Langston Pattillo was the winner of the 2019 Bill Freeman Award. He received the trophy at the NCHA Futurity. • Photo by Video West Productions.

Cutter Langston Pattillo Honored for Excellence

At 18 years of age, Langston Pattillo has accomplished a lot since he began his cutting show career about five years ago. 

The Weatherford, Texas, cutter, whose lifetime earnings at the end of 2019 totaled $422,915, earned another distinction during the 2019 NCHA Futurity when he was presented with the Bill Freeman Award — a bronze trophy named “Strive For Excellence,” designed and crafted by Freeman’s stepbrother and renowned sculptor Kelly Graham. The trophy alternates between a professional cutting horse trainer and a non-pro or amateur rider.

Pattillo never had the pleasure of meeting Freeman or watching him show horses since he was only 7 years old and in the first grade when Freeman died; however, the award was still very meaningful.

“I wish I had,” said Pattillo, who added that several people Freeman helped in the past have told him what a good guy Freeman was.

“Honestly, it [the award] means more than any other award I have gotten, just because of the meaning behind the award,” Pattillo said. “I’m pretty proud of it and thankful that I was able to receive it.”

The award’s recipients are allowed to keep the bronze in their possession until the following year’s NCHA Summer Spectacular, when the trophy is returned to the NCHA office. Each recipient also receives a smaller crystal replica of the trophy to keep.

Pattillo is the 19th and youngest rider to receive the prestigious award since it was initiated in 2009 — one year following the three-time NCHA Futurity Open Champion and Equi-Stat Elite $5 Million Rider’s untimely death in 2008.

Last year was a banner season for Pattillo, as he rode eight horses to the pay window and added $183,930 to his Equi-Stat record. His high-dollar winner was 2018 NCHA Amateur Horse of the Year High Stylin CD (High Brow CD x Stylin Playgirl x Docs Stylish Oak), a 2013 gelding bred by Sunrise Ranch LLC of Fayetteville, Arkansas, that has lifetime earnings of $286,885.

Patillo and High Stylin CD, whose barn name is “Jones,” started 2019 by winning the 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro and Unlimited Amateur at the Bonanza Cutting. They also placed second in the NCHA Super Stakes Classic Unlimited Amateur, and won the Classic/Challenge Unlimited Amateur at the Breeder’s Invitational and NCHA Summer Spectacular.

Pattillo also rode Shesa Tuff Teaspoon (Woody Be Tuff x Shesa Spoonful A Fun x Hes A Peptospoonful) to the Derby Non-Pro Reserve Championship at the NCHA Summer Spectacular — worth $15,832 — and rode Catsa U Later (Boon Too Suen x Catsa Movin x High Brow Cat) to a ninth-place tie in the NCHA Futurity Non-Pro for additional earnings of $19,784.

The Bill Freeman Award committee members created the “Strive For Excellence” award to represent Freeman’s unique personality and to reflect the influence he had upon his non-pro and amateur students, as well as his fellow trainers.

“After Bill would make a pretty good run, he would tip his hat,” committeeman Bob Petersen explained. “And, that’s how we came up with the [arm and hand] trophy.”

Petersen said Pattillo’s selection as the 2019 recipient was the unanimous choice among the group.“We felt like he is a young man that has worked very hard and has advanced very quickly,” Petersen said. “He’s very competitive in the Non-Pro, and still is available to ride in the Amateur. We want to show people if you strive hard to excel, we appreciate that.” 

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