The Youth World Finals puts the focus on younger cutters during the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Metallic Cat Summer Spectacular, giving them a chance to ride in the “big pen” at Will Rogers Coliseum.
Held over the course of three days, the event culminated on Friday, July 30 with a Show Champion, determined from each rider’s cumulative score at the show, and a World Champion, which is based on points throughout the show year.
In the Junior World Finals, 17 youth rode through the pen, hoping to land in the winner’s circle.
Junior Youth World Champion
When Breanna Collier entered the Youth World Finals with 143 points accumulated over the course of the show year, she knew her 16-point lead over the next-highest rider, Riley Farris, would be difficult to match, but not impossible. It did take some of the pressure off her at the World Finals and allow her to enjoy it more, but either way, she said, she would have been happy.
“I was safe, but not guaranteed,” Collier said. “The girl in second place is my best friend, so it was nice to have her. We’ve been battling it out the whole time.”
Collier said she didn’t really have a game plan for the Youth World Finals, other than trusting God. She marked a 215.5 in the first go, a 219.5 in the second and a 216.5 in the third, acquiring 5 more points from the show. When it was all over, Collier had secured the Junior World Championship with 148 points in the year-end standings.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” Collier said. “I feel very grateful, and I’m not going to let it get to my head because I know in this sport, you turn around and it’s going to come right back at you.”
Collier rode 10 horses to accumulate her point totals, but the horse she took through the World Finals experience was Smartys Rockin Doc. Owned by Chris and Shannon Collier, the 15-year-old gelding (Smart Lil Scoot x Shesa Real Doc x Real Doc) was bred by Hal Sutton.
“He’s really cool. He gets down in the middle and does his job, and I like how flashy he is in front of a cow down in the middle,” Collier said. “He’s got a really nice personality. He would be a lap dog if he could.”
With 135 total points, Farris landed in Reserve. She rode three horses throughout the year, piloting one of them, Play Purr View RG (Metallic Cat x Playgiarism x Freckles Playboy), throughout her World Finals show bid. The 9-year-old mare was bred by Mariposa Farms LLP and is owned by Mike Farris.
Junior Youth World Finals Show Champion
Will Bushaw made his last year as a Junior in the World Finals count when he rode Velvets Revolver to a 220, 228 and 227 in each consecutive round, finishing the Youth World Finals with a combined score of 675 for the Junior Show Championship. While Bushaw has picked up other titles from the Youth World Finals in the past, it was his first time to win the World FInals Show Championship.
“It means a lot because I’ve never really had much luck in the World Finals,” said Bushaw, who finished sixth in the World. “I was the Junior Scholarship Champion two years ago, and I was the World Champion last year. This is the first year I think I’ve marked over a 217 on this horse in this pen.”
Since it was his last shot at the Junior Show Championship, Bushaw planned to go in and give it his all in the show pen. He knew his gelding, who is owned by Crown Ranch LP, would be there for him if he did his job.
“He’s just really consistent,” Bushaw said of Velvets Revolver. “When I was hauling for the World Finals, I might not have had the biggest scores, but every weekend I was consistent. He’s just gritty, never loses a cow, and is a smart, good horse.”
The Bushaws have owned the 9-year-old gelding (WR This Cats Smart x Velvets Best Shot x Playgun), who was bred by Mike Hancock, for three years. “Milhouse” – named for a character in The Simpsons animated TV series – was trained by James Payne and has earnings of $285,219.
Bushaw thanked his dad for hauling him all year and his help during the NCHA Summer Spectacular — Thomas Bray, Justin White, Casey Green, Austin Shepard, Johnny Mitchell, Kathy Daughn and Mitch Farris.
Lily Erwin and Moonstruck Player took the Junior Show Reserve Championship with their composite score of 662.5 and finished fourth in the World Finals. The 14-year-old gelding (Lizzys Gotta Player x Carolena Moon x Peptoboonsmal) was bred by Megan Miller and is owned by Douglas Batchelor.