Shiney Outlaw and Jay McLaughlin at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions.
Shiney Outlaw had the magic potion to cure Jay McLaughlin of his No. 13 hex. Photo by Primo Morales

Shiney Outlaw Just What the NRCHA Witch Doctor Ordered

The No. 13 has gotten a bad rap over the centuries, thanks largely — the wanna-be numerologists believe, anyway — to Judas Iscariot being the 13th to have a sit at Christ’s Last Supper all those years ago.

Ever since then, skyscrapers and hotels haven’t had a 13th floor, or something like that. Just stay in on Fridays of the months with that number.

On that subject, Clarendon, Texas, reined cow horse trainer Jay McLaughlin is in agreement with conventional thinking. 

“I’m really anti-13,” McLaughlin said. “At the AQHA World Show this year, my hotel room number added up to 13, and I didn’t realize that until after I showed and didn’t make the finals.

“I can’t stand that number.”

Driving his dread about it recently is the fact that he’s been stuck on 13 World titles for some time. 

Until Friday, that is. McLaughlin is off the schneid thanks to a very savvy stallion. 

The longtime trainer has achieved career World title No. 14, with Shiney Outlaw his vessel, the two teaming up to win the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions Open Bridle championship and $9,350 with a 444.5 composite at the John Justin Arena. 

Shiney Outlaw has been a very busy boy this week. He advanced the finals in the Open Two Rein and finished seventh. In the course of his World title, he won the Open Bridle prelims.

“He’s been a very simple, genuine horse,” said McLaughin of the steed bred and owned by Michelle Cannon of Waxahachie, Texas. “He’ll tell you if he’s having a good day or a bad day. His bad days are a lot better than some horses’ good days.”

Out of the first draw, the pair were very aggressive. The 2012 stallion, by Shiners Nickel and out of Mereyda (x Dual Rey) had a 221.5 and a 223 on rein and cow work.

“We drew first, and you can’t leave any stone unturned,” McLaughlin said. “You don’t want any guy behind you in the open to sneak up on you because they’ll get you.”

If McLaughlin has a even the tiniest shred of paranoia in his voice, maybe it’s because he is. That 13 thing and all working in the back — make that, forefront — of his mind. 

“This means a bunch,” McLaughlin said. “I had a guy tell me after I won my first World title, when I lived in Missouri … he said the toughest one to get is your second and 13th. My second took a couple of years and I got lucky and got that second. Then I seemed to roll through them and I got to 12 and got stuck for a while. Finally won 13, but I can’t stand that number. 

“Every time I’d go into a World show situation … something would go wrong. It just didn’t work out. The stars have to align. The cows have to be good. I don’t want to call it a draw contest because there is experience that goes with it, but you need to draw that cow that will head.”

It really is sometimes better to be lucky than good.

McLaughlin, who has lifetime earnings of more than $1.5 million, according to Equi-Stat, is now liberated from the hex and moving on. So is Shiney Outlaw, whose Equi-Stat record will now read more than $120,000 earned, including $31,415 in 2019.

McLaughlin wants to bring Shiney Outlaw back to Fort Worth next year as a World’s Greatest Horseman candidate.

“That’s our goal. He’s very sound and very sane. We’re trying to go that direction with him.”

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