Draw one is the hot slot so far at this year’s Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Futurity. For trainer Chris Johnsrud, it proved double lucky in the Open finals.
Johnsrud, of Weatherford, Texas, not only piloted Stylin Rockette to what would be the winning run of the Holy Cow Performance Horses PCCHA Futurity – the $25,000 first-place check for the championship pushed him to Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider status.
They were the third horse-and-rider pair to win fan Open class from the first draw.
“Matt Gaines won the 5-year-old event and Kenny Platt won the 4-year-old event. Both were first draws. When I got the first draw, I thought maybe the odds in Vegas would be good and that it would be neat if it continued,” Johnsrud said.
John McClaren, of McGregor, Texas, owned and bred Stylin Rockette. Travis Stewart started Stylin Rockette (Rockin W x Absalutely Stylin x Stylin Cat) as a 2-year-old, and she was sent to Johnsrud at the beginning of this year.
“She is extremely cowy and strong. She has not been the easiest to train, but she is very gritty and cuts like a 4- or 5-year-old,” said Johnsrud. “There were two cows I wanted to cut no matter what. The first one was right out on the edge so we drove it out and had a strong start. I knew I had to stick to my plan and the yellow cow I liked rolled up on Kenny’s (Platt) edge and it worked out really well.”
Million Dollar Mark
Johnsrud entered the PCCHA Futurity show about $28,000 shy of the $1 million mark. He hit the mark not only through the win on Stylin Rockette, but also his efforts earlier in the week with JJ Jazzarey in the 4-Year-Old Cutting Stakes Open.
He and the Twin Arrows Ranch LLC -owned mare picked up a $6,000 check for placing eighth.
“I knew I was close to the million-dollar mark in the open finals, so my plan was to finish in the top three,” he said.
Johnsrud wasn’t planning to attend the PCCHA Futurity, but Texas trainer Grant Setnicka convinced him otherwise. The newly crowned Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Dollar Rider also says the teamwork from his herd helpers—Setnicka, Platt and turnbacks Don Adan Beanuelos and Casey Green have been central to his success.