Three teams of collegiate horsemen and horsewoman competed at the Road To The Horse Collegiate Challenge in Utah. • Photo courtesy of Road To The Horse.

University of Montana Western Wins Road To The Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge

The University of Montana Western took the Road To the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge Championship home to Dillon.

The team claimed the top spot during the event held July 23-24 at the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo in South Jordan, Utah. They joined Casper College and Utah State University in starting a colt from the Diamond-McNabb ranch horse remuda.

Officials say the horsemanship, hard work, determination and skill displayed by the teams was a testament to their respective programs.

 “There is no better way to create a legacy, than to invest in the future,” said Tina Battock, president of Morris Equine Group, which owns Road To the Horse. “To watch these talented collegiate teams navigate their way through this challenge was truly an honor. Their talent and conduct were a testament to the colleges they represent.”

Teams competed for $30,000 in scholarships as well as for additional prizes provided by YETI, Platinum Performance, Espana Silk Grooming Products, ShowFresH2Oä, Western Legacy, Impact Gel Saddle Pads, Gist Silversmiths, and the Mustang Heritage Foundation.

Team members from the University of Montana Western – Katie Ross, James Ramirez and Jacob Christenson – selected a colt named Playguns Little Cash to gentle during the competition. The bay colt is by Playgun Will Travel (by Playgun) and out of the mare Miss Cut N Cash.

Coached by Eric Hoffmann, the team claimed the top spot in the Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge to earn $15,000 in scholarship money.   

“Winning the Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge means the world to us as a team. It showed us that working together as a team and believing in one another enables us to achieve anything when we put our mind to it,” Hoffmann said. “The ability to bring this win back to University Montana Western will mean so much to the University, [its] Natural Horsemanship Program and the community. It’s not just a win for the team, but for everyone who has worked so hard for the program over the years.”

Second place went to the Casper College horsemanship team of Carson Johnson, Ty Christensen and Beau Rees. Coached by Sandy Bob Forbes, the Assistant Rodeo Coach at Casper College, the team selected a bay colt with a star named DLL Curiously Catty (DM HighBrow Prince x Curiosly Trashy) and took home $10,000 in scholarship money.

Utah Valley University, comprised of Hayden Boren and Brett Olsen and coached by Whittney Dansie, placed third with a bay roan colt named DLL Shutup N Dance (Playgun Will Travel x Starlight Dance). They earned $5,000 in scholarship money.

The Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge was a prelude to the Road To The Horse World Championship of Colt Starting, where the world’s best colt starters will compete for a purse of over $100,000. Road to the Horse 2022 takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park on March 24-27, 2022. Tickets are available at or by calling 800-514-3849. Follow Road to the Horse on Facebook for the latest information.