For the second year, The Farnam Golden Cowboy award, a lucrative challenge for cattle division exhibitors, was presented at the Arizona Sun Circuit. Farnam became the title sponsor of the event in 2019 and added $10,000 to the purse, along with an impressive prize line. To be eligible, horse and rider had to show in the Golden Cowboy Herd Work, the Muley Steer Stopping, Junior or Senior Cow Horse and the Smart Boons Fence Challenge.
During the challenge, Corey Cushing took the early lead after posting a 74 in the herd work on One Fine Vintage, but Shadd Parkinson dominated the Muley Steer Stopping. His horse, Smart Time Tucker (Somebody Smart x Smoke Time Tuck x Doc Tom Tucker), got him to the cow lightning fast, and Parkinson fired a perfect loop. The pair scored a 75 for their run, which put them 1 point ahead in the standings.
Cushing and One Fine Vintage (One Time Pepto x Shiners Siena x Shining Spark) had fantastic stops and spins in the reining portion of Senior Cow Horse, scoring a 72.5. They followed it by demonstrating great control in the cow work, where they scored a 73.5. That gave them the lead going into the Smart Boons Fence Challenge.
The Farnam Golden Cowboy Award, however, is about consistency, fortitude and a little bit of luck. Les Oswald and Metallic Dual (Metallic Cat x Dual Whisper x Kit Dual) had consistently hovered in second place as the standings progressed through the week. The pair had a solid run in the fence challenge and posted a 71. Cushing and One Fine Vintage had a bit of a challenge with their cow and marked a 68.
Both cowboys finished the week with 360.5 points; however the tie-breaking event was the fence challenge, and Oswald was crowned the Golden Cowboy. He received a custom Golden Cowboy buckle, a Jeff Smith saddle and a check for $3,120. Cushing received the Reserve Champion cow hide chair and an embroidered horse cooler, along with a check for $2,640. Jay Mclaughlin’s near perfect ride on Genuine Masterpiece scored a 75, putting him in third. He received a Golden Cowboy bronc halter, horse cooler and a check for $1,680.
Smart Boons Fence Challenge
The Smart Boons Fence Challenge always draws a large crowd for a fast-paced spectacle of equine athleticism. Smart Boons’ owners, Eric and Wendy Dunn, added $20,000 to the pot, and 100 percent of the entry fees were added back for a total payout of $23,900. Thirteen of the top cow horses in the nation and their riders put on a fantastic show for the enthusiastic fans.
The energy of the event was contagious as spectators whooped and hollered with each turn of the cow. Scores were held to the end, so the excitement continued to build. Cushing was EmCee for the evening, interviewing each breathless rider after their performance. And draw 12, young Wyatt Fisher, rode Prize Winning Gal (Smokums Prize x Ill Be A Winning Gal x Ill Be Smart), owned by Marissa Greenberg, through a truly heart-thumping run, diving into the stops and turning the cow with ease.
All 13 exhibitors returned to the arena for scores and awards. Wyatt’s ride scored a 150.5 and topped the judges’ cards. That earned a check for $6,552, along with the custom Smart Boons trophy buckle, a pair of Classic Equine skid boots and a Martin Saddlery head stall. Jay Mclaughlin’s ride on Genuine Masterpiece (Shining Spark x Kings Masterpiece x Peppy San Badger) and Jason Hershberger riding Pepto Hot Sox (One Time Pepto x Crocheted x Smart Lil Ricochet) each scored a 148, splitting second and third. They each received a check for $4,563 and divvied up the prizes of a Martin Saddlery headstall, Yucca Flats pad, Classic Equine Skid boots and Ultra Cruz supplements.