The scores were high in the Non-Pro finals at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas. They were so high that they neared Open caliber and created a dogfight until the end between the 13 horses in the limited-age event finals held April 6.
When the last cow cleared the arena at the South Point, Jesse Spence was left with the Intermediate and Novice Non-Pro championship titles. The 19-year-old from Yamhill, Oregon, piloted Hes Got The Luck (Smart Luck x Peppys Little Orphan x A Little Shady Jac) to a composite score of 648 (207 herd/218.5 rein/222.5 cow). The score also rewarded the pair with the Non-Pro Reserve Championship.
“It’s been a group effort and my dad has been doing a lot of the work. He had a pretty good start on him when we bought him from Todd Bergen in [the horse’s] 3-year-old year,” Spence said. “The rein work and fence work is where he does the best. He has a lot of natural stop, which really helps in those two events.”
In the preliminary rounds, Spence marked the highest scores he’s put up on the gelding in both the herd and rein works. Solidifying a spot in the finals, Spence hoped to have similar rides.
“We had a little bit of trouble in the herd work, but he came through with two more really good rein and fence work runs. Since I had to come from behind a little bit, I really tried to make him be the best he could be,” he said. “He did his best all the way through.”
In a tough Non-Pro division that had the young man riding against seasoned, older competitors, Spence and Hes Got The Luck brought home more than $12,000 for their placing. Attending community college now, Spence hopes to follow in the career path of his father, Jim, and become a horse trainer.
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