Sarah Murphey and HQ Wilmas Gotta Kitty won the Level 1 Limited Open at the 2021 NRCHA Stallion Stakes. * Photo by Primo Morales.

HQ Wilma Gotta Kitty & Murphey Break Through with NRCHA Stallion Stakes Win

Sarah Murphey earned her first premier event title this week aboard HQ Wilma Gotta Kitty at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas, Nevada. She and the 2016 mare have been so close but weren’t able to grab the golden ring until the finals on Wednesday.

Murphey credits a cow that was fast enough to hook the daughter of Meteles Cat with their coming out on top with a composite of 649 (214 herd/215 rein/220 cow). The roan daughter of Wilma Gotta Gun (by Spooks Gotta Gun) had $10,395 in earnings going into the show, and added $3,694 for the championship and $195.47 for the high cow work score for owner-breeder Hockenson Quarter Horses

“She is consistently good down the fence and with the cow, I know I can trust her,” Murphey said of HQ Wilma Gotta Kitty. “I was really thankful that I got that cow [tonight].”

The trainer from Lipan, Texas, never wanted anything other than to train horses and began working toward that goal at 15 years old with NRCHA professional Luke Jones. She worked for Jones until she graduated high school and moved to Texas, where she worked with Boyd Rice and Bill Freeman, and then with Todd Bergen and rope horse trainer J.D. Yates. 

All the time as an assistant helped Murphey gain a solid background in the cow horse. Now she is on her own as a trainer and HQ Wilma Gotta Kitty’s owner Reid Hockenson supports Murphey’s business with a couple of horses for her to show. 

“I’ve been assistant training a long time and I was ready to start showing,” she said. “I also have a mare I consistently show in the cutting [for the Hockenson’s]. I met them through Luke [Jones] and they have opened a lot of doors for me.”

Awards in the Level 1 Limited Open include a Gist buckle, a one-ear headstall with rawhide and silver buckles from Dennis Moreland Tack, a gift certificate for product from Platinum Performance and an UltraCruz Prize Pack from Santa Cruz Animal Health.   

The Reserve Championship went to SJR Sparkin Metal (Metallic Cat x CD Sparkles x CD Olena) and Cody McNaney, who earned a composite of 645 (218 herd/214.5 rein/212.5 cow). The 2016 stallion added $2,903 to his lifetime earnings and also received an UltraCruz prize pack from Santa Cruz Animal Health, a gift certificate for $300 for Farnam product and DyNo Turn Fleece Bell Boots from the NRCHA.