A spell of bad luck didn’t deter Thomas Bray and Im Highly Decorated from cutting their way to victory in the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Metallic Cat Summer Spectacular Classic/Challenge Limited Open. The duo scored a 221.5 to bring home the title, winning $11,954.
“I hadn’t made the finals in here [Will Rogers Coliseum] in a long time, so it was great,” Bray said.
He and his wife, Liz, were already beside themselves when Bray made the finals, so taking home the win for owners Norda and Jim Berger became even more special. The spectators in the stands were rowdy during Brays’ run — the yells becoming increasingly louder with each consecutive stop.
“[It’s] probably because everyone knows how hard I work at it and I’ve not had much success at it — hopefully this is a turning point,” Bray said with a smile after his run.
Bray’s equine teammate, a 6-year-old stallion by Equi-Stat Elite $9 Million sire High Brow CD and out of the mare High Classed Model (by Gallo Del Cielo [Rooster]), goes by “Hummer” in the barn. Bred by current owners Norda and Jim Berger, of Simonton, Texas, the stallion has an accomplished heritage. Dam High Classed Model won more than $87,000 in the cutting pen and has produced 6 money-earning offspring who have earned more than $250,000, according to Equi-Stat.
Bray recalled seeing Hummer as a 3-year-old and taking notice of his talent. Now that he rides the sorrel stallion, Bray said the horse’s personality is larger than life.
“He’s a goofball. I mean, he wants to get in everything, but he’s a good horse and he tries really hard all the time. Outstanding horse,” Bray said resoundingly.
True to form, as Bray spoke about his win, Hummer insisted on having attention, constantly nuzzling Liz and Bray and looking for scratches. Although Bray may have previously struggled to find success in the show pen, in the light of his victory he immediately credited those who helped him get there. He expressed gratitude for his turnback help, and most importantly, the support he received from Liz.
The Co-Reserve Champions in the Classic/Challenge Limited Open were Whit and Kim Davis’ My Beach My Wave (Metallic Cat x Frecklesareinstyle x Docs Stylish Oak) and Dylan Meyer, along with Lonnie Earl (Spots Hot x Cats Little Gal x High Brow Cat), owned by Terry Riddle, and Troy Riddle. Both duos marked scores of 219, and each received $10,079.