Aaron Cook was looking for a well-bred cutting and broodmare prospect in 2015 when his wife, Jennifer, called him from the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular Sale.
There was a mare there, Scooters Daisy Dukes, who she thought was the horse he was looking for. Given that Jennifer, a barrel racer, was the one who got her husband into horses in the first place, Cook trusted her assessment and left her to it.
She called him back later with the good news: Scooters Daisy Dukes was headed to their ranch near Alvarado, Texas. The final bid of $60,000 bought a mare with a good pedigree — a daughter of Dual Smart Rey out of Scooters Playmate (by Freckles Playboy) — and a solid aged-event show career with earnings at that point of roughly $77,000, including the NCHA Super Stakes Amateur Championship with Gary Rosenbach and the Bonanza Unlimited Amateur win with her consigner, Taylor Carbo.
“I’m like, ‘Sweet!’ I was really excited, because I was new to the cutting and I wanted a mare that was pretty gritty and real cowy,” Cook said. “So, she said, ‘You need to bring a trailer so you can pick her up.'”
Cook dutifully hitched up the three-horse trailer and headed toward Fort Worth, Texas. He was about 20 minutes from the Will Rogers Memorial Center when Jennifer called him again. This time, she asked which trailer he was bringing.
“I said, ‘I just got the little three-horse.’ She said, ‘You’re going to have to turn around and get the big trailer.’ I’m like, ‘What did you buy?’ And, she goes, ‘I didn’t know she came with three recip mares.'”
They also didn’t realize one of the mare’s first foals, a sorrel colt born just a few months before the sale, would go on to become one of Equi-Stat‘s all-time leading reined cow horse earners, Scooter Kat. The son of Kit Kat Sugar has more than $260,000 in earnings, and on Aug. 30, he won his second straight National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes Open Championship in Las Vegas.
And, it turned out one of the recip mares Cook had to get the big trailer for was carrying Hazardouz Material, a son of Metallic Cat who was the 2020 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Intermediate Open Champion and fourth-place Open finisher.
Cutting Pen Success
Originally from Ohio, Cook grew up playing baseball, not riding horses. He played professional baseball — he was a pitcher, first with the Colorado Rockies and then with the Boston Red Sox – and found cutting horses in his retirement, through Jennifer.
His first horse was for trail riding, an activity Cook said got boring after four to five months. Wanting something more challenging, he told his wife he wanted to learn to rope.
“She said, ‘Well, you don’t know how to ride a horse. You don’t know how to swing a rope, so why don’t we get you with some friends of mine that actually know cutting horses,'” he recalled.
With that, she introduced him to the father-son duo of Ronnie and Tag Rice, who between them have won more than $9 million in the show pen.
“Tag and Ronnie Rice just kind of took me in, and started teaching me about horses and how to ride and how to read cattle,” he said. “Since I was a retired baseball player and didn’t have anything else to do, [I] just started showing up at the barn every morning, just riding with them five days a week.”
Cook’s first money-winning effort in the show pen recorded in Equi-Stat was making the 2014 NCHA Summer Spectacular Amateur finals. He competed in a few limited-age cuttings in the next few years, as well as some weekend shows, before starting the horse search that resulted in Scooters Daisy Dukes.
When Jennifer found the mare, Cook was excited by how the daughter of Dual Smart Rey bred by Jeff Barnes, of Wilton, California was so well-trained — and extremely cow smart.
“Cows can’t really trick her,” he said. “And I was like, this is definitely something I was looking for, and we just got lucky and were able to get her.”
Cook and Scooters Daisy Dukes won money several times at weekend cuttings in 2016, 2017 and 2018; however, her show career was cut short by her blossoming broodmare status.
“I was trying to get her to that $100,000 mark to make her babies worth a little bit more, and then once Scooter Kat hit and started doing what he was doing, I pretty much retired her,” Cook said. “She’s a pasture ornament, and we breed her and just get to look at her all the time.”
Scooter Kat & More
Now 11, Scooters Daisy Dukes has an Equi-Stat produce record of more than $316,000.
Her leading earner is Scooter Kat, who has blazed a path through NRCHA aged events. As a 3-year-old, he was Open Reserve Champion at the 2018 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. He and trainer Justin Wright went on to win the last two editions of the NRCHA Stallion Stakes and also took down this year’s NRCHA Derby.
As of press time, Scooter Kat’s more than $260,000 in lifetime earnings put him squarely among the top 10 all-time winningest reined cow horses listed in the Equi-Stat database, which tracks Western performance horse events.
Her second-leading earner, Hazardouz Material, earned more than $24,000 at the 2020 NRCHA Stakes through his Intermediate Open win and fourth place in the Open with trainer Erin Taormino aboard. His lifetime earnings are now at more than $37,000.
In addition, Scooters Daisy Dukes has NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non-Pro finalist Scooters Daisy Deuce ($11,966, by Kit Kat Sugar); 2020 NCHA Summer Spectacular Limited Amateur Reserve Champion Kit Kat Stix ($2,712, by Kit Kat Sugar); money-earning cow horse Metallic Scooter ($2,162, by Metallic Cat) and cutter Metallic Daisy ($544, by Metallic Cat).
Future of Scooters Daisy Dukes
Based on who’s buying her foals, it looks like the immediate future for progeny out of Scooters Daisy Dukes is in the cow horse world. That wasn’t the original plan when Cook bought her, but he’s more than happy to ride that particular wave.
“Once Scooter Kat hit, I’ve had people calling me from the reining cow horse industry just wanting babies,” he said. “I don’t care where they go. If people want them, I want them to go out and perform and do good.”
This year, Scooters Daisy Dukes has a 3-year-old filly named A Gritty Kitty sired by a money-earning son of High Brow Cat, Chiquita Cat. There’s also a 2019 filly named Rebel N Dukes (by Metallic Rebel) and a 2-year-old filly by Metallic Cat, Cook said.
This year, she foaled Kit Kat Sugar fillies that are full sisters to Scooter Kat. Next year’s foals will be by Kit Kat Sugar’s sire, all-time leading Western performance horse sire High Brow Cat.
In the meantime, Scooters Daisy Dukes will continue to live the good life at the Cooks’ 130-acre ranch about 20 minutes south of Fort Worth with recipients for her and Jennifer’s barrel racing mares, including the outstanding futurity competitor Mean Cheerleader ($71,917, by Epic Leader).
Cook plans to continue to enjoy seeing what Scooters Daisy Dukes produces each year. They tend to resemble their mother physically, but he said they also have her intelligence.
“They pick up whatever you’re trying to teach and want to do it, and they just have a lot of heart,” he said. “And, that’s one thing that I’ve noticed with the horses; you can’t teach heart. They either have that or they don’t.”