No one was happier than Abbie Phillips about her victory in the DT Horses Western Derby Non-Pro, but she wasn’t excited for herself. It was for her horse, CR Tuff Guns N Roses.
They’d been runner-up in a number of big events over the years, and she was glad to finally get “Axl” the win she felt he deserved during the Non-Pro finals Saturday, June 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“I love him so much, and he has tried so hard every time for me and it just never seem to work out,” she said. “I mean, I’m super grateful that we were reserve several times, but … he’s so good and I wanted it for him.”
She and the Woody Be Tuff gelding got the elusive major victory with a composite of 659.5 (220 herd/224.5 rein/215 cow). It was good for a $8,208 first-place check, pushing the Center Ranch-bred horse’s earnings past the $72,000 mark.
Although the dynamic duo brought the victory home with a solid fence work, the highlight of their event was a smoking 224.5 in the rein work. According to Phillips, it was the biggest rein work score she’s ever marked.
“I went into it thinking [that]I knew that all the people here were gonna throw down some runs. I knew it was gonna be tough, and so I just wanted to make sure I had a good run,” she said. “And Kelby [Phillips], my husband, he’s like, you need to trust him. He’s gonna be great. And so going in the gate, I was like, ‘Alright, here we go!’ And he was felt so good the whole time and just super honest.”
Axl has been good for Phillips from the very start, dating back to when they kicked off their show career at the 2019 Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity and won the Non-Pro and Intermediate Non-Pro.
Since then, they’ve finished second in a number of big events – including the 2019 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Non-Pro and the 2020 and 2021 Tres Osos Cow Horse Derby at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions.
CR Tuff Guns N Roses is the leading earner in Equi-Stat out of his dam, Gypsy Rose Rey. The daughter of Dual Rey has foaled seven money earners who collectively have banked more than $165,000.
Going forward, the plan is to work toward an appearance in the World’s Greatest Horseman competition. Held during the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, the four-event challenge includes herd work, rein work, cow work and steer stopping.
Phillips has already competed in the World’s Greatest.
“I hope show him at the World’s Greatest here in a couple years,” she said.