As draw No. 2 in the 17-head Derby Limited Open finals at the Metallic Cat National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular, The Kwack Shack, a gelding bred by PJ Cutters LLC and owned by Anderson Cattle Co., of Victoria, Texas, and Pedro Ornelas impressed the judges to the tune of a 222. The score held up throughout the finals and yielded the pair the Derby Limited Open Championship title and a $4,183 check.
How tough was it for Ornelas, who now has $185,279 in Equi-Stat lifetime earnings, to have to sit and wait for the class to end?
“You know, it was not tough at all,” he said. “What I wanted to do was to have a clean run, and I wanted it to be a good experience for the horse. I knew if I cut clean and got him some pretty good cows, he would take care of the rest. And, he did!
“And, my help did great,” Ornelas added. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Before his finals run, Ornelas said he and Jon Burgess watched the cows together.
“I told them [his help] what I liked and when I went in there, I cut all three cows that I had wanted,” he said. “There were some other [cows] on our list, but I knew I couldn’t waste a lot of time because I wanted to give him the best chance possible. Everything just worked out.”
Ornelas said their “money cow” was their first cow.
“To me, the first cow and last cow are the best — the more important cows,” he said.
Ornelas, who has worked nearly three years for the Andersons, had somewhat of an advantage when he purchased and started “Kwack Shack” (by Spots Hot) as a 2-year-old. Ornelas had ridden the gelding’s mother, Kwackin Cat (by High Brow Cat), and really liked her. Anderson Cattle Co. purchased Kwack Shack as a 3-year-old, and then Ornelas showed him at the 2018 NCHA Futurity. The Andersons’ daughter, Bella, did too, riding the gelding to the Limited Non-Pro Reserve title.
“He did really good in the first go-round and second go-round, and we made the semifinals,” Ornelas said. “Bella did really good on him, too. He’s just been great for us.”
The words “consistent” and “hardy” aptly describe Kwack Shack. The Derby Limited Open finals marked the gelding’s seventh run during the Fort Worth Triple Crown show. And, with Kwack Shack, whose lifetime earnings are $42,858, having also qualified for the Derby Open semifinals, he had at least one run — perhaps two — to go.
“He’s getting really solid and it doesn’t take too much to get him ready [to show]. All around, he’s just good,” Ornelas said.
Among Ornelas’ cheering section at the Derby were his wife, Janee; his two daughters, Grace, 16, and Jaden, 9; and his 3-year-old son, Blaze. In addition to thanking his family for their support, Ornelas said, “I would also like to thank Steve, Michelle and Bella [Anderson] for allowing me to train and show their horse.
“And, I also thank my help in the herd: Jon Burgess, Kory Pounds, Adan Banuelos and Casey Green, as well as Cruz Vertiz, who prepared The Kwack Shack,” Ornelas added. “I just did the small part in showing the horse, and everything just happened to fit together.”
The Dewd and Rodrigo Taboga marked a 220.5 to secure the Reserve Championship. The gelding son of Metallic Cat (out of Sweet Abra x Abrakadabracre) was bred by Fults Ranch and is owned by Beau and Ashley Galyean. He collected $3,807.