a talented, unique and special horse. She just really came together here. She was incredible for me. I’m so excited,” Johnson added.
Moria has been a family horse from the get-go. She was trained by Johnson’s brother-in-law, Chase Hermes, during her 2-year-old year, then by Clay during the mare’s 3-year-old year. The it was Johnson who piloted Moria to the win for her parents, who still own the mare themselves.
“I’d like to thank my parents and my husband and brother-in-law who did such a good job training her. And I would like to thank my help — Llyod Cox, Matt Miller, and T.J. Good,” Johnson said. “She is so much fun.”
Rocky Davis and Her Royal Queen
15M (One Time Royalty x Xquizit Cat x High Brow Cat)
Owner: Rocky Davis, Valleyview, Alberta, CN
Breeder: Carroll’s Cutting LLC, Dennis, TX
Ashley Flynn and Smooth Lines
14G (Smooth As A Cat x Okie Skyline x Mr Skyline Peppy)
Owner: Sean and Ashley Flynn, Weatherford, TX
Breeder: Kevin and Laura Radford, Alva, OK
5/6-Year-Old Unlimited Amateur
Bonnie Martin and Reysin Kittens
13G (Dual Rey x Kittens x High Brow Cat)
Owner: Bitterroot Ranch LLC, Las Vegas, NV
Breeder: Bitterroot Ranch LLC, Las Vegas, NV
Richard Minnix and Metallic Tax
13G (Metallic Cat x Miss Windy Rey x Dual Rey)
Owner: Richard Minnix, Midland, TX
Breeder: Tom and Natalie Humphreville, Glenwood, NM