Cutting is the Farris family business, and cousins Riley and Faith Farris are proving their generation is prepared to continue the tradition.
The two were announced as the respective Cutting World and Reserve World champions at the Built Ford Tough American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) World Championship Show on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
At the Youth World Show, all scores are withheld until the awards presentation. As the finalists and top 10 were announced, one by one, it came down to only two — Riley and Faith.
“We were smiling and laughing. It was so nerve-wracking because the announcer paused before announcing the reserve,” Riley Farris said. “It’s like a dream come true to have won. It’s really fun to be like Faith. She won it in 2017 and 2018.”
Farris rode Play Purr View RG (Metallic Cat x Playgiarism x Freckles Playboy), a 2012 sorrel mare bred by Fort Worth, Texas-based Mariposa Farms LLP and originally trained by Paul Hansma. “TJ,” who Farris started riding this year, is a fun ride with her enormous stops when she drops her hocks and butt into the ground. She’s good in the middle, too, according to Farris.
In the preliminary round, Farris’ was the final draw. Her goal was to cut shape, and their clean run marked a 220. The highest of the round was a 221.
“The second cow about tried to run me over,” she said. “I decided it was better to die in the herd than get run over.”
In the finals — 17 of the 34 entries advanced — she had the pick of the herd as the first draw in the round, and she was able to cut all three she wanted.
“The first cow ran, but not so fast she couldn’t get up,” Farris said. “Sometimes that can be a problem because she gets so deep.”
Her second cow stayed in the middle, and Farris could feel the mare’s front-end get down and low. With only about 20 seconds left to work a final cow, she picked the first available. Again she marked a 220, but she didn’t know how she scored since the results are withheld.
“It was really suspenseful, especially because I thought I had a good run but couldn’t tell if the judges liked it,” she said. “I didn’t have to worry too much, though; I had to focus on getting my other horse ready.”
Winning the coveted golden globe is an excitement all of its own, but finally getting together with the mare was equally rewarding, Farris said. The pair has had a tough year getting in sync. While TJ’s lifetime earnings total is $45,389, according to Equi-Stat, most of that money was accumulated under previous owners Gary and Michelle Reichart.
“I want to thank my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, cousins and especially my dad for helping me stay positive,” Farris said. “It’s been an amazing experience to win the World Championship, and I hope I get to do it again.”