horse chasing a cow
Sonita Lena Rey & Corey Cushing. • Photo by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska.

Cushing Wins Second World’s Greatest Horseman Championship

As the last draw of the fence work of the World’s Greatest Horseman, Corey Cushing had plenty of time to think about how to win the coveted title. He also had time for wise words of advice from friends and fellow competitors.

“Jay Wadhams is going, ‘Just go!'” Cushing recalled later. “‘Just … Soon as that cow comes out, run down the fence!’

“Phillip Ralls is going, “Buddy, you gotta shape it up. Set things up right. Don’t get too excited.’

“Well, then you get to hearing the crowd and the enthusiasm,” Cushing admitted later. “And, just before I go in, Boyd Rice comes up to me and he goes, ‘Be patient.’ I’m thinking … Be patient? I’m ready to go right now!”

The Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider from Scottsdale, Arizona, was indeed ready to roll when he and Sonita Lena Rey entered the John Justin Arena Saturday (Feb. 23) in Fort Worth, Texas. The 2011 horse by Dual Rey delivered a great fence run.

“He was spot on down the fence,” Cushing said appreciatively. “That first turn felt incredible and all I remember is looking down at that cow and it was just wadded up with no place to go except the other way.”

Their score of 225 topped the fence work, and launched them past the leaders to take the victory over Reserve Champions Zane Davis and Rubys Radar. They finished with a winning composite of 877 (212 herd/217 rein/223 steer/225 cow). The scores, which included a stellar round-winning run in the steer stopping, resulted in a first-place check of $40,000 for owner Sheri Jamieson, of La Jolla, CA.

“This horse has got such a big heart and you know we’ve had our ups and downs but he’s truly … he’s a champion,” Cushing said, his arm slung over the horse’s neck. “I guess that’s all I can say. He’s the world’s greatest champion tonight and I love him.”

Bred by Jim Holmes, of Longmont, Colorado, Sonita Lena Rey has more than $123,000 in earnings and is the leading performerout of the mare, Sonita Lena Chick. The broodmare by Smart Chic Olena is the dam of 11 money-winning foals with a record of more than $280,000, according to Equi-Stat.

Her other leading earners are Chickarey ($52,755, by Dual Rey) and Chick Makes Money ($40,986, by Meradas Money Talks).

This is Cushing’s second win the in the World’s Greatest Horseman. He took the top spot in the four-event competition — which features herd work, rein work, steer stopping and cow work — in 2015 with PRF Spoonful of Gold (Hes A Peptospoonful x Sons Miss Sprat x Sons Rushette).

To say winning the World’s Greatest Horseman is meaningful is an understatement.

“It’s the title that everyone thinks about,” Cushing said. “You wake up every morning and you dream and hope that a day like today can actually happen.”

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